Mercedes-Benz 230 SL made its debut at the Geneva Motor Show in 1963. It’s at the forefront of the W113 series, which is an important model for the German marque. Apart from replacing two models in the range, the 300 SL Roadster and the 190 SL, the W113 was a milestone for Mercedes-Benz in terms of safety.
The 230 SL’s frame floor system was derived from the Mercedes sedans of the W111 series, shortened and reinforced to fit the sports car. In addition, it was the first sports car to incorporate the principle of a stable passenger cell with front and rear crumple zones, a safety body that was first introduced in the “Fintail” sedan.
This two-seater touring car was designed by Friedrich Geiger, featuring clean lines, the classic SL look, and a large central star in the radiator grille. The optional hardtop, designed by Paul Bracq, had an inwardly curved roof surface that earned the car its “Pagoda” nickname.
Mercedes-Benz ended production of the W113 in 1971, after building 48,912 vehicles.
During its eight-year construction period, Mercedes-Benz offered the SL with three different engines, unlike the 300 SL and 190 SL models that had virtually unchanged engines until 1963. The 280 SL, the most successful version of the W113 series, appeared in 1968, with a 2.8-liter in-line six-cylinder M130 engine producing 170 horsepower (125 kilowatts), accelerating from zero to 62 miles per hour (100 kilometers per hour) in 9 seconds, and a top speed of 124 mph (200 km/h).
Apart from its commercial success, the Mercedes-Benz 230 SL was also successful in motorsport. Eugen Bohringer and Klaus Kaiser won the 5,000+ km Spa-Sofia-Liège marathon rally in 1963, while the following year, they achieved third place in the same rally with the 230 SL.
The Mercedes-Benz 230 SL and the rest of the W113 series range are coveted classics cars, and the automaker touts that Pagoda SL owners can always rely on the Mercedes-Benz Classic Center in Fellbach for expertise on all aspects of the brand’s classics.