The 1963 Mercedes-Benz 230SL two-seater represented a huge improvement over the outgoing 190SL roadster. Its 150 hp, six-cylinder engine replaced the 190’s four-cylinder, and it was gradually increased in size to the most desirable 180 hp, 2.8-liter engine in 1968. The bulbous bodywork of the 190 was replaced by Paul Bracque’s crisp, angular design, with its unusual concave hardtop roof that led to the sobriquet “Pagoda Top,” and the model was produced until 1971.
This sold car received a $130,000 rotisserie restoration by MercedesBenz expert Siegfried Linke, well-known as a Pebble Beach judge. It has the preferred four-speed manual transmission, instead of the more common automatic, and the very rare option of a limited slip differential, which was fitted to only one percent of production. The roadster is finished in silver Glasurite paint with beautifully installed red leather interior, and most unusually, was never fitted with a radio. The car has both tops, and the new soft top is the correct German-made canvas article.
Sold new in Geneva, Switzerland, this roadster has had just three owners, the second of whom was an American working in Switzerland. He kept a painstaking record in hand-written logbooks that cover 25 years of the car’s history, and he brought the car back to the U.S. when he retired. This car must be considered the purest form of the best version of Mercedes-Benz’s last completely hand-made car. With its cowled headlights and lack of U.S. add-on clearance lights, it is exactly as designer Paul Braque envisioned it and awaits only an appreciative owner who would have bought it new in a heartbeat.