The 280 SL was introduced in December 1967 and continued in production through 23 February 1971, when the W 113 was replaced by its successor, the entirely new and substantially heavier R 107 350SL. Over the years, the W 113 evolved from a sports car into a comfortable grand tourer, and the US models were by then usually equipped with the 4-speed automatic transmission and air conditioning. Manual transmission models came with the standard 4-speed or the optional ZF 5-speedm which was ordered only 882 times and thus is a highly sought-after original option today. In Europe, manual transmissions without air conditioning were still the prominent choice. Of the 23,885 280 SL’s produced, more than half were sold in the US.
North America models have a number of subtle differences, the most obvious one being the distinctive “sealed beam” bulb headlights required in the US versus the Bosch Lichteinheit headlights for the rest of the world. 1970 US models also acquired amber turn-signal lenses on the rear lights, later than most other countries.
Other differences of the North American models include the imperial gauges, chrome bumperguards, side reflectors (illuminated from 1970), lower rear-axle ratios for faster acceleration yet lower top speeds and no “single-side” parking lights. US market 280 SL engines required emission control modifications, including “softer” valve timings, a reduced compression ratio and a modified injection pump, which reduced power from 170PS (125kW;168 hp) to 160 PS (118kW; 158 hp). In the US, automatic transmission, air conditioning, and white wall tires were much more popular than elsewhere.
European cars were popular as US gray-market imports: those vehicles were brought to the US some years after their original delivery in Europe. Early European imports had aftermarket hazard lights and Kangol seat belts fitted, US safety requirements that were adopted in Europe only in later production years.
Receiving a complete concours level restoration over a 2 year period that consisted of painting the vehicle in DB 903 blue, refreshing the engine and engine bay, reupholstering the interior, repairing the chrome work and overhauling all mechanical components of the vehicle. Accompanying the vehicle is the appropriate documentation as well as the road side repair tool kit. This is the finest 280SL example on the market that is sure to command the highest recognition and awards available.
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