While the high price tag of the legendary 300 SL supercar kept it elusive for all but the most affluent buyers, it was widely accepted that the 190 SL had a pronounced lack of performance. The Mercedes 230 SL was drafted in to replace both the 190 SL and the 300 SL. The 230 SL made its debut at the prestigious Geneva Motor Show in March 1963 and the "Pagoda" would be produced and sold through till 1971. Its introduction speech summarised Mercedes aim of creating a fast and high performance sports car, which despite its sport characteristics would provide a high degree of travelling comfort as well as safety. All models were equipped with an inline-six cylinder engine with multi-port fuel injection and were offered with a 4 speed manual transmission, or an optional, very responsive fluid coupled 4-speed automatic transmission. In 1963, Eugen Böhringer won the 6,600-kilometer Spa-Sofia-Liège Rally (Belgium to Bulgaria) on a race-modified 1963 230 SL, a significant achievement and fittingly this very car now remains in Stuttgart under the care of the museum.
Pagoda's were extremely popular and supplied in great numbers to the USA where many cars were fitted to California Spec, this meant that they did not have a fabric roof at all, other USA changes include additional bumpers, sealed beam headlights, illuminated side repeaters cut into the bodywork, lower top speed die to changed gear ratios and due to emissions regulations "softer" valve timings, a reduced compression ratio and a modified injection pump, which reduced power significantly and has contributed to the rare European examples being justifiably worth a considerable premium.
This very special 230 SL was built in the fabled first year of production to desirable European specification, this exceptional example is regarded as many as the ultimate Pagoda, restored to exacting standards to its original and most stunning combination of Graphite Grey over a light Grey Hide, specified with optional 4 speed automatic transmission. The interior is appointed with a matching grey squareweave carpet accompanied by an exceptionally rare rear 3rd sideways mounted "Kinder Seat" with a leather rear trim panel, as an early 1963 example the car features the a vertically stored spare wheel. This wonderful car was delivered new in Paris by "Royal Elysees" on the 6th of December, making this one of the very first examples supplied in France. The car remarkably remained with the same French Family until a restoration was embarked upon in Germany and the car has since had just one owner since 2014 when last supplied by DK.
The nut and bolt restoration, was carried by leading Mercedes and Pagoda specialists and was undertaken to the highest possible standards, a good file of photographs exists to document the process and since restoration the car has covered just 500 dry weather miles, the restoration retained the correct details including matching dark wheel, and gear lever top. Underneath the car presents as if new. The car is accompanied by extensive history file which includes records from the car's single family ownership which lasted from new until 2012, still with the car is the are the original Mercedes Benz books including the stamped service book which records religious maintenance by Mercedes Benz Main Dealers from delivery until 1987, also accompanying this exceptional car is the tools, hard and soft top roofs and the spare wheel. A wonderful Pagoda presented in its original highly desirable specification, with unrepeatable provenance and restored to a world class standard.