Chris Earnest's 1965 Mercedes 230SL


230SL in Nice Setting


My car was built in February 1965 and delivered to its first owner on March 11 in Reutlingen, Germany.  It is a European model, dark green (code 268), with cognac leather (code 216) and a rust soft top.  It was first imported to the US in 1985, and remained in Phoenix until I bought it in August 2001.  From the records I have, I believe I am the fourth owner, and that the odometer reading of just over 100,000 km (62,137 miles) is the correct mileage.

When I bought it, the car was solid, original, and had apparently not been in any accidents, but it had been neglected for several years.  The engine was in pieces, partly in the trunk.  I restored it completely in 2002 - 2003: rebuilt the engine, put in new upholstery and carpets, repainted it, did necessary chrome plating, replaced the shocks and subframe mounts, and renewed all necessary smaller items (this is the expensive part of a restoration). The new soft top was installed in 2007; new rear springs and bushings in 2011.

The car has been entered in a number of Concours d'Elegance, winning second place awards in 2005 in Beverly Hills, Newport Beach, and Palos Verdes, and in 2007 in Los Angeles, and third place honors in 2004 and 2007 in Newport Beach, in 2006 in Beverly Hills, in 2007, 2008, and 2009 at the Muckenthaler Festival, and in 2009 in Los Angeles.

The same body style was used later also for the 250SL and the 280SL.  Some general facts about all three models, showing the similarities and differences, are given below.

More Photos


230SL from above
From Above
230SL Winning Award
2nd place, Palos Verdes Concours 2005


Mercedes 230SL, 250 SL, 280 SL Facts

The Mercedes 230SL was introduced at the Geneva Motor Show in 1963 as the replacement for the 190SL.  The new innovative design was the work of Paul Bracq, a Frenchman, who worked for Friedrich Gegner. (Later, Bracq also designed the BMW 630 coupe).

The car was given the nickname Pagoda by the staff at the Sindelfingen plant, because of the shape of the removable hardtop -- higher at the sides than in the middle.  The same body style was also used for the 250SL and the 280SL, which had larger engines but were heavier, so performance stayed much the same.  All three models had an in-line 6 cylinder overhead-valve engine with Bosch mechanical fuel injection.  Suspension was fully independent, with coil springs all around, double wishbones in front and swing axles with a single low pivot in the rear.

The total number of Pagodas produced was 48,462.  Of these, 34,215 were exported, 19,440 of them to the US.  Here are some other facts about the cars:




Years built
Number produced
Engine displacement
Horsepower (DIN)
Torque
Main bearings
Fuel tank capacity
Brakes
Weight (empty)

230SL

1963 67
19,381
2306 cc
150 @ 5500
145 ft/lb @ 4200
4
65 L (17.2 Gal)
Discs/drums
1295 kg (2855 lbs)

250SL

1966 68
5,196
2496 cc
150 @ 5500
159 ft/lb @ 4200
7
82 L (21.7 Gal)
Discs/discs
1360 kg (2998 lbs)

280SL

1967 - 71
23,885
2778 cc
170 @ 5750
177 ft/lb @ 4500
7
82 L (21.7 Gal)
Discs/discs
1360 kg (2998 lbs)

ALL

Hardtop weight
Overall length
Wheelbase
Height with hardtop
Original tire size
Turning circle diameter
Drag coefficient (Cw)
Approximate top speed

49kg (108 lbs)
4282mm (14 ft in)
2400mm (94.5 in)
1305 mm (51.4 in)
185 HR 14
10.35 m (34.0 feet)
0.610 (open), 0.481 (soft top up).
200 km/h (124 mph)