A superior display of power coupled with sporty elegance: the Mercedes-Benz Pagoda presented at the Geneva Motor Show in March 1963 caused a sensation not only among experts. Delivering effortlessly cool looks coupled to a gutsy performance driven by the creamy smooth six cylinder engines the cars never failed to deliver in terms of refinement and appearance.
The Pagoda was the world's first sports car with an innovative safety body, it is one of the longer lived Mercedes-Benz models, lasting from 1963 through 1971. From 1967 to 1971 the further developed 280 SL came off the production line. The two-seater Roadster is launched with unique comfort, exceptional performance and unprecedented driving safety for a sports car.
Known in Mercedes-Benz circles as the W113, this version of the SL (Literally Sports Lightweight) was developed under the auspices of Mercedes-Benz Technical Director Fritz Nallinger, Chief Engineer Rudolf Uhlenhaut and Head of Styling Friedrich Geiger. The lead designers were Paul Bracque and Béla Barényi, who created its distinctive, patented, slightly concave hardtop, which inspired the "Pagoda" nickname.
All models were equipped with a six cylinder engine with multi-port fuel injection. The bonnet, boot lid, door skins and tonneau cover were made of aluminium to reduce weight. The comparatively short and wide chassis, combined with an excellent suspension, powerful brakes gave the W113 superb handling for its time. The styling of the front, with its characteristic upright Bosch "fishbowl" headlights and simple chrome grille, dominated by the large three-pointed star in the nose panel, paid homage to the then already legendary 300 SL roadster and coupe. With the 2.8 L motor, it is a popular and successful representative of the pagoda series and easily achieves very good travel speeds. With this vehicle, you can move safely and comfortably in today’s traffic without stress. The solid, rigid construction, the proven, durable technology, the appropriate performance, its comfortable and safe road holding, the excellent spare parts supply and its well-known workshop friendliness can delight a future owner for many decades to come. In this condition, driving for pleasure and appreciation are inevitable.
BACKGROUND AND HISTORY:
The much awaited Mercedes W113 SL Roadster took centre stage during the 1963 Geneva Motor Show. The budding 230SL was slated to replace both the 190SL and the iconic 300SL – an ominous task as the 300SL was a performance brute, but the 190SL, was nearly the opposite. The Pagoda SL delivered perfectly, proving immediately appealing to customers seeking a charming and sporty car with clean styling and captivating details, but also offering spirited performance. The clarity and simplicity of design continued under the hood with technical advancements including Bosch fuel-injection, overhead-cam six cylinder engine, all of which delivered reliable performance. A convertible top, and substantial trunk space allowed for elegant presence and practical traveling, even over long distances. Among the many features offered in the car, several innovative safety aspects were incorporated into the unique body design including being the first sports car with a rigid passenger cell and designated crumple zones, industry standard today, but thoroughly new for a sports car in 1963.
This SL class broke away from the past with an extremely progressive design. However, this was no super-sports car or ordinary convertible. Instead, it was a powerful and elegant open-air two-seater model with an extremely roomy cabin and advanced safety features for the time. The hard top, with its concave curved lines, a concept designed to improve the indoor space, immediately evoked the idea of an oriental pagoda in the minds of Mercedes enthusiasts, and in the years to come, it became this model’s stylistic feature. From that moment on, the roadster became known as the “pagoda”.
The Mercedes Pagoda SL was also a commercial success and its mix of great features is still attracting vintage car collectors today.
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