1965 Mercedes-Benz 230 SL 'Pagoda'

**** Photos provided by the seller ****

Guide Price: €80,000 - €85,000


• Fabulous condition throughout
• Just serviced & new tyres fitted! 
• Restored to a very high standard during the 1990’s
• EU model W113, re-imported from the US
• Desirable manual transmission model

The Background

With its distinctive mild-concave hard top lending it the ‘Pagoda’ moniker, the W113 family of roadsters was designed y Paul Bracq and Bela Barenyi, with production taking place between 1963 and 1971, leading to a total of 48,912 cars being built.

Featuring largely aluminium bodywork, inline-six engines being used across the model range and multi-port fuel injection, the W113 gained an enviable reputation for its handling and on-road performance along with its striking beauty. It was also the first sports car with a purpose-designed ‘safety body’ featuring a rigid passenger cell and crumple zones built into the vehicle structure.

Largely configured as a coupé/roadster with a soft-top and removable ‘pagoda’ hard top, later models in the 250SL range were also available as a 2+2 ‘California’ coupé which did not feature the folding soft top, and instead had a fold-down rear bench seat in its place.

The History

Available from the inception of the model until 1967, the 230SL chassis was largely similar to that of the W111, with a shorter overall length, recirculating ball steering, double-wishbone front suspension and a swing rear axle. 

Up front sat a 2.3-litre M127.II inline-six engine producing 148bhp, the dual-circuit braking system had front disc brakes and power-assisted rear drums, and two transmission choices, either a four-speed manual or fluid-coupled four-speed manual transmission, which was noted for its fast response compared to conventional torque converter units. Later in the model’s lifetime a five-speed manual was offered, though these models are extraordinarily rare.

This particular 230SL was purchased in the beginning of 2021 by the vendor, and has been enjoyed across weekends and on sunny days by taking the car out to various shows and meetings, with no work necessary outside of the usual fluid and filter changes during his ownership. 

A European model, this 230 SL was exported to the US at some stage in its life, before being imposed back to the EU a number of years ago, with the car having undergone an extensive restoration during the 1990’s, with photographs of the process included with the sale of the vehicle. 

Our vendor’s plan was to keep the car as a retirement toy, but due to a change of circumstances, this lovely SL is now up for sale and looking for a new home - could you be lucky enough to be its next custodian?

The Paperwork

Included in the vehicle’s paperwork folder is the registration title, toll declaration from the aforementioned import back to the EU after the car’s time in the states, numerous invoices, bills and photographic records of the restoration in the 90’s.

In addition to the above, there are also numerous books and items of literature pertaining to the 230SL family, spar parts catalogues and other miscellaneous paperwork.

The vendor notes that they are aware of at least three prior owners in the US, the vendor being the only owner in the EU, after having brought back the car from the US, but the actual number is uncertain due to the details of the former owners not being passed down at the time of the car’s sale. 

The Interior

Quite clearly, the owners of this SL have been fastidious in their care since the restoration work was carried out, as the interior presents wonderfully throughout.

The signature black vinyl seats are in lovely condition and display only a charming wear patina indicative of regular use, but with plenty of care and attention to maintaining the condition of the seat covers. This does mean there are a few light marks here-and-there, such as by the backrest adjusting controls and on the outer edges of the bases, but nothing untoward.

Similarly, the carpets look to be in outstanding shape throughout with minimal wear, whilst the dashboard shows no signs of any heat warping or cracking as far as we can see. 

The centre console is in great shape, as is the rest of the wood trim throughout the cabin, including across the dashboard. The painted section of the dash on the driver’s side is also in very good condition, though the speedometer has discoloured slightly over the years, but remains fully functional.

From what we can see, the door cards remain in excellent condition with no notable marks or creases, the inner door shuts are very good and even the inner hinge area is wonderfully clean.

Naturally, our vendor reports there are no known faults with the car, and no waterproofing issues with the folding soft top or the iconic ‘pagoda’ hard top.

The Exterior

As with the interior, the exterior of this W113 remains in excellent shape, and has clearly been cosseted throughout its lifetime. 

The paintwork looks to be in fantastic order, including that of the hard top. There are a few minor age-related marks dotted around and we’d expect some stone chips to make an appearance, but there are certainly no scuffs, dents, dings or notable scratches that we can see, nor that we’ve been made aware of. 

The chrome half-bumpers and trim all retain a mirror-like finish and are in fantastic shape as far as we can see, again being free of any impact damage or minor dings. 

All four wheels are in excellent shape, and are wrapped in matching period-look Michelin MX-L tyres.

Both the soft top and hard top are in very good condition, with the former also being free of any rips, tears or damage, and the rear window looking to be in excellent shape with no cracking or discolouration that we could see.

The Mechanicals

Under the bonnet, the 2.3-litre inline-six engine presents very well indeed, and shows no outwardly visible signs of any leaks, fluid loss or heat damage, nor any tell-tale signs of problems that would set alarm bells ringing. 

Having driven the car to a number of shows and events during his ownership, and carried out the standard fluid and filter changes required from a car of this era, our vendor reports no faults with the car.

Underneath, the good news continues, with the chassis and underside appearing to be in excellent shape. It would also appear the car has been under-sealed at some point in its history, which is a very good sign indeed. 

Being the perfectionist that he is, the vendor has just had the car freshly serviced so that the new owner will be able to enjoy this car right away! He wen't the extra mile and work included: the fitting of new Vreedestein classic tyres and the replacement of both brake cylinders. 

The Appeal

Offering the option of hard-top, soft-top or roof-down motoring combined with gorgeous styling and a typically German over-built quality that Mercedes-Benz were known for during this period, it’s no wonder that enthusiasts adore the W113 ‘Pagoda’ SLs for their versatility and usability.

This particular 230SL presents in excellent condition throughout and has evidently been cherished and well-kept throughout its life, and the restoration work from the 1990’s still holds up fantastically to this day.

A true year-round classic, this is an opportunity not to be missed by anyone looking for an SL with the correct number of pedals - simply wonderful!

Notice to bidders

Although every care is taken to ensure this listing is as factual and transparent as possible, all details within the listing are subject to the information provided to us by the seller. Car & Classic does not take responsibility for any information missing from the listing. Please ensure you are satisfied with the vehicle description and all information provided before placing a bid.

As is normal for most auctions, this vehicle is sold as seen, and therefore the Sale of Goods Act 1979 does not apply. All bids are legally binding once placed. Any winning bidder who withdraws from a sale, is subject to our bidders fee charge. Please see our FAQs and T&C's for further information. Viewings of vehicles are encouraged, but entirely at the seller's discretion.

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Vehicle specification
  • Year 1965
  • Make Mercedes
  • Model 230 SL W113
  • Colour Red
  • Odometer 95,000 Kilometers
  • Engine size 2308
  • Town Frankfurt
  • Location International
  • Country Germany
Bidding history
22 bids
  • martin2•••• €64,750 14/10/21
  • ami.aff•••• €64,000 14/10/21
  • martin2•••• €63,000 14/10/21
  • maxus_a•••• €62,000 14/10/21
  • ami.aff•••• €61,000 14/10/21
  • martin2•••• €60,300 14/10/21
  • prebbs3 €59,000 14/10/21
  • martin2•••• €58,000 13/10/21
  • sapient•••• €57,000 12/10/21
  • vincent•••• €55,000 12/10/21

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