1968 Mercedes 280SL Pagoda – Manual

Trade Classics > Auctions > Mercedes > 1968 Mercedes 280SL Pagoda – Manual


This car is now available for a negotiated sale before auction – please register your interest below or call 01926 426 635 to speak to me directly about the car.

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The Mercedes-Benz W113 is a two-seat roadster / coupé that introduced at the 1963 Geneva Motor Show, and produced from 1963 through 1971. It replaced both the legendary 300 SL (W198) and the 190 SL (W121 BII).

The W113 SL was developed under the auspices of Mercedes-Benz Technical Director Fritz Nallinger, Chief Engineer Rudolf Uhlenhaut and Head of Styling Friedrich Geiger. The lead designers were Paul Bracq and Béla Barényi, who created its distinctive and slightly concave hardtop, which inspired the ‘Pagoda’ nickname.

Three key models and engines were offered during the production run, i.e. 230, 250 and the more desirable 280. All models were equipped with a straight six cylinder engine with multi-port fuel injection. The bonnet, boot lid, door skins were made of aluminium to reduce weight. The comparatively short and wide chassis, combined with an excellent suspension, powerful brakes and radial tires gave the W113 superb handling for its time. The styling of the front, with its characteristic upright Bosch ‘fishbowl’ headlights and simple chrome grille, dominated by the large three-pointed star in the nose panel, paid homage to the then already legendary 300 SL roadster.

The final version of the Pagoda roadster was powered by an uprated straight-six, bored out to 2.8 litres. Even with the restrictions caused by new emission controls it offered more power and torque this time, though some of the benefits were lost due to the weight the car had gained. The suspension was also returned in favour of ride comfort, meaning the 280SL didn’t have quite the same handling capability as previous SLs. Despite this, still judged as an all-time great classic and the ‘one to have’ out of the W113 range that is perfect for both driving enjoyment and importantly investment potential.



This stunning car is owned by Duncan and he’s had the car for just over a year and bought it as a light project car. During this time he’s brought this car back to its former glory and really does look stunning. Importantly Duncan has actioned all basic maintenance, as you’d expect, together with a full respray in the original factory colour.

Duncan has enjoyed this car and it’s clear to see after meeting him that he’s very proud of his achievement, and rightly so. The time has come for Duncan to pass this car on to a new and loving custodian, leaving him free to scout around for his next project.

This car has the more desirable engine variant and is manual. Of course when you’re thinking about investment then manual gearbox is very desirable in the market place right now.

Importantly the car has just had one owner in the US – quite a rare thing to find and will help make sure this car is a gold status investment.

Please take a look at the video to meet Duncan and drop him a note in the comments below if you have any questions.



This really is a great example of the gorgeous W113 body shape and in excellent condition inline with just one former keeper and the recent professional respray. The light blue colour, understood to be called China Blue, is simply gorgeous and quite rare – very understated.

Wheels & Tyres
Original 14in steel wheels are fitted with matching blue centre caps and wrapped in Michelin MX4 tyres. The wheels are in really good condition as can be seen in the media pack.

The bodywork is very good on this car. We found no obvious parking dents and the panel fit all looks visually correct. The doors, boot, bonnet all open and close perfectly. There are a few marks where the hardtop slots into the car as shown in the videos and images. Duncan has had a new hood frame installed, and it folds closed perfectly. When the hood is up, there is some adjustment that is needed to ensure the latch behind the rear window locks shut.

The paint work is also very good on this stunning 280SL. The light blue colour is even and deep on every panel, even in direct sunlight. We only found a few small blemishes / dimples in the paint. These have been highlighted in the images and video footage.

Glass and Trim
The glass and trim are both in excellent condition – no issues were noted.



The interior on this 280SL is simply beautiful and deserves the ‘classic’ status. The interior colour is a light cream and the contrast against the blue dashboard and exterior is stunning. The cabin really is a lovely place to be with no issues noticed during our visual inspection, as expected as Duncan has had the interior refreshed as part of the work he commissioned.

Seats and Carpets
The leather seats are in excellent condition with hardly any wear as they have been subject to a recent renovation.

The dashboard and gauges are all in the condition expected with a two owner and well cared for car.

Steering Wheel / Gear Stick
The car has its original steering wheel and gear stick and both are in excellent condition.



We took the car out on our regular ‘on the road‘ run and it performed without a problem, along with starting first time. Please review the video footage to see the cold start and how the car performed on a run whilst interviewing Duncan during the drive.

Engine and Gearbox
There are no issues with the engine or manual gearbox. The engine and gearbox all performed perfectly during our 5-6 miles road test.

Suspension and Brakes
The car has no knocks or rattles coming from the suspension.

The Drive
The drive was without fault with all gears being selected without issue.

Electrics and Other
No issues.



Please review the picture file to see the invoices and previous MOT’s that come with the car. The original service book has been included. Duncan tells us the car is matching numbers, i.e. it has the original engine and gearbox. The chassis number has been recorded on the V5 logbook, however, the engine number hasn’t been – this is not unusual on an imported car.

The car was sold to a garage in the Netherlands in 2017, by the original owners from America. This is where Duncan bought the car from, after they had already bought the car to Europe some time ago. We are trying to get in touch with the original owners to find out more about their story with the car.

The car is showing just over 34,451 as of 20.07.2018. Based on the service history up until 1973, the car has either completed over 100k miles, or has had a clock change at some point. We are looking to see if we can find out some more information from the original owners with regards this.

HPi Check Results
– HPi Check in progress.

Service History
– 6,011 miles on 07.11.1968
– 9,020 miles on [no date]
– 15,01 miles on 29.09.1969
– 21,657 miles on 08.11.1971
– 21,070 miles on [no date or stamp]
– 24,100 miles on [no date or stamp]
– 31,659 miles on 29.09.1972
– 34,464 miles on 28.12.1972
– 36,942 miles on 28.02.1973
– 40,231 miles on 23.05.1973
– 41,809 miles on 24.07.1973

Mileage Records – MOT Check
– 34,315 miles on 06.06.2017
– 34,427 miles on 18.06.2018



The W113 model range is a smart buy as it gives you the classic design of early SLs together with exceptional levels of reliability.

Sourcing the best example you can for your budget is always the way to go when buying a classic car. So being a 280 with a manual transmission is the best possible combination. Coupled with just two owners and in excellent condition, then you really can’t go wrong.

Remember all the cars we consign are ‘fresh-to-market’ – this means they haven’t been advertised for sale in recent times and are only available for sale through us. This is an important aspect of our service as you know you are getting a good fresh classic at the right price.

Don’t let this manual 280SL get away from you; call us today before we schedule the auction.



This auction listing was written by Adam from information gained from Duncan (owner of the vehicle) and from Trade Classics having visited and photographed the vehicle.

If you have any specific questions about the vehicle then please use the comments section below. Duncan will receive a notification and will reply as soon as he can.

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Terry Unwin
Terry Unwin

Just a ball park figure for the probable cost of purchase please