Mercedes-Benz 230 SL

The Mercedes-Benz 230 SL was the world’s first sports car with a sturdy passenger cell and crumple zones. Its outstanding feature is the extremely sturdy, concave shape of the removable hardtop. Popularly, the 230 SL was soon referred to only as the Pagoda – its hardtop reminded people of the roof shape of the Asian temples of the same name.

When the new 230SL first hit showrooms, it slotted neatly between the outgoing 190SL and 300SL. Although the crisp shape was fresh, the grille showed a clear family connection. The fuel-injected 2.3-litre overhead camshaft inline six was rated at 170 SAE horsepower and drove the rear wheels through either a four-speed manual or three-speed automatic transmission, with independent suspension fitted all around.

When it came to performance and comfort, the new SL was a perfect compromise between the 190 and the 300. More powerful than the 190, the 230SL was capable of covering long distances at high speeds with little driver fatigue. A properly maintained example can also accumulate huge mileage without rebuild.

Part of the RM Auctions in London in October, 2012.

120 bhp, 1,897 cc overhead camshaft inline four-cylinder engine, four-speed manual transmission, independent front suspension with coil springs, swing axle rear suspension with coil springs, and four-wheel hydraulic drum brakes. Wheelbase: 94.5 in.

Source: RM Auctions, Mercedes Benz
Photo Credit: Simon Clay

Gallery: Mercedes-Benz 230 SL