Euro Market Pagoda: 1965 Mercedes 230SL

The W113 chassis Mercedes represent good value, both in terms of the driving experience and the potential return on investment should it be restored. Some examples have been drug out of the bayou with rust that can frighten even the most hardened of restorers, but this example here on eBay appears very restorable and worth the effort, considering it is both a factory manual-transmission car and a genuine Euro-market model. 

More interesting than the car is the company it keeps on the trailer: a vintage long-hood Porsche 911 with classic Fuchs alloy wheels. What else came out of this pre-fab building in Texas? Considering the Mercedes sports rally-grade fog lights on the front bumper, it makes one wonder if the previous owner used these cars in competitive events, such as autocrossing or forest rallies. The Pagoda (called this for the appearance manifested by its hardtop) had the stuff of greatness, with an inline-six, liberal use of aluminum, and a chassis designed to deliver excellent handling. Even today, it’s considered a superb driver’s car.

We don’t have much to go on for this example’s most recent past, though it does appear to have been stored largely complete. The aforementioned hard top is included, along with all four hubcaps and a numbers-matching engine. The soft top is present but clearly in need of repair/replacement; having the hard top is a desirable component the next owner won’t have to hunt for. From here, the interior looks relatively well preserved as well, which offers some hope the “barn storage” occurred in a dry barn.

More evidence of dry, enclosed storage: an interior that is seemingly just a wipe-down away from rejuvenation. It’s difficult to tell if the transmission has been removed or just the knob, but that manual ‘box is a must-have as it adds some real value to the car. You can just barely make out what appears to be a custom center-stack gauge cluster, perhaps bolstering support for a history that includes some competition use. Overall, this is an appealing example that even seems somewhat cheap with a $20,500 Buy-It-Now.

Fast Finds


  1. boxdin

    That collapsed rust hole in the rf fender is scary.

  2. Mountainwoodie

    Seeing two cars I have already had I feel both blessed and cursed. Blessed that I had the opportunity to own them , cursed that I am a serial car owner. As for the pagoda. mine was a ’67 Euro 230SL with a slushbox. Even so, tha bomb! But,in the Euro versions before you buy, pull or pry the head lights out. See how extensive the rust is……then head for the suspension.

    In my aesthetic calculation, one of the prettiest cars ever. Still want a 250SL with a Gettrag 5 speed…….then I can go to the junkyard in the beyond with one fewer regret. :)

    Clearly the seller has his finger on the pulse of the market given the two cars on the trailer, but whether this is worth 20 K I have no idea. Bring a boatload of restoration cash

    • Casey Jones

      These are stunning cars way ahead of their time.
      How stiff was the chassis on these? I’ve. Ive not had the pleasure of driving an early 6, what is the power delivery like? I gues with the slush box and manual would step up that game…

      • Mountainwoodie

        I always felt like I was driving a much bigger car.

        The steering is stout and smooth and the turning radius is nothing to get excited about. The slushbox hindered the car only in the sense of no control over the rpms in cornering………in the straightline of course the auto drop down was just fine. To me, there are few exhaust sounds like a well tuned six in the 230.mine at least. Throaty and substantial.. Though I hear the 280’s were a mite strangled. Having a 250, 2.5 , gave you just a little more git up and go. Throw in my dream gettrag 5 speed…..and whoa Nelly……….you boys at the rest home better hide yer wimmens! :)

        Rust is a huge problem even more so for the Euro delivery cars like mine was. I put a whole new oem leather kit in it. Used to step up into the car , put my back under the hardtop and step out with it on my back! I loved being young…….and dumb. And too cheap to buy the hoist rig!

        When we got tboned at the right front fender, the insurance company declared it a total loss. I’m sure it wasn’t. When I went to look at it in the yard I was shocked by the extent of the rust behind the fender liner and up into the back up the headlight buckets. And I had had the car stripped and repainted in the oem maroon. I guess the body shop figured I wasnt paying them enough to tell me the truth…ahem….

  3. Dan h

    W113’s are great cars. I’ve driven many varieties and have never been let down!
    This one has rust, I would definitely check the left front inner quarter panel. There is a drain tube that is rubber that rots out letting water pool inside causing rust in a very structural area. Not an easy fix on a uni-body car. Don’t ask me how I know this😩

  4. Bruce

    Is that daylight I see in front of the passenger seat in the bottom pic?

    • Bill McCoskey

      Bruce: Take a look at the photos on the eBay page, and your question will be answered. I could tell you that There was some rust in the right front floor, but that would be a lie. To say there was some rust there would require a floor to be present!

      Having repaired W-113 cars in similar condition, I can tell you the PARTS costs to do all the repairs will likely exceed $10,000, perhaps $12K.

      I bought a very rare 280sl in the mid 1980s, I knew it needed rust repairs, but on the way home after buying it, my girlfriend sitting in the right seat, we hit some standing water next to the curb. Suddenly the entire right front floor pan & carpet tried to go flying upwards, with her getting soaked head to toe.

      The car was a rare 280sl, because it didn’t have a hidden soft top. Yep, no soft top at all, only a removable hardtop. Instead of the well for the soft top, the car actually had a full width rear seat, suitable for 2 children. Euro version with 4-speed manual.

      Made the mistake of removing the hardtop for the first time in years, and the passenger door no longer would open! Had to put a bottle jack under the car & raise it a bit so I could latch the top back in place once more!

      I sold the car to a local guy who did a wonderful job restoring it. The current owner brings it out to local antique car events. I’ve been tempted to tell him about how rusted his car was before, but wiser thoughts prevail each time.

  5. Mark-A

    Isn’t that a 911 Targa also on the trailer? Targa’s are supposedly one of the cheapest ways into 911 ownership just now.

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