1968 Mercedes-Benz 250 SL

Location: Indianapolis
VIN #:12-003323
Engine:2.5L Inline 6

The Mercedes-Benz W 113 automobiles were produced from 1963 through 1971. They were sold as the "pagoda roof" SL Class. The W 113 replaced the W 198 SL-Class in 1963 and was replaced by the R107 SL-Class in 1972.

All models boast an inline six-cylinder engine with multi-port fuel injection using a mechanical pump system adapted from the diesel motors. All are rear-wheel drive, but are also equipped with independent rear suspension, a feature that greatly improved road handling. Most of these early SLs were sold with both the removable hard top and a soft top in the so-called "Coupe/Roadster" configuration, but there was also a "California Coupe" version available that came with the removable hardtop but no soft top. In these models, the soft top well (between the passenger compartment and trunk) is removed, and a drop-down bench seat is installed in its place. The rear seat is small and not very useful, so these 2+2 models are rare but not especially sought after today. While the SLs are relatively heavy compared to other similar roadsters, weight was reduced in part by the use of aluminum panels for the trunk lid, front hood, tonneau cover and door skins.

Production began in 1963 with the 2.3 liter 230-SL. These models were commonly 4-speed manual transmission cars, but a 4-speed automatic transmission was also available and popular for U.S. market cars. The 230-SL sported front disc / rear drum power-assisted brakes. They quickly gained popularity in the U.S. market, and this eventually led to more and more cars being built with automatic transmissions. The 2.8 liter 280 SL was introduced in 1967 and continued production largely unchanged through 1971 when the W 113 was replaced by the entirely new, and substantially heavier, R 107 350 SL/450 SL. Most 280 SL cars built for the U.S. market were equipped with automatic transmission. Manual transmission cars came with either a 4-speed tramsmission or the super rare ZF-5 speed. The ZF 5 speed is very rare sought after by American collectors. In the European market manual transmission cars were still dominant. 23,885 280 SLs were produced, of which 12,927 units went to the USA and 5,754 to other countries outside of Germany.

Today, the W 113 Pagoda is considered a highly desirable collectors car, with the 250 SL being the most rare with only 5196 made, 1761 for the US market. There were only 2 250SL's made in 1968 as the 280 had been introduced in 1967 and production was moving toward the 280, I am unsure if this is in fact one of those 2 or if it was simply titled as a 68 based on its first sale date, which was common back then.

This very nice example has had few owners from new having been in the current owners care for the past 28 years. The car was restored back in the early 90's and has been used sparingly on sunny summer days only to the tune of about 500 miles per year. The paint still presents quite well with only a few minor chips here and there, the seats are original and in excellent condition. it sports a new top and carpet set, and the brightwork is in excellent condition. Most everything works on the car including the A/C which blows c0ld, and even the clock. The car is fitted with a later Blaupunkt Stereo, and has a contrasting Black Removable Hardtop. The Michelin Radials are as new.

Since we acquired the car we had a Mercedes specialist go over the car mechanically not just the typical fluid changes, but also including rebuilding the brake system with new soft brake lines, and a rebuilt caliper. I have driven this car roughly 125 miles and have found it to be one of the best driving pagodas I have had. It shifts very smoothly, has spirited exceleration, goes down the road straight and true, stops well and is simply a joy to drive.

Very few of these cars have remained rust free their entire lives and this car did have rust in the front foot wells and one spot on the right rear rocker all of which have been repaired in a workmanlike but not concours manner when it was restored years back. These repairs would be very easy to take to the next level, but are fine the way they are depending on your tastes. Certainly the low miles, overall excellent condition, and history of this car make it one of the more desirable pagodas we have offered.

Accompanied by its original Manual and Tool Roll, this lovely late 250 SL will provide years of touring and showing enjoyment to the new owner.

Click on any image to enlarge it.