As the oldest car company in the world, Mercedes-Benz has a lot to live up to year after year. By the time the 1960’s had come around the company was nearly 70+ years old, nearly twice that of most of their contemporaries. They offered Grandeur in the 1930’s, superb engineering and competitive road going race cars for the 1940’s and 50’s. For the 1960’s however, the ever successful SL or “Sport Leicht” was due for a refresh, face lift, and an all-round new concept. Debuting in 1963 at the Geneva Motor Show, the 230SL also known as the “Pagoda” was about to kick off nearly 50+ years of evolution and success. These nimble, technologically advanced, refined roadsters became the standard, and today offer a timeless experience.
The example on offer here is of the first generation of SL “Pagoda” offerings, the 230SL. It is presented h in the very rare, correct color combination as it left the factory: 716H Grey Beige and 112 Turquoise. Thanks to Mercedes Heritage, the original data card translation shows this example, chassis # 11304210014683 left the factory with the following options:
chassis number: 113 042 10 014683
engine number: 127 981 10 011875
transmission number: 011933
front axle number, l: 135945
front axle number, r: 135948
rear axle number: 014942
steering box number: 262066
exterior color code: 716 – grey beige body & hardtop
interior color code: 112 – green mbtex
401 single seats
416 hardtop mounted
493 USA version / hd heat exchanger
508 outside side view mirror, left
524 paint coat preservation
641 white wall tires
669 mode of packing VE I
736 soft-top fabric, light grey
229 heat insulated glass
Early ownership history, according to the original documentation accompanying the car shows it was delivered to World Wide Motors of Indianapolis, IN. Here it was offered as it is today, and sold to its first owner, a Mr. William Davis of Rockville, IN on August 1st 1966. Mr. Davis’s ownership lasted for many years. The car was driven and well cared for during his ownership and when in use. We can assume it was at times a daily driver. In 1999 the unfortunate passing of Mr. Davis meant his 230SL would be offered for sale for the first time. The second and most recent owner, a Mr. Waters, also of Indiana, acquired Mr. Davis’s prized possession at this time. The odometer showed only 53K miles, but this is believed to be at least 153,000. During his ownership few miles were accrued. The car was in totally original condition upon his acquisition and only a few years into his ownership he decided a repaint was necessary. Today the car carries only one repaint and newer but correct MB Tex Seat covers in the original color of Turquoise. All of which renders this particular 230SL a highly original example with known ownership from new. More importantly, there are loads of documentation accompanying this car, a Metal Data Plate and warranty card, booklet etc… are all present and in there pouch along with many other interesting pieces of information.
While this example starts easily, runs well, shifts, stops etc… It is no show winner and will still require some attention to achieve the status of a good driver. As is common with many of these cars, this particular car does suffer from undercarriage rust in the typical places. We have noted rusting in the floors in numerous places. Some in the front wheel well and bumper/radiator support, as well as the slightest bit in the rear valance. Otherwise it appears to have all of its original metal in other places, and the trunk floor (a common trouble spot) is still solid and original. This car beyond the paint and minor/quick cosmetic updates that it has received is very original in many ways.
While the car does have some needs in terms of the metal work on the underside. The cosmetic condition is good overall and shows as a very presentable driver that could be enjoyed just the way it is. The body is straight, the gaps, shut lines, and panel fitment are good overall. There are many spot welds indicating that this car was never apart, hit or poorly tended to, to the best of our knowledge. The bright work shows well, most of which is newly plated and the rubber and glass components are still in good overall condition as well.
The engine bay shows to be very original and has never been tampered with beyond regular servicing and use. It shows as a 153K miles car does, used, worn, but functional. The soft top is very original and the Hard top is of the same consistency as the rest of the car. As a 4-speed car, this 230SL represent a very rare opportunity to acquire a true 2 owner example still retaining its documentation. This is a car with known history, finished in original colors. This is an ideal opportunity to continue a driving restoration, or the perfect base for a total restoration. Impressive factory colors, flawless documentation, two tops, many high points of originality. It could be enjoyed as is, but the recommendation is to give it some much deserved attention. Please inquire with any additional interest.
Available Documentation: (Please click the link to view the file)