Auction Pick of the Week: 1971 Mercedes-Benz 280SL
Mercedes has always offered its customers a top-tier driving experience with the SL, a model that long served as the brand’s flagship grand touring roadster. Through several generations, the SL roadster has led the pack with technological and luxury advances, and it looked good doing it. This 1971 280SL, the final year of W113-generation SL production before it was replaced by the long-lived R107 version, is now up for auction on Hagerty Marketplace.
The W113 generation marked the second generation of the SL, the first of which included the iconic gullwing 300 SL coupe. The R017 that followed was more stately and physically longer overall, but the W113 had classic roadster proportions that remain striking today. The hardtop (fondly referred to as the “pagoda”) created a tidy package that made the SL look just as good with the top on as it did with the top off. Or down as the case may be, as the car also had a retractable soft top.
This gorgeous example up for auction until February 8 had a thorough restoration before it was last sold in 2012 and has been lovingly maintained since then, with a recent refresh to bring up back into its full luster. The 280SL’s interior features bucket seats, three-point seatbelts, air conditioning, and a Becker Mexico cassette stereo.
As you may have noticed from that interior photo, the car is equipped with a four-speed manual transmission—rare for a car that was ordinarily fitted with an automatic in the the U.S. It also boasts power steering and four-wheel power disc brakes. Its air conditioning is neatly integrated under the dash, and the whole look of the interior, down to the simple and elegant gauges, is pure ’60s Mercedes.
Under the hood, its 2.8-liter, 180-hp inline-six engine looks fresh and clean, with detailed metal surfaces without much glitz or unnecessary adornment. The listing includes several videos, with a walkaround and a driver’s-eye view of a cruise down the road, allowing any prospective buyer to a get taste of how the lively inline-six engine sounds. It offers a nice rumble that’s perfectly fitting the sporty yet civilized looks of the jaunty roadster.
Bidding has just started on this elegant little drop-top, which looks especially appealing in dark red with matching hubcaps . If you’ve got an SL-shaped void in your garage, you’ll want to give this auction a look.
Not sure why many consider the 1950’s 300SL gull wing and roadster as part of the lineage of later SL’s. These 300SL were the Hypercars of the time, street legal versions of the race cars. There was no successor to the 300SL. The R113, R107 and all later SL’s were the successors to the 190SL, an open 2 seater with more emphasis on comfort than sport. It just does not do the 300SL justice to include it with the lineage of boulevard cruiser SL’s based on sedan platforms and mechanicals, as nice as they may be, especially the featured R113.
Dark red?!!! That’s aubergine baby