If a brand awareness survey would be held amongst owners of classic cars, the Mercedes-Pagoda would probably achieve a score of 100%. The nickname can be traced back to the curved shape of the roof, as seen in the architectural style of the Chinese and Thai. The car celebrated its 50th anniversary in August 2013. The cars official name is Mercedes-Benz SL with the internal code W113. Three engine varieties were built: 230 SL, 250 SL and 280 SL.
Although the W113 definitely belongs in the pantheon of German automobiles, the model also has French roots. The designer is the Frenchman Paul Bracq (interesting fact: under the name Paul Bracq he and his family started a restoration workshop in Bordeaux. The website homepage shows two men working at a work of art: A W113!).
The curved shape of the roof is not the work of Bracq but Béla Barényi, also inventor of the crumple zone. Barényi also smoothed the sharp edges at the cars sides, which made it safer at collisions with pedestrians and cyclists.
As said, the car was built in three varieties: the 230 SL, 250 SL and 280 SL. These are the production years and numbers:
- 230 SL: 19.831 produced from July 1963 till January 1967
- 250 SL: 5.196 produced from December 1966 till January 1968
- 280 SL: 23.885 produced from December 1967 till February 1971
Of course every model can be recognised by the content of the engine, but there are also other unique features. The 230 SL only has disc brakes at the front, the 250 SL and 280 SL have them all around. The hubcaps show you if it’s a 250 SL or a 280 SL without opening the hood. The 280 SL has one-piece hubcaps. These differences applied to both the European and U.S. market. The U.S. models differ from the European ones with different bumpers and lights.
1970 Mercedes-Benz 280 SL (W113) automatic
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