“SL” or sports lightweight has been synonymous with Mercedes-Benz since the advent of the 300 SL in 1954. In 1963 however, a new type of SL would be unveiled, an SL re-engineered from the ground up, which we now know as the W113 chassis, or 230 SL. A revolutionary design, the 230 SL brought drastically squared proportions when compared with to its predecessors, yet still combined style, reliability and safety all into one attractive two seater.
Utilizing the monocoque chassis from the 200 series sedan, the 230 SL was the first SL to be equipped with an overhead-cam Bosch fuel injected 2.3 litre straight 6 engine, capable of achieving over 120 miles per hour, quite impressive for an automobile weighing in at just over 2,800 lbs. Equally impressive would be its stopping power, equipped with Girling disk brakes in the front, and power assisted drum brakes in the rear.
Mercedes-Benz continued their reputation for combining style with safety, as the 230 SL would be one of the first sports cars to have front and rear “deformation zones” or crumple zones, as we now know them; a concept from Mercedes-Benz engineer Béla Barényi. Mr. Barényi would also design the sturdy “pagoda” hardtop, based on Barényi’s design of a concave removable hard top, provided greater load bearing strength, as well as narrower pillars providing greater visibility, while also providing added safety for the occupants. The beautiful padded dashboard and steering wheel, were just two noticeable features beautifully integrated to the car while further protecting the consumer.
Quality and dependability would only be proven further by Eugen Böhringer, when he drove his 230 SL to victory in the grueling 1963 Spa–Sofia–Liège 90 hour rally, covering 3,417 miles. Not yet offered to the public, Böhringer’s 230 SL was prepared by Mercedes-Benz test department, featuring the typical rally modifications of the era, such as reinforced suspension and larger tanks. With 129 cars starting the rally, only 20 would endure the harsh conditions put upon them finishing behind the 230 SL.
Perhaps it was the safety and dependability standard that swayed the first owner Mr. Rodgers to purchase this 230 SL. Mr. Rodgers interestingly purchased it for his two daughters, Mary and Nellie’s use while attending North Carolina State University. Delivered May 31st, this SL would provide safe and stylish transportation for his daughters, with impeccable service records under their ownership. Primarily serviced by two shops, records show the first 44,000 miles in the Mercedes-Benz service book, which are included in the sale.
Cherished by its current owner of 13 years, upon acquiring the car, a comprehensive restoration was undertaken. Photographs follow the restoration in addition to receipts, documenting the removal of all paintwork down to bare metal. All hardware and glass were removed, as well as the hood, doors, hood, top, trunk lid as the pictures demonstrate. During the same period, the 2.3 litre straight six was rebuilt by the highly respected Metric Motors at a cost then, of over $5,000.00. The transmission was also overhauled, measured all tolerances, and replaced four synchro blocker rings. This 230 SL is equipped with a 4 speed manual transmission, reminding you this is more than a boulevard cruiser. All other components were examined and or replaced pending condition, including the alternator and voltage regulator, fuel pump much more all documented during the restoration. The braking system in this car was underwent a complete re-build with new brake booster. You will notice this SL also has a very nice sitting position as a result of new Koni shocks.
As your approach this car, you immediately notice the distinctive European “fish bowl” headlights, at a cost of $958.00 for the set. Next its the chrome that catches your attention as it is in very nice condition, holding up quite well with no flaws. This SL also retains its ever important headlight notches, which many cars lack after multiple restorations. Straight panels and good gap fit all the way round the car, and is noticeable as you make your way to the interior. Correct wheel covers matching the factory hardtop are a nice feature, as is the W113 Pagoda SL Group sticker in the right corner of the windshield.
As you enter the automobile, you slip into the drivers seat and are immediately confronted with the beautiful painted dash, resembling its predecessors, the 300 SL and 190 SL. This example originally fitted without a radio retains the cover plack with 230 SL, while having a Sony AM/FM CD system conveniently hidden in the rear of the cockpit. Speakers are conspicuously fitted beneath the dash, and are a nice addition should you desire some music on a long trip. The pained red dashboard nicely compliments the chrome inserts that adorn each end of the dash, housing the air vents. Seats have average wear one expects, while the drivers seat bolster does exhibit excess wear. Correct Mercedes-Benz rubber floor mats cover the floors; with period correct black and red dot carpets sitting on top. The convertible top is in very nice shape, with a fresh clear rear window.
The engine bay is impeccably clean, with all new rubber during the restoration. Wires are fresh as this is a turnkey car, ready to be driven. Going around the inside of the hood, all of the factory spot welds are present, further demonstrating this cars pampered past. The trunk is immaculate with the same correct Mercedes-Benz mat lining it, with your spare wheel and cover, as well as all it’s original books and manuals.
Upon starting, one can notice it takes very little effort to get it rolling. It runs smooth, drives very well with no fault in the shifting, braking, steering or elsewhere with all systems in very good order. The W113 generation is just as comfortable on highway with modern traffic, as it is tooling around the coast. This 230 SL would be gladly welcomed at any Concours event, and will make an excellent addition to ones collection.
Available Documentation: (Click on the links below to view the file)