When it comes to roadsters and coupes, Mercedes Benz does it better than other auto manufacturers. It creates a great mix of luxury and performance in its lineup. Among its old roadsters that made a lasting impression is the Mercedes Benz W 113. This two-seat roadster/coupe made its first public appearance at the 1963 Geneva Motor Show. The SL models came equipped with an inline 6-cylinder engine featuring multi-port fuel injection. They were lighter in weight since they used aluminum for the trunk lid, hood, door skin, and tonneau cover. The W 113 could be best remembered for its superior handling due to its short and wide chassis, good suspension, radial tires, and excellent braking power. It also had a remarkable front-end styling, much like its predecessor, the 300SL (W 198). The W 113 used a set of upright Bosch fishbowl headlights. Its chrome grille had a three-pointed star at the nose panel. W 113 SLs were available as coupe/roadster, with a soft top and a removable hardtop as an option. These paved the way for the Mercedes Benz 280SL, which was launched in 1967 and lasted for a few years. About 24,000 280SLs were manufactured, and more than half were sold in the US.
1967-1971: From the beginning through the final year of the 280SL
The 280 SL was in the market for around four years. Its end in 1971 was marked with the arrival of the R107 350 SL, which replaced the W 113. The W 113 was later transformed from a sports car into a grand tourer as years went by. Its US models came with a 4-speed automatic transmission. Models with manual transmission came with a 4-speed setting and had the ZF 5-speed as an option.
The Mercedes Benz 280SL underwent a series of changes and revisions over the years, taking in a new look and performance level. In 1967, the 280SL used one-piece wheel covers. In 1968, the US models came with a new set of sealed beam headlights. Meanwhile, it received a big change in 1969 in the form of new tail lights that used amber turn signals. For US models, the headlight assembly was designed with full amber lower section. This came with illuminated side markers, better emissions control, and transistorized ignition. Eventually, the ZF 5-speed M/T was dropped as an option. This feature only became available upon request.
There were other revisions made in 1969, including the use of a heater rear window for the hardtop. All models also came equipped with hazard lights. A single master key was used for all the locks in the vehicle. In 1970, several updates were done, including the use of Lichteinheit headlights (optionally with halogen main beam). Fuchs alloy wheels later became an option. The coolant expansion tank was modified to opaque beige plastic from the original satin-black steel. New door locks were also used. The Mercedes Benz 280SL lasted only through 1971.