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Lot 069: Mercedes-Benz 280SL 'Pagoda'

Classic Vintage Cars & Motorcycles, Brightwells Auctioneers and Valuers (27 November 2013)

During the mid '50s, the management at Mercedes-Benz turned their attention to their sports car range. Consisting of the beautiful if rather underpowered 190SL and the very expensive and sophisticated 300SL, they had quite a challenge on their hands to develop a single car that would replace both these diverse models.  After several false starts, their solution was to use a shortened chassis from the Fintail W111 combined with fresh architecture from the newly introduced W112 S Class saloon. Introduced in 1963, this combination, thanks to the use of aluminium for the bonnet, boot and door skins, made the car reasonably light, delivering strong performance and incorporating proper crumple zones for the first time in an open sportscar. The fine styling was the work of Paul Bracq, the wide mouth with centrally mounted 3-pointed star flanked by the trademark vertical 'stacked' lights paying homage to the iconic 300SL. Its patented hardtop, with reverse curve roof, soon earned it the nickname 'Pagoda top' which has stuck with the car ever since. Initially powered by a 2,208cc straight-six developing 150bhp, a more lusty 2,778cc 170bhp unit arrived in December 1967 giving the model a timely update which was to carry it through to its rather less glamourous replacement, the W107 Series, which arrived in 1971. This 280SL is fitted with the 4-speed automatic gearbox and rear occasional seat and came into the current owner's hands via Chelsea Cars International in 2009. It has a very comprehensive history file, which includes 13 old MOTs and bills dating back as far as 1977, at which point it had covered 59,890 miles. Ten years later, Schmitt Automobile Services were maintaining the car, by which time the mileage had risen to 80,000 miles. A mass of further bills have been retained showing the car's history to the current day which includes regular servicing, welding to the chassis and sills and attention to the paintwork. They also show the accumulation of mileage to the currently indicated 135,250 miles. The most recent invoice dates from August of this year and included a new front tyre and attention to the rear wheel arches, bodywork and subsequent paintwork rectification. Looking very smart, with very good paintwork and leather trim, it is described by the vendor as running and driving well. Its current MOT shows no advisories and expires at the end of August 2014. This attractive example, with its super history file, would not only make a fine addition to any collection, it would also make incredibly stylish daily transport. More than that, it is guaranteed to brighten the day of anyone lucky enough to see it cruising by. They really don't make them like this anymore and the lucky new owner is in for a treat that will far will far outweigh the cost of purchase. Cars like this are what life is all about.

Lot Details
Auction Classic Vintage Cars & Motorcycles
Brightwells Auctioneers and Valuers, Herefordshire
TypeCar
Lot Number069
Outcome SOLD
Hammer Price£38250
Hammer Price (inc premium)-
Year1968
Condition rating3
Registration numberYHN 562G
Mileage-
Chassis number11304422005902
Engine number13098322003667
Engine capacity (cc)2778
Engine - cylinders
Number of doors2