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Mercedes-Benz Pagoda

Mercedes-Benz Pagoda Published: 6th Feb 2019 - 0 Comments - Be the first, contribute now!

Mercedes-Benz Pagoda
Mercedes-Benz Pagoda
Mercedes-Benz Pagoda
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Every inch a connoisseur’s classic while joining the Pagoda club is becoming increasingly expensive it’s always money well spent

Dripping with sheer understated good taste the W113 (better known as Pagoda due to its novel roof design) is a timeless classic care of its elegant looks backed by traditional Mercedes engineering and build quality. A favourite then – and now – with celebrities but joining this select set comes at a cost.

What makes them so special

Pagoda is better suited for cool touring than hot driving because the car’s handling that is tailored for comfort discourages doing anything otherwise. But what’s the rush when there’s so much to savour including admiring glances? Likewise, most models are automatics and its rather quirky ‘back to front’ selector gait needs familiarising with. None can be considered road burners although the bigger the engine the more performance and as a result, the car is overall better to drive on today’s cut and thrust roads.

Right choice

It comes as no surprise that the top 280SL is the most desirable model although for general touring and motoring about there’s little wrong with the 250 or even the 230SL. As a matter of fact, 250SL’s rarity in the range may count for something in years to come as there’s a rare manual option to make the most of its 150bhp. Modified cars are other rarities – thankfully – as they can devalue and debase the car so putting off buyers. Any alterations should only major on mild handling mods and better electrics as recommended by an SL expert.


Bank on a bare minimum of £30,000 to secure a proper Pagoda – anything cheaper means major repair or a full restoration – the latter not coming cheap. Try £65-£75,000 for nice example and prime Pagodas breach the £100,000 barrier with ease, especially a 280SL which generally commands a price premium of £15,000-£20,000 depending on condition – concours cars can demand £200,000 and above. The price difference between 230SL and 250SL is more dependent upon condition than engine size. Peach Pagodas are as good as money in the bank so you’ll always see a worthwhile return, if you buy right.

Don’t get caught out…

  • A sound history from a reputable SL expert counts for a heck of a lot.
  • Rust can be rife: Bulkheads corrode but it’s the sills which finally determine the car’s worth – costing at least £2500 per side to fix.
  • Inspect the chassis legs carefully; you need to remove a cover behind the rear seats to do this properly but if the buyer refuses walk away!
  • Don’t overlook details such as chromework or a tatty hood. For example, a grille and brightwork refurb runs to over £5000.
  • Engines are everlasting if serviced correctly. Dirty, contaminated oil not only hurts longevity but can also infect the fuel injection pump.

Significant dates

Coded as W113, is launched in 1963 using similar mechanical design to the 190SL it replaced, first as a 230SL, with a 2306cc straight-six; manual or auto transmissions. For ’67 the 250SL joins the range with disc brakes all round and a 2496cc straight-six for 150bhp plus a five-speed manual ’box option. It’s only an interim model of the 5196 made this year before the 2.8-litre 168bhp 280SL takes over (better engine, seats and ride) becoming the most common as well as sought after Pagoda with 23,885 built.

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