Structurally Excellent Lifelong California Car. 4-Speed Example with Both Tops. Runs and Drives Great
1969 Mercedes-Benz 280SL
Red with Cognac Interior
With more than a century of superb automotive engineering and refined craftsmanship, Mercedes-Benz continues to remain one of the premier automobile innovators, delivering vehicles of optimum performance and premier luxury year after year. During the 1950s, decades of racing achievement and luxury refinement matured dramatically while US market growth encouraged new models, further endearing the brand to new and dedicated customers.
The mid 60s proved to be a rapidly changing time for sports cars. The budding 230SL was slated to replace both the 190SL and the iconic 300SL – an ominous task given the 300SL was a performance powerhouse, while the 190 was nearly the opposite. The 230SL delivered perfectly, instantly delighting customers seeking a charming, yet balanced sporty car with clean styling, captivating details, and spirited performance. The clarity and simplicity of design continued under the hood with technical advancements including Bosch fuel-injection, overhead-cam six cylinder engine, and syncromesh transmission, all of which delivered proven Mercedes-Benz 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 lovely 1969 280SL is a structurally excellent example of this iconic series Mercedes-Benz. The most notable being the 2.8L engine delivering 170hp, mated to a 4-speed manual transmission. The car was delivered new to California where it has been registered and owned for the past 48 years. The current owner purchased it from a local California resident having owned the car for approximately 20 years, with very limited miles accumulated in the past five years. Currently showing what are understood to be 134,000 original miles, the car features power steering, manual transmission, seats redone in leather, and comes with both hard and soft tops.
Today the car presents as a very nice combination of an original and partially restored example of a very straight and dry, strong running 280SL. The paint is in very nice condition overall with high gloss and quality finishing in all areas. The paint was applied to the original body panels with care to all inner surfaces, edges, corners, and trim, tending nicely to areas under the hood while thoughtfully retaining the original hood insulation pad, which remains in beautiful condition today. Critically important on these cars are the original fenders and hood, specifically evidenced by the factory spot welds revealed in these inner areas. Here, the original front fenders and the area inside the grille under the hood show their correct factory spot-welds. Further validating the original front fenders, the inside front fender ridges or fin tips (often sanded over when cars have been repaired) are evident and crisp on both sides.
The doors shut very well, retaining very good panel gaps and crisp latching. The hood and trunk also exhibit nice fit and closure with consistent gaps. The chrome throughout is in very good condition, with nice luster and clean, bright reflections, though some areas show light hazing, typical of original chrome. All lenses, lighting, and glass are in very good condition with only minor evidence of road use on the windshield and minor aging to the unique clear headlight enclosures and plastic surrounds. The new black canvas convertible top has been handsomely tailored with a clear and taut rear window, tight top bow wrapping, and very nice fabric welting on the underside of the canvas. The car comes with the distinctive “Pagoda Roof” hardtop, which is painted red to match the exterior. Outfitted with correct narrow white wall tires and stainless steel wheel covers, the stance and ride height very nicely convey elegance and performance.
The interior, is a nice combination of original Mercedes-Benz Tex (MB-Tex) finishes and recently recovered leather seats. The leather used on the seats is of high quality and matches very nicely with the car. The dash is nicely preserved with very clean instruments and recently redone wood trim, surrounded by the MB-Tex material, which is in very nice preserved condition. Of particular note is the matching red insert inside the dash, contrasting the black instruments and touches of lacquered wood trim. The interior door panels, armrests, and various trim are all in very good condition, while the darker carpeting has wear in the driver’s footwell. The dashboard has very nicely preserved instruments, and a modern Kenwood stereo. With the canvas top folded into storage position, the hard shell cover latches confidently, creating a handsome profile with the red exterior and tan interior surrounding the cabin.
The engine compartment is nicely detailed and properly presented with correct parts, correct power steering, fuel-injection, factory components, with attention to hard lines, hoses, and electrical as needed. There is no engine number stamping or riveted plate on the block, likely indicating a factory replacement block during previous ownership. The fuel injection plenum is clean and nicely detailed echoing much of the originality and care exhibited while preserving this fine 280SL. The paint on the inside of the engine compartment appears to be original, is smooth, and very nicely finished, preserving the original cowl insulation. The trunk is clean and nicely finished with original satin black underside, inner trunk surround and factory tire pressure sticker, finished with a correct floor mat, and proper spare tire cover.
The car starts easily and idles smoothly, having been thoughtfully used throughout ownership, but in the past five years accumulating only minimal miles. Driving manners are as expected for a nice original example with a smooth manual gearbox and responsive clutch pedal. The ride engineering, disc brakes, and responsive suspension create composed power delivery for two occupants, with plenty of luggage space for refined touring. The floor pan, trunk floor, and undercarriage are both solid and straight, showing no evidence of structural compromise, merely typical road use. The car is offered with a set of factory owner’s books and tools and the hardtop.
This is a wonderful opportunity to acquire a driver ready 280SL. Finished in great colors, ready for enjoyable driving, touring with a friend, or overnight adventures. With a few suitcases safely stored and the top down, this 280SL will eagerly delight its fortunate occupants into the open road adventures and joys that only a classic Mercedes-Benz can elegantly deliver.
The above vehicle information is complete and accurate to the best of our knowledge at the time it is posted to this website. Corrections or additional information is always appreciated. All advertised prices exclude government fees and taxes, any finance charges, any dealer document preparation charge, and any emission testing charge. Vehicles are subject to prior sale. All advertised to be true but not guaranteed. We assume no liability for errors or omissions.
Fantasy Junction • 510-653-7555 • 1145 Park Ave, Emeryville, CA 94608