How do you unite refined power delivery and compelling elegance? The engineers at Mercedes-Benz found the answer in 1963, redefining the parameters of dynamic driving pleasure by combining high performance with comfort and optimum active safety. Mercedes-Benz presented the 230 SL sports car (W 113) at the Geneva Motor Show in 1963. This new SL with its clean, distinctive lines superseded the 190 SL and 300 SL Roadster with immediate effect. The Mercedes star sat resplendent at the centre of the SL face, the slightly domed bonnet offering a little extra room for the upright 150 hp (110 kW) 6-cylinder engine.
With a rigid passenger cell and crumple zones derived from the “fintail” saloon (W 111), the body guaranteed optimum safety. The 230 SL was available in three versions: a roadster with user-friendly folding soft top; a thoroughbred hardtop coupé without soft top; and a combination of these variants, available with soft top and hardtop.
With its slightly concave hardtop reminiscent of an oriental temple, the 230 SL soon acquired the nickname “Pagoda”. The sobriquet also passed to the outwardly identical successor models, the 250 SL and 280 SL.
The 230 SL was impressive proof of the fact that sportiness and comfort were not necessarily mutually exclusive: while some celebrated the victory in the gruelling Spa-Sofia-Liège long-distance rally, others delighted in the optional automatic transmission available for the first time in an SL.