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An authentic example which will be a welcome addition to your stable

Mercedes 230SL 1967

California rust-free car


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Authentic, investment quality Pagoda with provenance.

Price just lowered from $99,500 for this investment quality Pagoda!

In the World War II era, women in the military were much more rare than today. When one considers a Japanese-American woman who had previously spent time in an internment camp then later joined The U.S. Army Nurse Corps and achieved the rank of Lieutenant Colonel, the word “rare” does not seem strong enough.

Our subject car was a showroom display car sold by Mercedes dealer European Motors LTD in San Francisco on Jan, 5, 1967 to Major Ruth Tanaka who served at that time at Letterman Hospital. The car stayed in the Tanaka family until 2004 when the second owner purchased it from their agent. A running restoration was started in 2006 with new paint, carpets, and leather. The second owner went to great lengths to obtain the most correct and authentic materials for this car. The carpet is the finer square-weave “Boucle” like the original which is not available through the usual channels here in the U.S. any longer. It was sourced and purchased in Germany together with leather.

Likewise, the original soft top fabric color, code #727 Verdeckstoff 132 weissgrau or light gray is rare and no longer supplied through normal channels. The special fabric on the car today was sourced from the original “Sonnenland” manufacturer, Rode & Schwalenberg in Mannheim, Germany and shipped here to be tailor-made into a proper and authentic soft top. The top was installed by one of San Diego’s finest trim shops, Ocean Beach Upholstery in the spring of 2011.

The original books, manuals, records and restoration portfolio are included with the car which has been driven just over 100k miles since new. The fuel injection pump was rebuilt at Pacific Fuel Injection in May of 2014.

Major Tanaka received the National Defense Service Medal with oak leaf cluster, the Army Occupation Medal – Germany, Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal and the Army Commendation Medal. She devoted her life to her Army nursing career and also expressed her love of art, classical music and opera.

Possibly this love of art and the experience of order and precision in classical music drew her to the Mercedes Pagoda as well.

Chassis: 11304212017524

  • Years of Manufacture: 1963 - 1967
  • Number Built: 19,831
  • Price at Introduction:
    • 230SL Roadster: DM 20,600
    • Optional Hard Top: DM 1,100
    • Power Steering: DM 550
    • Automatic Transmission: DM 1,400
  • Date of Introduction: March, 1963
  • Chassis/Body:
    • Unit frame and body
  • Exterior Dimensions 230SL:
    • Total Length: 168.8 inches (4285mm)
    • Total Width: 69.2 inches (1760mm)
    • Height at Kerb Weight: 51.4 inches (1305mm)
    • Wheelbase: 94.5 inches (2400mm)
    • Front Track: 58.5 inches (1486mm)
    • Rear Track: 58.5 inches (1487mm)
  • Kerb Weight:
    • Roadster: 2860lb (1300kg)
    • Optional Hardtop Fitted: 3036lb (1380kg)
  • Fuel Tank: 17.2 gallons (65.0 litres)
  • Turning Circle:
    • 34.0ft (10.5 metres)
  • Transmission (Manual, 4 Speed, to 1965):
    • 1st: 4.42:1
    • 2nd: 2.28:1
    • 3rd: 1.53:1
    • 4th: 1.00:1
  • Transmission (Manual, 4 Speed, from 1965):
    • 1st: 4.05:1
    • 2nd: 2.23:1
    • 3rd: 1.42:1
    • 4th: 1.00:1
  • Transmission (Automatic, 4 Speed):
    • 1st: 3.98:1
    • 2nd: 2.52:1
    • 3rd: 1.58:1
    • 4th: 1.00:1
  • Clutch:
    • Single cushion disc, dry plate clutch
  • Rear Axle Ratio:
    • To September 1965: 3.75:1
    • From September 1965: 3.69:1 or 3.92:1
  • Engine Speed at 100 km/h:
    • 3145 rpm
  • 0-60 mph (0-97 km/h):
    • Manual: 11.0 seconds (approx)
    • Automatic: 13.0 seconds (approx)
  • Maximum Speed:
    • Manual: 123 mph (200 km/h)
    • Automatic: 121 mph (195 km/h)
  • Engine 6 Cylinder M 127:
    • Capacity: 2306cc 140.7ci
    • Type: Conventional, watercooled four stroke, reciprocating piston type with 6 cylinders
    • Configuration: Front mounted, longitudinal, inline
    • Head: Pushrod and rocker actuated ohv, overhead camshaft
    • Fuel System: Bosch six plunger pump
    • Bore and Stroke: 3.23 x 2.87 inches (82 x 72.8mm)
    • Power: 150 hp (DIN) @ 5500rpm (170hp SAE @ 5600)
    • Torque: 20.0 mkg @ 4200rpm (159.0 ft/lb @ 4500)
    • Compression Ratio: 9.3:1
  • Ignition and Electrical:
    • 12 volt
    • Coil and alternator
  • Exhaust:
    • Single tail-pipe
  • Suspension:
    • Independent front and rear, with coil springs, single joint swing axle
  • Steering:
    • Recirculating ball, ratio: 22.7:1 (4.1 turns)
    • Servo assisted 17.3:1 (3.2 turns)
  • Brakes:
    • Front: Disc, 9.96" 253mm
    • Rear: Drum 9.06" 230mm
    • Servo assisted
    • Two circuit hydraulic
  • Wheels:
    • 14" Pressed steel disc wheels
  • Tyres:
    • 185 HR 14 Radial
230SL Production Schedule
Cars Manufactured
230SL Roadster

With production of both the 300SL and 190SL cars coming to an end in 1963, Mercedes-Benz needed a new car to carry the SL (Sehr Leicht, very light) torch. And while the previous cars immortalized the SL moniker, the 230SL was more a spiritual successor to those cars than a direct descendent.

Mercedes debuted the 230SL (designated W113 internally) at the Geneva Auto Show in March 1963, to great acclaim. Exterior styling was a departure for Mercedes, which had until that point relied on rounded, even bulbous curves to characterize its automobiles. But the 230SL bordered on square, pulled off through the use of clean, elegant lines, intelligent placement of the wheels in proportion to the rest of the design, and a tall, "pagoda" removable hard top that allowed for ease of ingress and egress.

The 230 utilized a monocoque chassis borrowed from the 220 series sedan, with front suspension courtesy of coils and wishbones, while the rear incorporated a single-pivot swing axle and transverse springs set up to compensate for camber. Girling disc brakes stopped the front wheels, and power-assisted drums worked the rear.

Also borrowed from the 220 series was its overhead-cam inline-6, now bored out to 2.3 liters. Bosch fuel injection was incorporated as well, and horsepower on the new sport tourer was rated at 148, a significant boost over the underpowered 190SL. A 4-speed manual transmission was standard, though a new 4-speed automatic transmission was optional, a first for Mercedes sports tourers of this nature.

Cabin refinement set the 230SL apart from the competition, with acres of leather, plush, supportive seats, big, readable gauges, Blaupunkt radios, and a quality of craftsmanship throughout, including the soft top, which disappeared easily and unobtrusively when not in use.

The 230SL was an unqualified success, with sales topping even the best sales year for the 190SL. This was in some measure due to the car's genuine ability to perform. Top speed was rated at about 125, and handling was described as neutral, with light, balanced steering, even at the limit. And while they were not originally intended as competition cars, the sturdy, reliable 230 made a suitable and quite successful rally machine, including a famous win in the grueling Spa-Sofia-Liege Rally.

The 230SL would remain in production until early 1967, with nearly 20,000 models built, at which point it was succeeded first by the 250SL and then the 280SL. Ultimately, these “pagoda” SLs would become regarded as one of the finest cars to come from the Stuttgart firm, with timeless, graceful styling, spirited performance and handling, and build quality and reliability second to none.

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