The “Sport Leicht” or SL as we know it was the Mercedes-Benz answer to the need for not only a homologation car for racing, but for a sports car for the public. Something the company had not offered in years past. The limited runs of 680S, SS, SSK and 500K/540K cars meant huge money even for those looking to own some of the fastest and most lavish cars in Europe, or the US. The atmosphere at the now post-war Mercedes-Benz was onward and upward. A flagship was needed to carry the company competitively within each model range. Thus the SL was introduced as a concept and shortly thereafter produced as the 300SL and Gullwing, as well as the 190SL. With great success, the introduction of the next generation in 1963 meant even more volume, as well as a car that was far ahead of its time.
Today, we know the “Pagoda” cars (or W113) as a comfortable sports tourer that offered everything Jaguar or other companies lacked. It was easy to use, sporting, comfortable and very reliable. As such it ended up in the driveways and garages of both sports car enthusiasts and those who simply wanted a comfortable, reliable two door convertible. The example on offer here is perhaps the most well-optioned 230SL that was available in the most stunning of factory color combinations. It shows extremely well in its incredibly rare factory combination of Black with a Red Leather interior as a US Spec car. For those seeking a class or show winning and perfect SL to enjoy on the show circuit or on any given day of the week, this is certainly an opportunity worth much consideration.
Thanks to The Mercedes-Benz Classic Center, we know that Chassis # 11304212003621 was completed in early of 1964 as a fully optioned example destined for the US. The exact specification per factory records is as follows:
040- Paint, Black
203- Interior Trim, Red Leather
401- Singles seats
423- Mercedes-Benz power steering and automatic transmission
491- U.S. Version
508- Outside rearview mirror, left
519- Becker radio
641- White-wall tires
669- Mode of packing VE IV
720- Folding top fabric, Black
Front left axle- 041402
Front right axle- 041401
Rear axle- 003785
Steering box- 29857
Wheel-5,5J x 14H
Tire- 185 x 14 Phon
We can see today the car is identical to its original options list and specifications, a true rarity in the world of these Pagoda’s and an absolute qualifier of this example for both show and investment purposes. As the values of these cars continue to increase, it will come down to key originality points, factory colors, options, and current condition that will separate those investment grade show cars with the lesser drivers. This particular car is that of a fantastic example that is well optioned in stunning original colors and in superb restored condition throughout.
The body is dead straight with deep black paint and a contrasting totally restored interior to correct specification. The restoration quality and work is excellent throughout, with great gaps and panel fitment, new chrome, and not in need of any attention to be shown or enjoyed regularly.
The car starts instantly, runs strong, and drives out nicely with very smooth shifting and all the attributes of a well restored car that has been properly serviced and cared for. We can report that both tops are present and in excellent condition, noting that the hardtop also sports the rare chrome trim strips atop its Iconic Pagoda Roof Line. The engine bay is nicely details and correct as well. Entering the trunk shows all of proper accessories such as its books, tools, jack and spare.
The right SL in every way, this 230SL brings about the sense of what it must have been like when these cars were first debuted. Very stunning, in contrasting colors, and totally restored to original specification. An opportunity not to be missed and worth much consideration by any collector or enthusiast.