1969 Mercedes 280SLOne California Owner Since 1973 (45+ Years!)
Rare European Example with 4-Speed, Factory Hardtop…
Low Mileage with Maintenance History Dating Back to Date of Delivery
ABOUT THIS 1969 MERCEDES 280SL
We are regularly asked to locate California “Born & Raised”, original examples of desirable Mercedes SL cars, especially the increasingly desirable Mercedes “W113” cars that were produced from 1963 to 1971. Of particular interest to collectors and enthusiasts are the later 280SL cars that offered the increased displacement of a 2.8 liter engine, along with a host of other improvements before the introduction of the R107 Mercedes (350SL – 280SL). The distinctively styled “Pagoda” (that received its name for the unique roofline of the optional hardtop) “SL” (Sports Luxury) is the Mercedes that many consider the “Best of the Best” in the class of Mercedes two-seaters. Frankly, many of the “SL” cars on the market today are not cars that we would consider worthy of consideration for our customers that are looking for high quality, well-documented, limited ownership, pre-owned Mercedes convertibles.While many of these cars in the market today are offered at “reasonable” prices, the cars often have mechanical issues due to lack of attention by qualified technicians that can result in significant future expenditures; sometimes even in excess of the initial purchase price of the vehicle. We have learned from experience that well maintained “SL” cars can be extremely reliable and provide years of enjoyment and can be acquired at slightly more than those so-called “bargain” cars. Perhaps most important, many “SL” cars have been exposed to the elements and suffered from rust and panel replacements, or rust repair. It is increasingly difficult to locate an honest Mercedes 280SL that has not been exposed to rust, had accident damage, or that has other questionable history.
This Mercedes is an exceptional example of a car that has a fully documented history dating back to its delivery in Rome, Italy on 8/4/1968. The car arrived in the USA after only a year, or so, in Europe and was acquired by a physician (now deceased), who was thoughtful enough to give the Mercedes as a birthday gift to his wife. The car has remained under her ownership and care for the entire time, and has had maintenance exclusively by Mercedes Benz professional technicians. The 280SL will be of interest to a buyer that is looking for good looking, well maintained example of an SL that is almost certain to continue to appreciate based on the limited production and desirability.
Included with the Mercedes are the following documents:
– Owner’s Manual
– Factory Spare
– Factory Tools
– Original keys
Additional highlights include:
– Delivery & early servicing documented in the included MBZ Service Booklet
– Factory 4-speed example
– Retains its original European headlights, rear amber lenses, & odometer in kilometers
– Current mileage of 76,353 (176,353 kilometers, or 109,361 miles)
– Factory #’s matching engine, transmission, and other major components
– Original factory MBZ “Silver Grey” (Color Code 180G) (one quality respray)
– Very well maintained by Mercedes Benz specialists with documentation dating back to 1976
– Never stored for prolonged periods of time
– Used regularly by its elderly owner…never stored for prolonged periods of time
This Mercedes is finished in its original color of “Silver Gray” metallic with black leather interior. The 280SL has been very well cared for and traveled fewer than 2,500 miles although it has been used regularly and maintained. The Mercedes epitomizes the old adage that “You can restore a car over and over again but it is only original once.” While the maintenance history is too lengthy to list item by item, we will provide a summary later in this listing. We should mention that the car has been adult owned / driven and has never had deferred maintenance.
THIS PARTICULAR 1969 MERCEDES 280SL – CONDITION- Lovely exterior finished in a classic Mercedes color with very high gloss, even paint and no reports or indication of partial re-painting / touch-up since the car received a complete re-paint in its original factory color (retains the color code plate of 180G, Silver Gray Metallic)- Extremely nice matching silver factory hardtop with excellent headliner (refer to photos)
– Black, high quality canvas convertible top in very good condition with clear window
– Fully operational soft top frame and convertible top cover
– Original, stock steering wheel
– Beautiful factory correct wheels & hubcaps and proper period whitewall tires
– Original jack & spare
– Documentation of its Northern California history for over 45 years by the same owner
– Very clean, but not over-detailed engine compartment reflecting a level of care (Refer to Photos)
– Serviced by Mercedes Benz and Mercedes Benz specialists
– Dry, free from rust through, rot or body damage throughout including; trunk, rust or other rust in the typical areas (Rocker panels, engine bay, and door sills) seen on Midwest / East Coast cars
The owners of the Mercedes, including the current owner, was a VERY particular owner, and has maintained the Mercedes to the highest standards in order to ensure reliability and great appearance at all times. The Mercedes was used as a fair weather car and received limited but regular use to ensure that it was in 100% operational condition at all times.
The 280SL is virtually 100% stock including the original factory hard top that is in beautiful condition.
The Mercedes 280SL’s paint is in very good condition and, of course, the Mercedes has always been garaged when not in use. The car is totally free from any rust through both external and, as the undercarriage photos reflect, on the underside, suspension and other components. The underside only shows a patina for use but we have not cleaned or detailed the underside to show its original condition. No undercoating, black paint, or other effort to take away from the cars originality.
The 280SL exterior is truly in lovely condition including the “bright work”, rubber trim and other exterior parts. The 280SL shows minor flaws, characteristic with a limited use vehicle of this age but, considering its age, presents extremely well.
The body is very straight, and we have seen no signs of body panel replacement or major accident damage. The body itself is free from dents and other damage with the exception of some minor door dings that do not detract from the appearance of the Mercedes. The bumpers are straight, free from damage, and the chrome is very nice “California quality.” Also, inspection of the other exterior parts of the car (emblems, grill, trim, etc.) shows them to be in excellent, original condition. The photos accurately describe the cars condition and a video is provided to see the car start and hear the engine.
The convertible top on the Mercedes functions properly. The top raises and folds easily, and latches properly. It seals well, although this particular car has been used almost exclusively with the top down, or with the hardtop in place. Unlike many SL tops that are full of scratches and are even damaged from taking them on and off improperly, this top is in very nice condition.
The doors, hood, and trunk gaps are very good and close / lock securely. The doors do not sag, and the hinges are solid and rust free. The undersides of the hood and trunk are free from rust, dirt and grease and in excellent condition. The entire engine bay retains its original color paint, as does the trunk. The engine has not been cleaned up for the photographs but as a result of ongoing maintenance is clean and free from excessive dirt/grease build-up.
The glass on the car is free from cracks, but there are scratches from windshield arms rubbing against the windshield. We have not made an attempt to have them buffed out. All of the lenses, lights are free from cracks and damage and 100% functional.
The interior on this Mercedes is all original and in its stock configuration. Both drivers and passenger side seats are free from significant damage due, in part, to the slight of build woman owner/driver of the car. The gauges are clear and the door panels and r other interior areas show well. The carpet is original with only minimal signs of use/wear. The wood on the forward part of the dash was previously re-done as was the center console (that is missing the ash-tray) and while they are in acceptable condition, they would benefit from a freshening up.
The seats are structurally solid and move forward with the release and lock in place. in any way. From the seats to the dash, door panels and carpeting, everything has been well cared for, with the interior holding up quite well for its age. A wooden Mercedes shift knob has been added to match the wood on the console. The photos will provide the prospective buyer with an accurate depiction of the quality of the interior including the center console, instruments, dash, seats, carpet, and other portions of the interior.
The steering wheel is stock and the car has a functional horn, gauges, and lighting system. The radio is a vintage Blaupunkt Portland SQR28 radio and a power antenna.
We have a history of representing sports and high performance cars that enjoy the benefit of extensive and thoroughly documented repair history along with original delivery documents. We agree with our customers that place considerable emphasis on finding a car with this information as it is generally evidence that a car has received excellent maintenance. The service history of this SL is documented by receipts by the owner during the course of her 45~ years of ownership. The car was serviced exclusively by trusted Mercedes specialists in Northern California and all repair recommendations were implemented by the cars elderly owner.
In the early life of the Mercedes, the original Service Booklet provides a fascinating look into the history of the Mercedes. Original delivered in Rome, Italy on 8/4/1968, the booklet documents the service of the 280SL from the date of delivery until 11/6/1970 when it had accumulated 38,514 kilometers and received its required 40,000 kilometer service. Subsequently, the Mercedes left Europe and arrived in the USA in the 1970’s. It should also be noted that while in Rome, the MBZ Service Booklet documents the proper beak-in service at the following intervals:
– 2,431 kilometers (300-1,000 kilometer “A” service)
– 6,725 kilometers (5,000 kilometer “B” service)
– 10,000 kilometer “D” service
– At 17,045 kilometers (the require “A” service)
– 18,990 kilometers (The 20,000 kilometer “E” service )
– 20,291 kilometers (The 25,000 ‽C” service)
– 30,000 kilometer service (“D” service)
– 35,000 kilometer service (“C” service)
– And, the final ‽E” service at 38,514 kilometers (required at – 40,000 kilometers) prior to the trip to the USA
So, the Mercedes was also very well cared for by its first owner.
Frankly, it would take hours to detail the repair history on this car covers over 40 years with detailed, comprehensive receipts in the file dating back as far as 1976! However, the file contains documents almost obsessive ongoing maintenance and preventive “cost no object” car. It also shows a chronological history leading up to the cars current mileage with no indication of a speedometer replacement or malfunction. To provide the reader with an idea of the owner’s commitment to maintenance, the following represents a summary of the past few years. Note that with ongoing care, knowledgeable Mercedes mechanics agree that these cars are good for many hundreds of thousands of miles.
As we mentioned, the history of repairs is so extensive that it is impractical to list in detail. However, we welcome the opportunity to discuss the cars mechanical background with serious, qualified buyers. We will note that the 280SL received a recent (within 300 miles) service and inspection that included a replacement steering rack and steering pump. Within 7,500 miles, the Mercedes has had considerable work including but not limited to:
– Valve adjustment and major service
– Oil service including gaskets
– New tires
– New brakes
– New fuel tank
– All new fuel hoses
– New tie rod assembly
– New sub-frame mounts
We feel strongly that documentation of repair history is extremely important when it comes to Mercedes cars (and other fine European vehicles). Unfortunately, all too often we see cars that have not been maintained in accordance with the recommended Mercedes Benz service schedule.
The cars drivability reflects the considerable care that the Mercedes has received during its lifetime in California. The car starts immediately under all conditions, and runs cool, even in the 100+ degree weather in Northern California. The idle is smooth and the car has been totally reliable. The Mercedes has excellent power, stops and steers straight and does not pull, or wander. Factory 4 wheel disc brakes ensure that the car stops straight and sure. The parking brake works and is properly adjusted.
The transmission is free from any issues and there are no signs of slipping, noise, or shifting issues. The remainder of the cars drive-line components is equally as good.
The gauges tell the story when it comes to the car’s mechanical strength. The oil pressure reads well in excess of 50 lbs. of pressure (even when cold), the temperature gauge stays in the lower/middle few hash marks (even on very warm, California days), and the charging system is excellent. Also, the climate control / heating & defrosting system is completely functional and the often times broken controls are fully functional.
The spare is the original factory spare. The original jack can be found in the trunk and there is an original Service Booklet that documents the cars original delivery and early maintenance.
Finally, an inspection of the undercarriage of the car indicates that the car is free from significant leaks and accumulated oil, grease, and very straight and solid (please refer to the photos).
HISTORY OF THE MERCEDES 280SL
The design of what many consider the last really beautiful Mercedes Benz SL roadster is credited to Frenchman Paul Barcq who headed the advanced design studios at Daimler Benz from the later 1950’s to late 1960’s. The 1963 – 1971 SL cars became known as “Pagoda” SL’s as a result of their delicately shaped roofs which appear to dip down toward the center and which feature tapered C-pillars. No aspect of the design was an afterthought and certainly not the optional and desirable hardtop. The 280SL has become an increasingly desirable collectible as a result of its limited production, high MBZ quality, comfort, performance, and timeless styling.