If you had bought a 280SL in 1971 and serviced it regularly, while allowing it to age gracefully for decades, this would be that Pagoda. This is a classic example of a late-model US-spec 280SL survivor that was ‘loaded’ with all the creature comforts of that time. Options like a 4-speed automatic, air conditioning, stereo Becker Europa radio with electric Hirschmann aerial, leather seats, and removable hardtop were the height of luxury in 1971. This was how 280SLs looked as they neared the end of their production, complete with plastic coolant expansion tank (not brass) and a heated rear window on the hardtop.
Until just three and a half years ago, this was a one-owner Pagoda. Records confirm that despite the fact it was seldom driven by its original owner—a conscientious physician—the vehicle was serviced at the dealer like clockwork, regardless of mileage. As a result, this 280SL has covered a documented 41,552 miles and all the features indicated in the original window sticker are still present today.
Besides one superficial respray years ago to rectify scratches and door dings, this Pagoda is original right down to its black soft top, multi-loop carpet, wood, and every last factory hose clamp. Even the electric Hirschmann antenna is still present. This is a numbers-matching 280SL with original sheet metal (factory spot welds and body numbers stamped into key panels back this up).
On the road, this SL drives exactly as a low-mileage Pagoda should. There’s no smoke, ample power, crisp shifting, no leaks, and no oil consumption. The A/C system and heat work as they should. The Becker stereo functions well from its 3 speakers (left & right front kick panels and center speaker). The 'clapping hands' window wipers work perfectly, the oil pressure is exactly where it should be, and engine temperature is rock-solid cool.
This 280SL has benefited from sympathetic ownership, evident in the carefully selected new factory parts installed. You’ll note a new, complete factory exhaust (Eberspacher), recently serviced A/C and new belts. Her tidy undercarriage, wheel wells and engine compartment are all consistent with low original miles.
John Lennon’s 1965 Mercedes-Benz 230SL will be featured in the docket for Worldwide Auctioneers’ inaugural Scottsdale sale, scheduled for January 18, 2017.
Two classic roadsters originally owned by legendary female stars of stage and screen will be auctioned in August by Bonhams during its Quail Lodge sale.
Forty years ago, I started looking for my dream car, both now among the most sought-after German classics and far beyond the reach of the average classic car aficionado.
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