1965 Mercedes-Benz 230SL LHD (W113)


  • Comprehensively restored in 2017-18
  • Retrimmed and refinished interior
  • 2.3-litre with manual transmission
  • Removable ‘Pagoda’ hardtop
  • Extensive history file

The Appeal

Technologically advanced, stylishly designed and finished with the kind of build quality usually reserved for ocean-going luxury liners, the W113 has gone down in history as one of the most desirable roadsters ever built.

And it still looks incredible today, Paul Bracq’s design has aged incredibly well and still looks truly elegant and urbane. Little wonder then, that collectors and enthusiasts alike swoon over nice examples. 

Here we have a very nicely finished 230SL, complete with that iconic ‘Pagoda’ removable hardtop. Imported from the US in late 2016, it spent the next couple of years being restored and has apparently been little used since. It presents in very fine order, with freshly finished paintwork and a smartly retrimmed interior. Add to that the comprehensive history file and desirable specification and you have something very fine indeed. Just be sure to move quickly on this, we can’t see it hanging about for long…

The History and Paperwork

  • First registered in 1965
  • Imported from the US in 2016
  • First registered in the UK in September 2016
  • Restored during 2017 and 2018, little used since
  • Five owners in the UK, current owner since September 2019
  • Large and comprehensive history file incorporating many invoices, UK import documentation, Connecticut registration document and German handbook
  • Historic vehicle status – tax and MOT exempt
  • Current MOT to April 2024
  • 94,482Km indicated (five-figure odometer)
  • It's believed that the car was repainted by the Mercedes-Benz plant in the US during its early life

Correspondence from a previous owner who acquired the car in 1983 in the US, provides an interesting insight into the car's history: 

They stated that they acquired the car quite by chance, when the previous owner had intended to embark on a big road trip. They had fallen out with their partner, asked a friend to accompany them instead and then latterly made up with their partner - meaning two seats were no longer up to the job!

The Interior

  • Smart black upholstery
  • New dark grey carpets
  • Handsome period dashboard and instruments
  • Kenwood radio/cassette system

Retrimmed during the restoration, the upholstery shows in lovely condition, with barely any wear or indications of use. The black material of the seat covers and door cards wears a gentle satin sheen and we didn’t see any tears or serious creasing.

The upholstery is well complemented by the dark grey carpeting, newly fitted and showing no real signs of wear at all, it really does finish the cabin off nicely.

We’re told by the vendor that much of the internal trim was renewed or refreshed during the restoration and it all certainly presents well. The switchgear looks very tidy, with some very light weathering to the dials and controls, but no cracking or notable wear. Lovely, warm coloured wood trim adorns the dash top and centre console and shows no signs of cracking or warping that we could discern. 

The vendor reports no faults or issues with any of the functions and features of the cabin.

Behind the seats there is a handy luggage shelf while, at the back, the boot space is quite generous. The boot is trimmed in black carpet and also contains a spare wheel, complete with vinyl cover, as well as a tool roll. We did note a few spots of corrosion to the boot floor, but generally it all looks to be in very good order.

The Exterior

  • White paintwork, recently resprayed
  • Black fabric roof
  • Black ‘Pagoda’ hardtop
  • Refinished external trim

We’re told by the vendor that the car was treated to a ‘bare metal’ respray during the restoration process, and it certainly looks to have been nicely finished. The application looks to be even and neat, with an attractive level of gloss. We didn’t see any notable marks or blemishes.

That iconically suave bodywork shows very well here, with neat, straight panels, consistent shut lines and crisp swage lines. We didn’t discern any evidence of corrosion or damage and everything appears to be in fine fettle. 

The vendor tells us that much of the external trim has been renewed or refinished, and it definitely presents very well. There’s very slight wear evident in a couple of places, but overall the brightwork looks excellent, with a fine lustre and no corrosion apparent. Similarly, the badging, glass elements and light lenses show well – with no cracking or chipping we could identify.

Of course, one of the great selling points of the W113 is the combination of fabric convertible roof and removable hardtop. Both are present here in fine order. The black fabric roof looks taut and neat, with no signs of UV damage and no obvious tears or stress marks. Similarly, the hardtop is neatly finished in glossy black paintwork and looks to be in very nice condition.

Examining the underside, all looks to be in order. Everything looks neat and straight, with no obvious issues. There are a few spots of surface corrosion and the rear suspension bushes appear a little cracked and worn, but otherwise it’s all looking very good indeed.

Wheels are the correct 14-inch items, finished with polished wheel plates that feature a black centre to match the roof. The wheels are shod in a matched set of white band tyres that appear to be in good condition with plenty of tread.

The Mechanics

  • 2,308cc SOHC inline-six
  • Four-speed manual transmission
  • Rear-wheel drive

The powertrain of the W113 was really quite advanced for the time, with all models featuring Bosch fuel-injection. The result is that the naturally-aspirated inline-six in this handsome little sports car pushed out a healthy 148hp and 145lb-ft. With the car’s relatively low weight, this results in some sprightly performance and a reputation for fine handling.

Apparently, during the restoration, the engine gearbox and running gear were all treated to some comprehensive refurbishment, so the car should be in great mechanical condition for some time to come. We’re assured by the vendor that the car drives “perfectly”, with no reported leaks, smoke or untoward noises. They tell us that the car goes, steers and stops just as it should.

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There aren’t many cars that the vast majority of car enthusiasts agree on, but the ‘Pagoda’ is definitely one of them. Almost universally admired, great to drive and beautifully finished, there’s practically no downside to them. Benefitting from a fine specification, with a comprehensive recent restoration and excellent history file, we think this gorgeous W113 would enhance any garage or collection.

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This item is sold on an ‘As is Where is’ basis. The condition of this item is the opinion of the seller and may differ from your own opinion. Photos and listing descriptions are for guidance purposes only*.** Car & Classic do not warrant listing accuracy. Full inspection is recommended. Viewings are at the seller’s discretion. Buyer is responsible for delivery and collection of any item purchased.*

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Vehicle specification
  • Year 1965
  • Make Mercedes
  • Model 230 Sl
  • Colour White
  • Odometer 94,482 Kilometres
  • Engine size 2308
Auction Details
  • Seller Type Private
  • Town Fulmer
  • Location Buckinghamshire
  • Country United Kingdom
Bidding history
24 bids
  • Ke•••• £57,500 29/05/23
  • ja•••• £57,000 29/05/23
  • fa•••• £56,750 29/05/23
  • ja•••• £56,250 29/05/23
  • fa•••• £55,750 29/05/23
  • ja•••• £55,250 29/05/23
  • ja•••• £54,000 29/05/23
  • ti•••• £53,000 28/05/23
  • fa•••• £51,500 28/05/23
  • pa•••• £51,000 28/05/23

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