The 280SL was the final iteration of the W113 chassis. Both horsepower and torque were up over 10% over the previous 250 model. More than half of Mercedes’ world production ended up being delivered to North America. Despite that, the majority were automatic transmissions. Due to the superb build quality, they were robust cars and as a result, many survived. However, very few have survived with such low miles as well as being in excellent preservation condition.
This 280SL was sold new on September 30th, 1968 by Estate Motors, Inc. of Bedford Hills, New York, the local Mercedes-Benz dealer. It was ordered with the following options:
- USA Version/Instruments in English
- 4-Speed Manual Transmission
- Single/Bucket Seats
- Power Steering
- Becker Radio
- Outside Rearview Mirror on Left Side
- Silver Grey Metallic Glasurit Paint on Body and wheel hub caps
- Paint Coat Preservation and Paint Kit
- Heat Insulated Glass / Heated Rear Pane
- Trim Tips on Hardtop
- White Wall Tires
- Dark Blue Glasurit Paint Hard Top
- Dark Blue Upholstery (changed to period correct Parchment during restoration)
- Phoenix Firestone Tires
The original MSRP was around $7,500.
The first owner was Joseph Marpet of Pound Ridge, New York. He only kept this Mercedes for 7 months and added about 6k miles. During that time, he performed a service “A” at the selling Mercedes dealership. Mr. Marpet listed the car for sale in the Sunday New York Times on April 13th, 1969 with around 6k miles. Jack Epremian of Schenectady, NY purchased this SL on April 28th, 1969 for $6,300.
For the next 51 years, this 280SL became a fixture in the Epremian family. Shortly after Jack purchased the car, he embarked on a cross-country roadtrip. In July of 1970 with 7,500 miles on the car, Jack drove it to Southern California and then back to New York. He had the oil cooler replaced under a recall at the Mercedes dealer in Santa Barbara, California. In total, this road trip added another 6,500 miles to the car. After that trip, this Mercedes was used for only the occasional fair-weather weekend cruise. Finally, on April 28th, 1998 (30 years after Jack purchased the car), he gifted the car to one of his close family members, Jeff Epremian, who was also an enthusiast. It had 34,275 miles on it at the time and this next caretaker embarked on its second road trip: the 400-mile drive from Jack’s house in Schenectady, New York to the car’s new home in McLean, Virginia.
Jeff continued to service this SL regularly, despite adding very few miles. It appears he did much of the service himself and purchased parts from reputable retailers. Highlights of services include:
- Regular oil services based on time
- Brake lines (11/04)
- Shifter bushings (6/11)
- Hood pad, tie rods, and door top molding (8/12)
- Factory fuel pump, fuel filter, and hose kit (1/16)
- Coolant hoses and fuel pump protector (10/17)
- Water pump and seals (3/18)
On July 22nd, 2020, the current Southern California enthusiast purchased this 280SL from the son. It had 35,600 miles at the time. Before delivery, the current owner had Epremian’s mechanic perform the following repairs on 7/25/20:
- Remove bumpers, fog lights, and wiring
- Flush brake and clutch hydraulic fluid
- Install new Euro bumpers
- Install new shifter bushing kit
- New 123 distributor and Bosch red coil
- New clutch salve cylinder and boot for clutch lever
- Correct stainless wiper blades
- Set timing of car
- New Michelin Defender tires in OEM size (195/70-14)
- Stainless exhaust system by Timevalve (original kept for next owner)
- Coolant system flush
- Transmission fluid flush
- Refinish underside of hood
- 4-wheel alignment
Once the car was delivered to Southern California, this owner employed the help of Pete’s Autohuas in Torrance, California for services. This is the same shop the current owner has used on his other W113 cars. This shop is very well-respected in the Mercedes community. For the past 2 years, the current owner has added just over 1,500 miles of light weekend cruising. Highlights of services during his ownership include:
- General inspection and misc. repairs (9/20 @ 35,695 miles)
- Replace driver door check/stay
- Repair radio wiring to antenna
- Secure oil filter housing and oil pan
- Reseal plate at injection pump
- Replace leaking front pinion seal on differential
- Rear differential service/fluid flush
- Rear brake pads
- Repaired trunk light assembly
- Adjust engine belts
- Replace windshield washer pump
- Repair power steering pump and radiator leaks (11/20 @ 35,938 miles)
- Replace power steering pump
- Power steering fluid flush
- Reseal front crankshaft seal
- Repair minor leak in radiator
- New Michelin MXV-P tires in correct 185R14 size (4/22)
- Pre-sale service at inspection (11/23 @ 37,138 miles)
- Oil service – Castrol 20W/50 – 5.5 quarts
- Brake fluid flush
- Battery system check
- Complete exterior paint correction/polishing
- Steam clean soft top and polish rear plastic window
- Hand clean underside and degrease
- Ceramic coat entire painted surface for further protection
During this most recent service, the mechanic did a full inspection and found this SL to be in very good survivor condition. They noted that the windshield washer system wasn’t working and there were a few minor spots of oil weeping, but nothing worth addressing. The rubber center mount on the drive shaft is showing wear, but also not necessary to replace at this time. Overall, they found the engine, suspension, and transmission in proper operating condition. Also, there were no signs of any prior damage or corrosion repairs. The tires, brakes and other safety items were also noted in fresh condition.
The exterior of this 280SL is in excellent survivor condition. Much of the car’s paint is original with the exception of the silver part of the body. That was repainted decades ago due to clear coat failure. The pagoda hard-top is still original paint. All the metal surfaces were checked with a paint meter and there are no signs of any prior body work or filler. The door jambs, trunk, and engine compartment are still wearing their original finish/paint. The quality of the repaint is excellent and has the proper German metal flake size. There are minimal signs of use with no major chips or scratches. The headlight “notches” were buffed down during the repaint, which is common. However, all the original factory spot welds are untouched. The brightwork is in excellent condition with minimal oxidation. There is a dent on the passenger door top chrome molding from the top being removed. A new replacement piece is included with the car, but not installed. The Euro bumpers were recently installed and are new. The original bumpers are included and are in very good original condition. The glass is all original, including the windshield and wearing the proper factory stampings. There is a scratch on the driver side window as well as some light pitting and mild wiper scratches on the windshield. The hardtop is in great shape with minimal signs of age or wear. The soft top is equally as nice and also original. The canvas is in great shape with no major flaws. There is one small (1mm dia.) rub hole (not all the way through) of the canvas by the lower rear right. Also, from years of not being opened, the corners of the canvas flare up a bit. However, with sun exposure, they should settle down. The rear plastic window has some light aging and discoloration, but is generally quite clear, especially for the age and originality. The wheels are original and wearing their original finished hub caps. There are minimal signs of wear and no significant curb rash. They are wrapped in near new/full tread Michelin tires. The brakes have been inspected. The rotors are all in good shape with new/full-life rear pads and front pads over 75% life remaining. All the exterior lights work properly as well.
The interior is equally as nice and all original. The seats are in great shape with minimal signs of wear. The passenger seat has one tiny tear (about 1mm in diameter). The cushions still have life and have not collapsed. The soft top and hard top headliners look great with no tears or signs of wear. The original carpet is in good shape with no heavy wear marks or stains with some slight discoloration due to age. The rubber part on the driver floor mat is starting to deteriorate. The thresholds have minimal markings with the rubber still in good shape. The door panels also look great with no tears. The elastic of both door pockets are sagging. The dash has no cracks or warping. The original wood looks good with no delamination or cracking. The steering wheel is wrapped in an older leather cover, which has faded and has a split at the 6-o’clock position. It’s protected the original Bakelite steering wheel, which appears to be in great shape including the horn ring. All the gauges appear to work, including the clock (loses some time when sitting). The original Becker radio works. The original Kangol 3-point seat belts are in great shape and still function properly. The manual window winders operate smoothly both up and down. The interior lights work including the glove box light.
The underside, trunk, and engine bay are indicative of a well-cared for low-mile survivor. Everything is tidy and original with no signs of any prior repairs. The trunk has no corrosion under the original rubber mat. Even the proper foam pad on the trunk lid is still present. The spare tire mount is in great shape and it appears to still have its original spare. The engine compartment is also very original and correct. The factory firewall pad is still installed and in great condition. The proper factory spot welds are visible on the front fenders, another sign that there has been no prior damage. Finally, the underside is in fantastic original condition with no signs of corrosion or other issues that plagued these cars. Much of the factory finishes are still visible. The underside is very tidy with just a couple minor spots of oil weeping, but not enough to address at this time, according to the mechanic.
This 280SL is a pleasure to drive. It feels very tight and fresh considering how original it is. It starts easily on the first try and holds an even idle. Once it reaches operating temperature, it pulls strong throughout the rev range. The tachometer needle bounces a bit when accelerating hard, which is not uncommon. The power is strong throughout the rev range without any hesitation. The steering is good and the car tracks straight. The suspension is compliant on uneven surfaces. The brakes have an excellent initial bite with no fading or pulling. The transmission shifts smoothly through all the gears with no grinding or slipping. The clutch engages properly. While driving it, I kept thinking how fun this would be to enjoy driving around the Monterey Peninsula during car week.
The car is currently California registered to September of 2024 and it is smog exempt.
This 280SL comes with extra key set (4 keys per set), original Mercedes owner’s manual/all manuals with vinyl case, rare spare tire hang tag, original owner metal ID plate, copy of data card, original spare wheel with original Phoenix spare tire/tire cover, jack, original top removal tools with leather carry case, 3-ring binder of service receipts/history, MBCA Silver Star Certificate, MBCA Silver Star Preservation badge (installed), tool kit, original muffler, original stock bumpers, bag of misc. parts, extra filters, and new factory door top trim for the passenger door.
**Note: VIN and other numbers withheld to protect against fraud. All numbers including VIN, Engine, and color will be provided to serious buyers.
The Goldilocks approach to car collecting:
Purchase 3 of the same car in a short period to determine which is the one that’s “just right” for you.
Most enthusiasts take a decade of vintage car ownership before having enough experience and knowledge to make the right decision.
Nope, not this owner. Within a year, he purchased 3 Mercedes SL “Pagodas.” He’s not a big collector, but rather an enthusiast who takes a unique pragmatic approach in the decision-making process.
While owning 3 of these at the same time, he came to not only understand the unique differences (he owns a 230SL, we just sold a 250SL for him, and now this 280SL), but also which is the best fit for his lifestyle (single dad with 3 teenage-ish boys).
Looking into my crystal ball, this 280SL 4-speed manual is probably the best to keep. It’s a manual and it’s a killer low mile/mostly 1-owner preservation example.
As it turns out, fewer than 1/4 of the total 280SL cars were equipped with a manual. When you focus just on North American examples, that number is estimated to be considerably smaller.
Like Sophie’s Choice, this was an incredibly difficult dilemma. Thankfully, he never asked for my opinion, but I would’ve kept this one.
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact Paul at 714-335-4911 or email@example.com
This vehicle is sold “as-is” with no warranty, written or implied. In some cases, the vehicle does have the remaining factory warranty still in place and will be described above if that is the case. All taxes and fees are the responsibility of the buyer and are not included in the listed price. All vehicle sales will require a $170 administration fee. The vehicle listed is described to the best of our ability. The information is based on our own research and statements made to us by the previous owner(s). To the best of our knowledge, the above information is accurate. We are not responsible for errors in our description of options or any other details. The above-mentioned vehicle is used and can be expected to show some wear and tear. It is not a brand-new vehicle. We do welcome all local pre-purchase inspections on vehicles in order to verify their condition. For payment, we accept bank transfers, cashier’s checks, or cash. Check’s take up to 10 business days to clear. The vehicle and title will be held until all funds are cleared and verified. Bank transfers usually only take 24 hours.
Note: For out-of-state buyers, California does not offer temporary tags/registration. Each State typically has a grace period to allow buyers to drive their new out-of-state acquisition to their local DMV for registration. Please check your State’s DMV website for more details. Also, California requires us to surrender standard plates less than 30 years old back to the state and will not be delivered with the vehicle. Personalized plates stay with the seller.