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Project Pagoda: 1967 Mercedes-Benz 230 SL

Just when you thought it was near impossible to find a cheap project, along comes this 1967 Mercedes-Benz 230SL Pagoda for the very reasonable price of $12,000 or best offer. Now, this car needs everything, but it’s at least a worthwhile effort to restore a vehicle that is some actual value in the collector car marketplace. While some of you may thing it’s a bridge too far, I’d rather work on this for 5 years than spend the same amount of money now on some six-figure restomod – but everyone’s priorities are different. Check out this 230SL here on eBay and thanks to Barn Finds reader Ian for the find. 

So, hopefully some of you weren’t offended by the restomod comment. Let me explain: this is top of mind for me this week as the recent results at Barrett-Jackson showed that bidders were entirely comfortable spending big money on trucks like K5 Blazers retrofitted with modern running gear (I’m thinking of one in particular that went for $400,000). However, I truly wonder if that truck will still be worth that much in 2o years, or will it slowly become just a used vehicle like any other late model car or truck – since that’s essentially what it has become.

The Pagoda shown here has not been re-imagined by a modern builder to this point, and certainly not at any meaningful scale. Therefore, it is still a limited-production product that delivers a very specific type of driving experience. While some of you may turn your nose up at the many years involved in fixing this 230SL back into running condition, I believe it will be worth it in the end when a car like this continues to rise in price because of one very important detail: scarcity. That, my friends, is one of the ultimate determinants of value.

This 230SL will need floors, extensive bodywork, and a complete drivetrain sourced and installed. But at the end of the process, if you have a beautiful European roadster that only gets harder and harder to find, I doubt you’ll lose a dime on it. The seller notes that the Mercedes is equipped with another very special feature, as it’s one of the few Pagodas to come with a manual gearbox, which makes this one an even smarter investment than originally thought. If given a six-figure budget, are you restoring a classic car or buying a “new” restomod?

Comments

  1. 8banger 8banger Member

    Well the wifey and yo have an ’83 380SL stashed in the garage and we unleash it in the summer to blast up to the Rockies here in sunny Colorado. It’s definitely not as rare as this one (but we did convert it to a double-roller timing chain system) but it is classy, very fast and ticks the “unique driving experience” box.

    Like 1
  2. Bruce

    I love the looks of these cars but I can think of no bigger money pit than one of these. The rust in these is legendary and the general design does not help as there are a number of rust traps designed into the body and frame. What makes it worse is that the materials for paint and rust prevention were not to modern standards. So you end up with a shell that will need to be totally rebuilt using the MB priced parts and sheet metal. You can improve the rust protection and paint but the general design problem remains.

    Now these are wonderful cars for cross country trips or even down to the ice cream store on a summer moon lite evening but as a sports car not so much especially the smaller engined car like this one. Can this one be saved, YES. But you had better have a very big wallet, a kindly parts manager at your local dealership before you even start. And expect that more than once you will question your sanity. Do not worry all your friends will be doing that for you before you even start. They will be putting bets on how bad the stroke will be, before you finish. Sorry if I seem to be too evil but I have worked on two of these when I was with a restoration shop and Ferrari’s Jag’s and Porsches were easier to deal with.

    Like 5
  3. geoff a

    Would rather have the BMW in the back round 2800 or 3.0 but Rust is the issue with these as well. Hope the next owner for either one has very deep pockets

    Like 1
    • geoff a

      so looked at other listings and there it was a rusted out 2800 CS that they want 7500.00 dream on. I would give 750.00 maybe .

      Like 0
  4. Tin Box

    Having restored two of these this is a hard pass! If it was free (with what’s left on it it should be) and you did all the work yourself you’d still be miles underwater. The parts costs are horrific, and the interior trim is very difficult to find / restore. There’s a reason everything has been plundered off this rusty pos already.

    Like 7
  5. Russ Ashley

    In the sixties my co-worker friend had one of these. I think his was a 64 or 65. It was silver and the hard top was dark blue, and it was perfect. I thought it was about the best looking car on the road at the time, but it was troublesome. He was single, living in an apartment, so only had one car. It was in the shop often, and not too long after a stay in the shop it developed a burned valve. Our job required that we had a car and he was so disgusted with it that he sold it to the shop owner for $2700 rather than spend more money on it. I’m not sure what $2.7K would equal now but I still think of that when I see one of these. And BTW, I don’t see any way to break even on this car with what all it needs, but GLWTS.

    Like 1
  6. BeeUU

    Put it back into the sea.

    Like 3
  7. BIMMERBILL

    I thought about leaving a comment but decided that this car is not worth leaving a comment for.
    Bill

    Like 5
  8. Claudio

    The only way to save this one is to hot rod it , i will not suggest any engine choice cause it will trigger many comments..

    Like 2
  9. Rich Blank

    My dad’s two favorite past cars were this and a ’67 Mustang. I’d love to Coyote swap this one and give it to him! If only I had the time, money and skills…

    Like 0
  10. Frank Sumatra

    Ship it to the Mercedes-Benz Classic Restoration Service shop along with $1,500,000 and in two years they will return a nice car.

    Like 2
    • Mountainwoodie

      Don’t know if it would cost that much …..lol…….but based on my experience in 1980 when I bought a Euro ’67 230SL and replaced the hides on the seats and painted it….a beautiful car which I really enjoyed……..it wouldn’t make a lot of sense to restore….except they aren’t making any more of them. But the ask?Meh…..

      Like 1
  11. justpaul

    It’s a shame to have to say it, but pics 9-13 in the Ebay listing are the doom of this one. Even if you have the money to replace pretty much the entire lower half of this car, you’re going to need to cut a deal to do that work in the seller’s driveway where it sits. Even on a trailer, this thing is going to shake itself to pieces going down the road.

    What swamp did this guy find this thing parked in?

    Like 0
  12. Rick

    You better have deep deep real deep pockets to put this pile of junk back together.

    Like 0

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