The 280SL

Introduction

UPDATE: It was a joy to own our 1969 MB 280SL. However, all good things must come to an end. We decided to sell the 280 and “Bring a Trailer” was the venue for the on-line auction. We were quite pleased with the process and she brought a good return on investment. We will now be shipping the car off to Colorado and the next chapter in its life.

I have admired the 200 SL series of Mercedes cars since they were initially manufactured as the successor to the 190. The variants include the 230, 250, and 280 SLs.

“Codenamed W113, the encore to the Mercedes-Benz 190SL and 300SL was first introduced at the 1963 Frankfurt Auto Show as the 230SL. As neither the hairy-chested beast exemplified by the 300SL or the boulevard tourer of the 190SL, the new 230SL placed more of an emphasis on safety and comfort. The four-cylinder power of the 190 was gone; all models were fitted with a Bosch, fuel-injected, 2,281-cubic centimeter six-cylinder producing 150 horsepower. It had the added distinction of the first Mercedes-Benz automobile to be fitted with an alternator as standard equipment. Off-the-shelf components included independent front and rear suspension and servo-assisted front disc and rear drum brakes, which helped to keep development and production costs within reason.
 
Perhaps most appealing about the car was its unique styling. Clearly linked to earlier Stuttgart designs, it featured the broad front grille of the 300SL, albeit in a squared-up shape. As with its predecessors, it was available as a roadster, roadster/coupe, or pure coupe. Most distinctive was its roofline, the so called “pagoda roof,” designed by Paul Bracq and Bela Barenyi. The upright roofline contained lots of glass area, with raised sides and a lower center panel instead of curving conventionally upwards toward the middle, à la a Japanese pagoda.
 
Production of 230SLs continued until the uprated 250SL made its debut at the 1967 Geneva show. Though horsepower ratings remained the same, the new 2,496-cubic centimeter engine provided more torque for better acceleration. Wheel rims increased from 5.5 to 6 inches, and four-wheel disc brakes became standard. The coupe version was dropped.
 
As the final version, the 280SL made its public appearance early in 1968. Most notable was the increased engine displacement to 2,778 cubic centimeters, this time with a bump in both torque and horsepower (to 180). Interiors were upgraded, along with a myriad of detail refinements. The final 280SL came off the assembly line in March 1971. A total of 23,885 were produced during the model run, making it the most popular of all the roadsters built to date.”
My 280 came with both hard and soft tops, the soft top being relatively new. The car is also air conditioned.
 
The car was delivered to my home in Harrisonburg, VA on August 13, 2013. 
 
The Data Card was included in the glove box of each car and it contained production information about that particular vehicle. The card was missing from my car, but I was able to receive an email copy of the card after contacting the Mercedes-Benz Classic Parts Center. Key codes were included in boxes 16, 17, and 18. I have masked them on the card below for security reasons.
1969 Mercedes-Benz 280 SL Data Card

1969 Mercedes-Benz 280 SL Data Card

The center also provided some code interpretation which was obviously helpful!

Engine: 130983.12.002488

Transmission: 019819

670- Paint, Light Ivory 2

140- Interior Trim, Cognac MB-Tex

401- Single seats

416- Hardtop mounted

426-Mercedes-Benz power steering and automatic transmission with floor shift

461- Instruments, in English

491- U.S. Version

503- Outside rearview mirror, left

524- Paintcoat preservation

533-Interference suppression without radio set

598- Heat-insulating glass

669- Mode of packing VE IV

746- Folding top fabric, Dark Brown

Front right and left axle- 288

Rear axle- 4389

Bosch Headlights

Dunlop Tires

2 Responses to “The 280SL”

  1. Phil says:

    That’s a lovely video clip, and a great story!

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