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 early 280SL ‘California Coupé’, presented in an eye-popping Signal Red on Cognac leather, is a mechanically sound example that can sit up for people. Acquired directly from the hills of Hollywood, steps away from the Chinese Theater, this example was acquired from the daughter of the second owner, a trained Mercedes mechanic who bought the car used and cared for it for several decades, eventually rebuilding the engine and repainting the car in a Signal Red. The fate of this car remains to be seen, whether to return it to its original splendor, keep its current appearance, or go for a more customized hue better suited to the lines of the car.