MERCEDES-BENZ 280 SL - 1968
SL series was introduced in 1963 at the Geneva auto show as the 230 SL, based on the 220
SE sedan. At the end of 1966 a bigger engine was fitted, making it the 250 SL, which was
the more modern unit from the 250 S sedan. For model year 1968 the engine was once again
enlarged, thus creating the 280 SL model. The 280 SL was built till 1971, when it was
replaced by the new 350 SL model. Since then the SL-series transformed from sporty and
elegant to big and luxurious and lost most of its youthful appeal.
characteristic about the SL hardtop was its "hanging" style roof: the middle
surface was lower than the edges over the doors. Because of the looks of the hardtop,
especially from behind, this SL-series was called the "pagoda" model.
The car was designed by Paul Bracq with a lot of attention to detail. Only 23,885 cars were built with the 2.8 litre engine. The 230 SL sold 19,831 times and the 250 SL is the rarest with just 5,186 cars produced.
Regular Mercedes customers were reluctant to buy the car; it was too small to be impressive and too slow to be a sportscar. At that time the styling was not appreciated, it looked too much like a scaled down version of the saloon car models. These days that opinion has changed, it is considered as one of the first examples of modern corporate styling which is now very common.
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