No Stone Unturned In 
Maintaining This Unparralelled Example

This beautiful car has been in the current family for the last 20 years, with only one previous owner prior to the current family. She is in a beautiful condition with previous concours wins. The current sale is due to the passing of the owner.

Designated internally as the W113, the 230 SL debuted at the Geneva Auto Show in March of 1963. It was to be heralded as the finest production car built by the firm. Built to replace the 300SL and 190SL which ended production in 1963, Mercedes-Benz needed a new SL (translated as Sehr Leicht or Super Light). The new 230 SL was more of a nod to those cars than a direct descendant and received enthusiastically. The bodyshell design was a new angle on the SL for Mercedes as up until this point the designs had consisted of curves representing their SL design.

The new 230SL looked square in comparison but used elegant lines and wheels placed in the appropriate place to set off the design. The lines were elegant and clean, with the interruption of the tall and majestic ‘pagoda’ removable hardtop in perfect proportion. The monocoque chassis was borrowed from the 220 series saloon car.

Sales of the 230 SL exceeded expectations. It wasn’t just a pretty German sports cabriolet, it was also no slouch for its class, with a top speed of 125 MPH. 230 SLs handle very nicely. The steering feels neutral and balanced on the road, neutral with light steering. Even when pushed hard, a 230 SL handles effectively. Don’t believe me? The 230 SL was even rallied, winning a rally in its first outing, the 1963 Spa- Sofia- Liege Rally. No wonder when you see that the build quality is second to none.

So what do you get for nearly £100,000 for a marvelous Mercedes ‘minter’? The colour of this fine example is Dark Bordeaux Red. It’s a flawless exterior with every detail popping out at you with second you study its lines. It’s an older restoration which is still oozing outstanding quality. With each passing year the car’s body and mechanical components are checked regularly as if part of some religious ceremony. If required, the body has rust inhibitor applied as and where required. The exterior trim and brightwork is complete and to factory fresh specification and in wonderful condition, as you’d expect with a concours condition car and in original specification. These cars had chrome plate laid over brass in the era.

Not all Pagodas have reached the 21st century in such condition. This is a multi-award, concours winning ‘Pagoda’. The 2010 winner of the prestigious Mercedes prize, the Pagoda Gold Cup. The car is correct in every detail as per the factory ‘build sheet’.To support the car, the documentation and provenance is superb.

A comprehensive Gratz Motors photographic record of restoration; comprehensive maintenance and testing records; original guarantee document; original handbook; original shell set up guide with all nipple points detailed in a cardboard fold down chart; an original Mercedes Benz factory service manual in original service folder and in English; vehicle data card and even a handwritten build tag is with the car’s wealth of documents. There’s an ad from 1997, when the current owner bought the car, stating one lady owner for 30 years and a mileage of 49,000 and a certificate showing that the car was adapted for use of unleaded fuel in June1998. All the old tax discs from 1989 are kept with the documentation.

Also, with the car is the Mercedes Benz Bradma order/ build plate and production fahrzeug document, showing a Mrs Burford of Cardiff, having ordered the car from Woking Motors Ltd. This car featured heavily in the James Taylor book Factory-Original Mercedes SL – The Original Guide to Mercedes Benz SL and SLC models 1963-2003.(Herridge & Sons 2012).

This 230 SL has its original 2300cc engine which is still in wonderful working order after 52years. Testament to this is the extensive service history that comes with the car. The 230 SL’s engine was the straight six-cylinder engine taken from the 220 saloon, however, engine designers at Mercedes Benz, bored out to 2.3 litreswith added Bosch fuel injection.

Tyres on this example are Michelin MXV pattern, from the Michelin classic tyre range. A worthy tyre for such a lovely car, and you have power steering to take you effortlessly through the corners.

The Germanic, smooth automatic transmission was an option for the buyer in 1966. Ticking the option box on the order sheet got you a new 4 speed automatic.

Coils and wishbones makeup the front suspension whilst the rear got a swing axle and transverse springs to compensate for camber. Girling disc brakes provided stopping power up front with the rears being taken care of by power assisted drums.

The interior is a fantastic example of what a 230 SL interior would look like from the factory. Acres of luxury can be found inside the relatively spacious cabin. The originalrubber mats are still with the car and lie underneath the current traditional style coco mats.

The basket weave MB-Texvinyl is plush, comfortable and shaped just enough to be supportive and is in fantastic condition. The carpets and interior chrome and brightwork are in beautiful condition and make the interior a wonderful place to experience sucha lovely ‘Pagoda’.

You are struck by the large and very readable gauges and for entertainment, 1966’s latest offeringfrom the quality radio brand Becker, a factory fitment at the time. This is an original unit, sourced and retro fitted in recent years. Amazingly, the original radio blanking plate is still with the car. There is an air of quality about all of the interior. Even the hidden soft top is stitched majestically and then hides inside its recess.

Behind the front seats is an area for luggage. This area is beautifully trimmed, as is the rest of thecar, in original specification hard-wearing looped pile carpet with tailored edges.

An original tool box, including a wooden handled screw driver is a very rare item to find complete. Cars with the red-capped high spec distributor, like this one, came with the option of a small hand lamp with a clamp. On the cars with this option you will see a socket on the bulkhead. A nice touch and a nice artefact of Mercedes elegance and prowess. This is what a preserved example should be like.

andy talbot

motoring writer

Freelance Motoring Journalist & Broadcaster