Patina Pagoda: 1964 Mercedes-Benz 230SL

The Mercedes-Benz W113 “Pagoda” is a desirable entry into classic Mercedes top-down ownership and still represents a mild bargain compared to other drop-tops from the brand with the three-pointed star. The 300SL is obviously in another universe at this point, with the once unloved 190SL far pricier than it used to be. Clean or restored W113s will command a hefty price tag, but projects like this one are still attainable – with a hefty restoration bill, of course. What’s even more intriguing about this example listed here on eBay is that it appears to be a genuine gray market car with lots of tell-tale signs still present. The current bid is $10,200 with no reserve.

The seller of this Mercedes either has a knack for finding classics languishing in a collection or is connected to the estate of one long-time collector who seemingly had a little bit of everything. We’ve featured this seller multiple times before, always with a desirable barn find car up for grabs, all of them in about the same condition (on occasion, a little better) as this Mercedes. Looking right now, he has multiple vintage motorcycles for sale, and we’ve featured old VW Beetles, Porsche 356s, and more from this account in the past. All of the vehicles seemingly come from a “collection” of long-forgotten project cars like this Mercedes 230SL.

A few ways to deduct that this may be a genuine European market car: the headlights are the most obvious giveaway, but smaller clues reside in the cabin where we see there are no headrests (some experts claim U.S. safety regulations required them) and the close-up photos reveal a speedometer that measures out in kilometers, perhaps the most obvious indicator. The good news is the European headlights are still intact, as those cost a pretty penny to replace; the bad news is that those are likely one of the few items you won’t be replacing. The inner fenders and door jambs reveal multiple layers of paint, with no clear indication as to what the original shade was. The door panels and seats are in tatters, as are the carpets and top.

The seller includes loads of detailed images that show a very tired car with plenty of rust and other cosmetic ailments. It’s a non-runner, and it doesn’t sound like the seller has had any success getting it to fire up or over confirm whether the engine turns freely. The good news is it looks largely complete, and whatever the plans were for restoration never got too far off the ground. The underhood paintwork shows more signs of a light blue paint job poking through, which is evident in the door jambs as well – perhaps that was the original shade? Overall, these are timeless cars that are well worthy of restoration but still just affordable enough that you could potentially justify the initial purchase price plus the cost to restore.

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Comments

  1. Pat

    Headrests, not required until 68 or 69 in the US.

    Like 5
  2. Arby

    Data plate indicates this was originally an 050 white car with white hardtop.

    It could potentially be a $100,000 car with about $200,000 worth of work…

    Like 17
    • stu

      Arby,
      Sounds like a great investment..I’m gonna bid on this…

      Like 1
  3. Alan Robbins

    These things are really fun to drive, but I just don’t see how you could restore this example and not be frighteningly upside down given the exorbitant cost of parts.

    Like 7
  4. MATTHEW GRANT

    restoring this car will yield a car not worth the investment. you would have to be nuts to buy it.

    Like 4
  5. Daniel Gavin

    forgetaboutit !!!!!!

    Like 3
  6. princeofprussia

    Looks like it had been abandoned in the woods 40 years ago. Unfortunately, it’s junk.

    Like 2
  7. Bruce

    I have worked on a couple of these and they are hellish when the body needs fixing. Parts are expensive if you can get them. They are difficult to remove the rusted areas and put in patch panels. The interiors are not that bad as are the mechanical bits. In fact I would say that those are relatively easy but the body is a horror of rust pockets.

    There is enough to save but you are looking at a year long restoration and the only way to do it properly is to put is on a rotating jig. The paint of the time was part of the problem as it was nothing like what we have today. When finished or new these were elegant, great for cross country trips or to the posh areas of town. Today they sill turn heads as design simplicity is becoming a rare commodity in the auto world. This car looks like it could sweat money when finished right.

    Like 5
  8. Steve Clinton

    Utter garbage. And that’s not ‘patina’ (the newest overused term), it’s RUST!

    Like 4
  9. Bill McCoskey

    My shop has repaired several of these rust-buckets, and I can say with certainty that what ever rust you see on the topside, will be 10-fold on the underside.

    PARTS CAR.

    Like 6
  10. Blitz

    This should have been crushed long ago.

    Like 2
    • stu

      Ok Mack…back it up in the trash compactor….all ready to go…

  11. gaspumpchas

    One of the guys gave us some sage wisdom: There is nothing more expensive than a cheap mercedes. Stay safe and good luck.
    Cheers
    GPC

    Like 2
  12. Stan Marks

    rip!!!

  13. Dan Gavin

    who in their right mind would be willing to but this for 10 grand?!!!!!

    Like 1

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