1968 Mercedes 280SL Type 113
In 1963, Mercedes replaced the ageing 190SL sportscar (the Gullwing’s little brother) with an all new design into which they installed the 6 cylinder overhead camshaft engine from the saloon car ranges. Fuel injection, disc brakes and power steering made it a luxurious and popular sports car. The factory hardtop dips in the middle of the roof when viewed from the front; this is reminiscent of far eastern architecture and gave the car its universal nickname - the Pagoda. Although they can rust in all the usual places, Mercedes protected them well from new and are very good at supplying almost all the needed parts.
The Pagoda was the last SL to be supplied with a manual gearbox option. Three engines sizes were supplied over the years of production during the 1960s - firstly 2.3 litres (230SL), then 2.5 litres (250SL) and lastly the largest size, 2.8 litres (280SL). All three models are very similar - only the boot badge really tells you which one it is.
On this particular 280SL, bodywork rust and poor paint were the main problems. We removed the rusty external wings and valances. The engine and gearbox also were removed and rebuilt. The engine bay and cockpit were stripped out. There was a fair amount of rust waiting to be repaired. As usual, we cut away all the rust, including in the seams, and fitted new panels or part panels as appropriate. In this view of the rear of the car, the new Mercedes rear wings (still with the factory stickers) can be seen, as can the rear valance which was also renewed. As usual, the Mercedes panels fitted superbly. When these panels were off, the boot floor and rear chassis legs were repaired. Just ahead of the rear deck, the curved hood storage cover can be seen. The Pagoda was the first SL to store its hood completely out of sight under a metal cover - a feature that Triumph copied on the Stag.
After the bodyshell was sprayed (Silver, of course), the car was reassembled. The rebuilt 6 cylinder engine is quite a tight fit in the engine bay. The fuel injection pipes can clearly be seen round the front of the engine cam cover. The finished engine bay. The mechanical fuel injection metering unit can be seen low down on this side of the engine. These are usually very reliable, which is just as well as they are not cheap to repair.
The finished car. New chromework and a new hood completed the restoration nicely. Front view of the finished car.