This 1970 280SL sports the exceptionally rare manual gearbox in addition to a comprehensive restoration
Mercedes' SL lineage is rightfully associated with the genesis of modern sportscars. SL, an abbreviation of Super Light, was Mercedes’ first entry into the fast lane. The company wanted to get involved with motorsport, and the 300SL was their answer for a road-going version of their original racer.
Despite manufacturers typically designing a road car that then undertakes a huge amount of surgery to make it fit for the track, Mercedes did things their own way and somehow managed the complete opposite. The 300SL was a race car converted to a road car.
Gallery: 1970 Mercedes 280SL Pagoda
With the fifties in full swing, Mercedes looked at how to add appeal to the stunning Gullwing design. The roof was lost, and despite the gullwing doors being lost as a result, new appreciation was acquired, which lead the company to the W113 featured here.
The model was dubbed the Pagoda, thanks to the factory fitted hardtop that allegedly reminded many of an East Asian temple. With two engines to pick from, the racier intentions of the original were beginning to be lost in translation, however, this was no longer the goal. The world wanted classy grand tourers, and it doesn’t really get much better than a W113 280SL.
A Pagoda is the sort of car to cruise around Beverley Hills in. You don’t need to get anywhere quickly, you just need to sit back into the sumptuous leather and let that lazy 2.8 liter straight six waft along at an exceptionally relaxed pace.
Performance figures aren’t important here, as only relaxed (or rich) people drive Pagoda’s, and the one featured here certainly meets and exceeds the criteria. Manufactured in the penultimate year of production before the R107 took over, this example sports the much sought after manual gearbox.
It was first sold in 1970 and the vendor assures an extensive restoration has been carried out, and it’s not difficult to see why. With its original tool kit, and cleanliness to the point of looking ‘as-new’ this 280SL even boasts matching panel numbers. If you want to cruise, we have found your calling.