SOLD 11/22

1971 Mercedes-Benz

Bring a Trailer auction preview: One of the best color combinations, fitted with modern 5 speed with overdrive, nearly $40,000 in recent mechancial work performed.

  • VIN11304412017990
  • Exterior ColorMosss Green Mettalic
  • Interior ColorCognac leather
  • Mileage68775 Miles
  • Engine2.8L Inline 6-Cyliner
  • Engine no.130-983-12-011875
  • Transmission6-Speed S&SG manual (converted from automatic)
  • StatusSold
  • StockFJ2675


1971 Mercedes Benz 280 SL

VIN – 11304412017990
Exterior Color – Moss Green Metallic
Interior Color – Cognac leather
Engine – 2.8 liter in-line six
Transmission – 6-speed S&SG manual (converted from Automatic)
Current Miles –68,775 miles
Current Owner – Purchased in 2019

General Overview

After more than a century of superb automotive craftsmanship, Mercedes-Benz continues to lead as one of the premier automobile innovators, delivering vehicles of superior performance and optimum luxury. During the 1950s, decades of racing achievement and luxury refinements evolved as 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 as the 300SL was a performance brute, but the 190, was nearly the opposite. The 230SL delivered perfectly, proving immediately appealing to customers seeking a charming and sporty car with clean styling, captivating details, and spirited performance. Excellence continued under the hood with Bosch fuel-injection, overhead-cam six-cylinder engines, and a synchromesh transmission, all of which delivered reliable performance. A convertible top, and substantial trunk space allowed for elegant presence and practical traveling, even over long distances. Among the many features, 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 standards today, but thoroughly new for a sports car in 1963.

History and Build Details of This Car

This wonderful 1971 280SL represents the culmination of years of development and refinement of this iconic series Mercedes-Benz. The most notable improvement being the upgraded 2.8L engine delivering 170hp. Having been under previous ownership in Michigan, the car belonged to an owner of a Mercedes-Benz dealership. As evidenced by copies of receipts dating back to 1983, he retained the car for about 10-15 years, then sold it to another owner in Michigan, and then made its way to California where the current owner purchased it in 2019. Based on information supplied by Mercedes-Benz and the engine number stamped on the block, this car retains the original engine, although the aluminum engine tag is no longer retained. The current owner began work on the car in 2019 including refinished the trunk floor panel.

Additional work performed on the car in 2019 include new brake hoses and pads, new tires, motor and transmission mounts replaced, a new Pertronix electronic ignition conversion installed (Burlingame Motors), a new convertible top, new AC compressor (blows cold), a window lifter replaced, and the speedometer and clock repaired. In 2020, the engine and cylinder head were rebuilt at a cost exceeding $20,000 and the car was converted from automatic transmission to a 6-speed manual S&SG transmission, itself an $11,000 purchase for the transmission alone. The radiator was re-cored and repaired, and the seats and headrests were reupholstered. In 2021, new fuel hoses were installed, a new left side window regulator was installed, and a rebuilt fuel-injector pump was installed.

Condition Overview

Today the car presents as a very nice combination of original and partially restored example of a high-quality driver 280SL. The paint, while older and showing some signs of use, is glossy however displays some chips in various areas and evidence of surface prep in the paint finish. The driver’s side front fender has been repaired and the forward portion of the car, while correct appears to have also had some body work. The inboard front fender tips are not present on either side. The doors shut very well and retain good panel gaps and the non-framed side glass is not loose when in the up position. The hood and trunk also exhibit tight fit and closure. The chrome throughout is in very good condition, with nice luster and clean, bright reflections. All lenses, lighting, and glass are in very good condition with no significant chips or marks on the windshield. The tan canvas convertible top, replaced in 2019 by Jack’s Auto Top & Upholstery, is nicely tailored with a clear and taut rear window with excellent top bow tailoring and fabric welting on the underside of the top. The hardtop is in excellent condition finished in matching green with ivory headliner and very good glass. The exterior presentation overall is handsome, with proper stance, smooth bodylines and a nicely finished set of matching steel wheels with correct full wheel covers and a set of correctly sized Vredestein Sprint Classic tires, installed in 2019.

The interior, a Mercedes-Benz hallmark of quality materials and fine finishes, echoes throughout the cabin. The seats, door panels, and dashboard are in excellent condition with correct top-quality materials used for the seats and headrests when reupholstered by Metzel’s Auto Upholstery, San Francisco, CA. The instruments are in excellent condition, including the recently repaired Speedometer and clock, serviced by Palo Alto Speedometer in 2019. Of note is the functional Air Conditioning which blows cold and has been serviced including a new compressor kit installed at SF Benz. Drivable and enjoyable for regular use, the interior is particularly delightful in the warm, inviting color against the vivid contrasting green paint.

The engine compartment is nicely detailed and properly presented with correct parts, factory components, and updated lines, hoses, and electrical as needed. Recent work includes engine and cylinder head rebuild in November 2020 by Lonnie Jensen Co. A re-cored radiator was also installed at the same time. In 2021 fuel hoses were replaced and a rebuilt fuel-injection pump installed. The trunk is clean and nicely finished with quality materials and a very nice mat.

The car starts easily and idles smoothly, having been thoughtfully used over recent years, with regular and recent services. Driving manners are as expected for a nice solid example with a smooth gearbox and responsive clutch pedal. The ride engineering, disc brakes, and responsive suspension create a nice balance and composed power delivery for two occupants, with plenty of luggage space for refined touring. Top down or hardtop in place with AC on, this example is quite enjoyable in either configuration. The car is offered with a factory removable hardtop, hardtop stand, a removable dual cup holder, a set of factory owner’s books, reference manuals, a small collection of ‘Pagoda World’ Magazines, jacking equipment, a host of previous service records, an extra set of keys, and a car cover.

This is a wonderful opportunity to acquire a driver ready 280SL. Finished in great colors, featuring a rare 6-speed manual transmission, and working A/C, this handsome and iconic car is ready for enjoyable driving, touring with a friend, or extended weekend adventures.

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.

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Fantasy Junction  •  510-653-7555  •  1145 Park Ave, Emeryville, CA 94608