The Overview

If one can say that Cadillac is the standard for the American Car in all of its luxury, grandeur and sophistication. Then perhaps it can be said Mercedes-Benz is the European standard of the equivalent. The Mercedes-Benz “SL” didn’t just come to be as we see it today, out of a need to fill a void in the accounting department or an idea brought about by the marketing team. The SL has a lineage perhaps older than any other production model in existence. The ground breaking 300SL’s were the introduction to nearly 60 years of continued engineering triumphs, racing victories, and a car the general public could call to as a familiarity & standard for the luxury sports car.


There is one particular instance during this time where these cars achieved a golden age and had the perfect combination/balance of hand built quality and modern technology. It was the Pagode or 113 Series cars produced from 1964-1971 that embellished the true meaning of the SL, and today are recognized as the standard for the SL’s lineage.  As the 230SL came to the end of its run in 1966 the 250SL was introduced, but only for a brief moment, as the power was then upgraded once again to the 2.8L specification. Thus the 280SL was born and first introduced in 1968. It would run its course until the middle of 1971 when the 107 series was introduced.


During its production many options were available in a seemingly endless amount of color combinations. It is rare to see a Pagoda Mercedes on the road most days of the week, but perhaps even rarer to see one that isn’t Red or White as most of them were. The car on offer here is an interesting car for a few different reasons. The first and most interesting point to be made is that of how it was originally ordered. The fact cannot be stressed enough that the combination in which this car is presented is incredibly rare, and perhaps the ultimate combination. “Black on Black”, “triple Black”, or also know as Black exterior, with a Black interior and matching Black soft and hard tops;  a true rarity in the world of 280SL’s, and an opportunity that does not happen often.


Thanks to the Mercedes Benz Classic Center, we know that this car was ordered from the factory new, with the following options per the Data Card Translation (copy available for review):



Chassis number:                 113 044 12 001602

Engine number:                  130 983 12 001051

Rear axle number:             07008

Front axle number, l&r:   108

Transmission number:      008853

Steering box number:       3179

Ignition key code:              HF 0752

Trunk/glove key code:      KN 079

Door/tank key code:         TB 048

Exterior color code:           040 – black body & hardtop

Interior color code:           131 – black MB Tex


Option codes:

401     single seats

416     hardtops mounted

426     power steering

461     instruments in English

491     USA version

503     outside side view mirror, left

515     Becker radio

524     paint coat preservation

598     heat insulated glass / heated rear pane

600     trim strips on hardtop

669     mode of packing VE I

740     soft-top fabric, black



Today the car matches these original criteria, exactly. It is finished in its original colors of 040 Black and 131 Black MBTex with matching Black soft and hard tops. The engine number matches as well and overall this car indeed reflects as a very nice example finished the way it should be.


Early history on this example shows via its original documents to have been sold new out of Gauthier Motors Inc. in Salem, Massachusetts to a Toby Wilbur of Elliot, Maine. It is assumed that Mr. Wilbur sold the car in 1972 to a resident of Vermont, or moved there himself. Our next instance of record is in 1972 when it was serviced by Auto Master Motor Company of Burlington VT, Vermont’s only Mercedes-Benz dealer at the time. There the 36,000 mile service was completed and the Warranty validated. At this time, 6-6-1972, 36,780 miles were reported. A few years later on 3/4/1975 at 65,318 miles, at the same dealership the 63,000 mile service was also completed. From this point forward we unfortunately do not have detailed service history until December of 2000 while it was in the ownership of one Carl Pearson of Maine. Our assumption based on the available paperwork is that the car stayed in Maine/New England since it was new and was regularly serviced for many years. However, in December of 2000 an $8,000 service was completed. It appears then that there was a period where the car was not used regularly and was in storage. The thorough servicing in 2000 was purely mechanical with no mention or recommendation as to any necessary body repairs, from this, and thorough inspection we believe this example to have been stored properly and still retain all of its original metal.


It remained in the ownership of Carl Pearson, and appeared to have been well serviced and in order by the time it was sold to Cooper Classic Cars of NY. At this time it was offered as a nice example, well serviced, with recent paint. It was acquired by a Mr. Pollack of NYC who further improved the car with a total engine, suspension, and steering rebuild. All completed by Marque Specialists Euro Tech Motors of Edgewater, NJ (documented). At this time the interior was gone over, a very potent sound system tastefully installed, and much the chrome refinished as well. All of which was completed nearly 4,000 miles ago.


Today the car shows as a sophisticate in its original Black/Black livery, and white wall tires. It has clearly been looked after and is totally in order from every aspect. Signs of use are present but nothing short of evidence that it was enjoyed and cared for. It starts instantly, runs very well with good oil pressure and temperature with all items functioning properly. It shifts firmly as a Mercedes SL should, and its road holding capabilities are without fault. Braking feels just as good as any of its contemporaries, and the power is plentiful. Needless to say, the $10K’s spent on this example were well worth it, and the end product is exceptional in terms of its mechanical abilities.


Cosmetically the car shows very well with great gaps, newly plated bright work, and is straight down the sides. There are one or two minor paint blemishes to be noted and as such have been photoed for review and are expected from an example that has been driven and enjoyed. Overall it is clear the workmanship was excellent. The rubbers everywhere are new, and the glass is free of any blemishes as well. Throughout the car are many spot welds, as well as the notches by the headlamps. There is also no indication that this car as ever been hit or rusty.  The hood number also matches the body tag as does the deck lid number. As such this shows many excellent points of originality throughout this example.


Upon entering the Black interior the door jams are consistent with the rest of the car, very clean with nice paint and trim components. The interior is very much new and shows nicely. We have noted that Dyna mat has been installed throughout during the restoration to ensure a quiet and cool drive. The carpets, seat covers, door panels, chrome trim items and dash/dash top are all in spectacular condition overall and any blemishes to be noted can easily be considered a sign of use and are minor in their nature.


The top is in good overall condition and is the correct German Canvas, there is a slight fray on the rear section where it clips to the rear deck, again minor, and certainly not in need of attention. The hard top is nice as well with nice headliner and paint. The paint does have a small scratch and the chrome is showing its age as is common with these tops as they are seldom used and almost always in storage.


Upon opening the hood we can see a very clean and tidy engine bay and related components. It has clearly and recently been cared for with a full engine out service and rebuild. During this time the valve cover and fuel lines and a few other items were polished out. While this may not be exemplary of what is considered factory correct, it does provide for a nice clean look and is certainly ascetically pleasing overall. The engine bay, like the underside of the car and everywhere else shows no signs of any rust issues presently or previously. The floors are straight and clearly original with the correct undercoating. The inner fenders, rear valence, rockers etc… are all straight and rust free without thickness or any other related issues. The trunk is of the same consistency with a correct mat and also rust free.


All things considered this is an excellent opportunity for any discerning collector or enthusiast seeking an interesting Pagoda finished in a color other than the common Red or White, a real Black on Black example that is turn key for showing or touring. As Pagodas continue their upward trend these cars will prove to be an excellent place to enjoy and grow ones money. Offered with its original books, tools, documentation, history, jack, spare wheel, and two tops, we invite those interested to please inquire.


Available Documentation: (Click on the links below to view the file)