The Silverstone Classic Sale 2017

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1967 Mercedes-Benz 250SL 'California Coupé'

Lot No.: 447

Registration: XMB 824E
Chassis Number: 1130432202441
Engine Number: 12998222000880
CC: 2496
Year of Manufacture: 1967
Estimate (£): 50,000 - 60,000
(+buyer’s premium of 15% including VAT @ 20%)

Launched in 1963 to replace the underpowered 190SL and utilising some of the new manufacturing techniques being pioneered in the latest 'S' Class, the Paul Bracq designed 230SL was proudly unveiled to an appreciative audience at the Geneva Motor Show. Remaining in production until 1971 with around 49,000 finding homes, the W113 Class, frequently referred to as the "Pagoda", eventually spanned three engine sizes.

The same show, four years later in 1967, coincidentally saw the introduction of the W113-250SL. The new car retained the stiffer suspension and sporty feel of the earlier cars, but provided improved agility with its larger(2.5Ltr.) engine and was now fitted with rear disc brakes and a larger tank. The new car was offered with a 4-speed Automatic transmission or a 4 or 5-speed ZF gearbox.  Replaced in January 1968 by the 280SL, its one-year production run makes the 250SL the rarest of the W113 series. 

Even rarer still was the 250SL 'California Coupé' in which the folded soft top was removed and the space utilised for a fold down rear bench making the car effectively a 2+2. The hardtop was redesigned to provide more headroom and a window for rear seat passengers. The fact that if you left the hard top off, you became reliant on the weather remaining fair, meant that the majority of these coupés were sold, not surprisingly, in California. The 250SL did not sell in huge numbers during its 12 month period on the US market and as less than 10% of these were California Coupés, it follows that they were very rare in-period and particularly sought-after now.

This, right-hand drive, 250 SL California Coupe is a truly fine example of its type and is finished in Tunis Beige Metallic and trimmed in black.  ‘XMB 824E’ remained in the same family ownership for 35 years after which our vendor has looked after and dry stored the car, in his significant private collection, for the past three years. The car has also been treated to a major restoration of notably high quality in recent years. We’re informed this included a complete repaint during which all the brightwork was removed and either re-chromed or replaced. The interior was completely refurbished with new leather seats and carpets to the original specification, while the woodwork was restored by Chapman & Cliff in Nantwich, formerly of Rolls-Royce. 

The California Coupé also benefited from a top-end engine overhaul with all new valves and guides and the engine bay was refurbished while the unit was out. The car was serviced at the same time. Its factory-fitted extras include automatic transmission, power-assisted steering, 'Sundym' tinted glass all-around (a notably rare option) and a Motorola push-button radio. 

This pretty little Mercedes presents delightfully, and in common with every other 'Pagoda' regardless of engine size, is a timeless, blue-chip, classless 'Classic' and being an ultra-rare, right-hand drive California merits serious consideration.