Pagoda SL Group

W113 Pagoda SL Group => General Discussion => Topic started by: sammyr on April 02, 2008, 23:08:20

Title: 230 vs 250 vs 280sl
Post by: sammyr on April 02, 2008, 23:08:20
What would you prefer and why?
Title: Re: 230 vs 250 vs 280sl
Post by: Richard Madison on April 03, 2008, 03:56:16
Most replies will reflect the preference for the car owned by the person replying. We always like to justify our own choice.

But like to think I have reasonable and rational reasons for my preference. Keep in mind I'm not a motorhead so the mechanical differences aren't too important to me.

My car is a 280SL and my previous car was a 280SL. I prefer the 280SL because 280's are younger cars and have the benefit of all the production changes over the years.

Just to name a few: the fuel injector on the earlier cars has a dip stick and an oil port. This was eliminated on the 280. Also the ignition on some later cars is electronic. The seat shape and carpeting were improved (my word) in the later cars; trunk light installed, better markings for dash switches, one piece hub caps.  

These are not really significant and my friends who drive a 230SL all love their cars to the max.

The differnces are not so great that one would reject a car simply because its a 230SL. They're all beauties and wonderful cars.

Richard M, NYC 1960 280SL

Title: Re: 230 vs 250 vs 280sl
Post by: mdsalemi on April 03, 2008, 07:27:53
Let me add the following to Richard's otherwise astute and spot-on assessment:

 
Michael Salemi
1969 280SL
Signal Red 568G w/Black Leather (Restored)
President, International Stars Section
Mercedes-Benz Club of America
Title: Re: 230 vs 250 vs 280sl
Post by: Ben C. on April 03, 2008, 09:43:24
Let me just add my observations from owning a 230SL and a 280SE W111. The 230SL is a little short on torque so if you desire an automatic car I would choose the 280SL. The 230SL engine is a little noisier and feels a little more "cammy" so it feels quite sporty with a manual transmission, quite different in character in my opinion.

Other than that its as Michael and Richard state, although I actually prefer the more dainty fixtures on the early car, the door locks, sun visor hinges etc....

Regards,
Ben in Ireland.
'64 230SL 4sp.
'68 280SE Coupe W111
Title: Re: 230 vs 250 vs 280sl
Post by: Douglas on April 03, 2008, 10:23:28
Sammy,

As a dealer, you may want to stick to the 280 SL, as you have in the past. I think you'll find there's a larger market for the later cars, particularly if they're equipped with automatic and a/c.



Douglas Kim
New York
USA
Title: Re: 230 vs 250 vs 280sl
Post by: J. Huber on April 03, 2008, 11:51:29
Tssk, tssk. Well, had to get a pro-230 in here somewhere...

of course, Richard is correct, most of us tend to believe the one we have is the preferred model. I also agree with Douglas and Mike that there seems to be a premium for the later models and parts are more readily available...

But here it comes. Personally, I like having an early Euro car. I think they most purely represent the new breed of SLs. (whatever that means...) I like the more plentiful brightwork and and the crisper dash lines. Again, personal preference based mostly on experience -- but I also like having no power steering and no A/C. More car, less stuff. This and the Euro cam with a 3.75 rear-end make mine the best  :D ...


PS -- the money you save not having to work around the A/C generally pays for the higher cost of parts...


James
63 230SL
Title: Re: 230 vs 250 vs 280sl
Post by: Mike on April 03, 2008, 17:03:48
I agree with all that has been said.  For me, I chose a 230 for two simple reasons: (1) more bang for the buck and (2) I think the trim and appointments on the 230 are a little more elegant than those on the 280.  If I buy another, it will likely be a 280, just for the sake of a different experience.  And next time I'd choose an automatic, since the first time around I did not even consider anything but a manual, mainly because I (incorrectly) thought that the automatic was substandard, so to speak.

Mike
Title: Re: 230 vs 250 vs 280sl
Post by: Garry on April 03, 2008, 19:31:38
I have some difficulty with the use of "automatic" and "A/C" being used in conjunction with "sports car" Maybe a DSG type automated gear changing but automatic... Love to know what percentage of 'automatics' were sold in USA as compared to the rest of the world.

Garry Marks
Australia
69 280SL Manual
02 320ML
05 A200
Title: Re: 230 vs 250 vs 280sl
Post by: dwilli3038 on April 04, 2008, 03:17:43
It realy depends on what you want. Owning a 230 4 speed and having driven a 280 4speed, a 280 automatic, My first preferance would not be for the model but rather the transmission. I would prefer a 5 speed! After that a 4 speed. To mee automatic and sports cars do not belong together....but I respect my friends opinions who prefer the automatic. After that the condition of the car and its drive train is most likely far more important than the model. A newer car with lots of rust will be far more expensive to restore than an older one that is well preserved.

Daryl
'64 230 SL Buckeye Benz Scarlet interior and Grey top Serial # 508
'77 280SE
Title: Re: 230 vs 250 vs 280sl
Post by: mdsalemi on April 04, 2008, 07:22:37
There's that "sports car" thing again!  While subject to opinion and debate of course--it may be a 2 seater like most sports cars, and may be a drop-top like most sports cars, but it is more accurately described as a touring car.  My own opinion is that it simply didn't or doesn't have the same characteristics as other cars of the period that are called sports cars without debate--MG-B, Austin Healy, Porsche 356/911, Aston-Martin DB5, Jaguar E-Type, etc.  Personally I think its main defining characteristic is unparalleled beauty in a package that does nothing exceedingly well, (acceleration, handling, braking) but simply does it all right and appropriately for what it is.  One thing it does exceedingly well is carry two people in class, style and elegance not found in many cars.  It is, in my opinion, moving, beautiful, sculpture.

For those newcomers that that have not heard this before, I was in a circle of 10 Collectible post-1955 sports cars at the Meadowbrook Concours in 2006.  Last big block Corvette, pristine E-Type, very rare BMW 507, perfect Daimler 250, rare Porsche Carrera, etc.  All of these cars were probably well over $200K in value, and all show-queens.  Which car did EVERYONE stop and have their picture taken in front of?  The Pagoda.  It was astounding, and annoying to the other owners!!  As I said, unparalleled beauty.  Some of those other cars won prizes and were fawned upon by the judges--but not by the people.  The people preferred the Pagoda.  Also, when I go to the finest restaurant here in Michigan, when I drive my Pagoda up to the valet at the front door, they will and have pushed away new 7-series, new Ferraris, new SL-class, new Bentleys, etc. to leave the Pagoda proudly in front.  When the car gets that kind of reaction, combined with the reaction it gets at Concours, who the heck cares about that extra 500 RPM at highway speed, or whether or not a Porsche will outperform it?  Not me!

For those that insist on shifting, the automatic provides you the ability to do this albeit without the need to move your left foot. ;)

Michael Salemi
1969 280SL
Signal Red 568G w/Black Leather (Restored)
President, International Stars Section
Mercedes-Benz Club of America
Title: Re: 230 vs 250 vs 280sl
Post by: TheEngineer on April 04, 2008, 12:44:31
I had a dark blue 230SL with 4-speed when I was younger and now have a red 280SL with automatic. Mike Salemi is right: I bought these cars because they look so nice and drive just fine. I also had a Jaguar roadster, so I know the difference. The Mercedes suits me just fine: It drives like I like to drive and has plenty of power for me. I did install a 3.27 rear axle. It makes a much nicer driving car on the freeways. I was unhappy with the automatic because the up-shift 2-3 was rough. It shifts very nice now. So, what would be my choice? I'd look at the overall condition of the vehicle. Rust is a no-no. But if I had to choose between two brand new vehicles, I'd take the 280SL with automatic and AC. I like the power steering and the all-around disk brakes. The seats are softer too. Well - I'm spoiled. Oh - while we are at it: I'd recommend a s/s exhaust system. On my 230SL I had the factory exhaust and it rusted out in 30,000 miles. It's impossible to take apart after a few years. The stainless system I have now still comes apart fairly easily and shows no signs of corrosion, just soot.
(http://www.sl113.org/forums/uploaded/theengineer/20084415200_Peter.JPG)
'69 280SL,Signal Red,Automatic,retired engineer, West-Seattle,WA (http://www.sl113.org/forums/uploaded/theengineer/2007118132030_SmallStar.gif)
Title: Re: 230 vs 250 vs 280sl
Post by: psmith on April 04, 2008, 14:06:37
Michael,

Very well put!  It reminds me of what someone said about sailboats: "they may not be a fast as a power boat, but what an elegant way to go"

Somewhere on the main page there should be a section called "Why a Pagoda" with your response underneath.

Pete S.
Title: Re: 230 vs 250 vs 280sl
Post by: Mike Hughes on April 04, 2008, 14:20:41
quote:
Originally posted by mdsalemi
Also, when I go to the finest restaurant here in Michigan, when I drive my Pagoda up to the valet at the front door, they will and have pushed away new 7-series, new Ferraris, new SL-class, new Bentleys, etc. to leave the Pagoda proudly in front.  When the car gets that kind of reaction, combined with the reaction it gets at Concours, who the heck cares about that extra 500 RPM at highway speed, or whether or not a Porsche will outperform it?  Not me!


Each day this week my wife has been attending an all-day business training course at a nearby hotel.  I have dropped her off at the main entrance each morning at o'dark-thirty.  Each morning that I have driven her in our 300D the door men have just stood there as she alighted.  Yesterday morning I drove her in the 230SL instead.  Three door men rushed to the car.  One opened the door, one took her tote-bag of notebooks, the third one handed her out of the car!  Queen for a day!

- Mike Hughes  -ô¿ô-
  1966 230SL Auto P/S
  Havanna Brown (408)
  Light Beige (181)
  Cream M-B Tex (121)

Title: Re: 230 vs 250 vs 280sl
Post by: mdsalemi on April 04, 2008, 15:02:03
Ah, Mr. Hughes...you AND your wife know precisely what I mean...

Michael Salemi
1969 280SL
Signal Red 568G w/Black Leather (Restored)
President, International Stars Section
Mercedes-Benz Club of America
Title: Re: 230 vs 250 vs 280sl
Post by: Richard Madison on April 04, 2008, 18:20:30
Just a quick confirmation of Mike's point about elegance and beauty.

Drove up to the Water's Edge, a toney Manhattan restaurant along the East River...has customer parking in the rear.

When I got out of the 280 SL, the Parking Attendant came over and asked, "Will it be OK if we leave your car parked in front of the restaurant?

"Sure", I said, "Why do you want it here?"

"It's a beauty and it will make the place look classy."

Richard M, NYC
Title: Re: 230 vs 250 vs 280sl
Post by: dwilli3038 on April 04, 2008, 19:09:11
These cars are awsome and do draw a lot of comments. Even sans windsheild, bumpers, grill and trim on the way to the paint shop, I received a lot of positive attention.

Call me evil, BUT next year I am driving it to the BMW dealer to participate in the drive for the cure! Let thos folks see the beauty of a Pogoda compared to a Z4

Daryl
'64 230 SL Buckeye Benz Scarlet interior and Grey top Serial # 508
'77 280SE
Title: Re: 230 vs 250 vs 280sl
Post by: glennard on April 05, 2008, 07:48:42
Is that hood ornament factory or NAPA?



quote:
Originally posted by theengineer

I had a dark blue 230SL with 4-speed when I was younger and now have a red 280SL with automatic. Mike Salemi is right: I bought these cars because they look so nice and drive just fine. I also had a Jaguar roadster, so I know the difference. The Mercedes suits me just fine: It drives like I like to drive and has plenty of power for me. I did install a 3.27 rear axle. It makes a much nicer driving car on the freeways. I was unhappy with the automatic because the up-shift 2-3 was rough. It shifts very nice now. So, what would be my choice? I'd look at the overall condition of the vehicle. Rust is a no-no. But if I had to choose between two brand new vehicles, I'd take the 280SL with automatic and AC. I like the power steering and the all-around disk brakes. The seats are softer too. Well - I'm spoiled. Oh - while we are at it: I'd recommend a s/s exhaust system. On my 230SL I had the factory exhaust and it rusted out in 30,000 miles. It's impossible to take apart after a few years. The stainless system I have now still comes apart fairly easily and shows no signs of corrosion, just soot.
(http://www.sl113.org/forums/uploaded/theengineer/20084415200_Peter.JPG)
'69 280SL,Signal Red,Automatic,retired engineer, West-Seattle,WA (http://www.sl113.org/forums/uploaded/theengineer/2007118132030_SmallStar.gif)


Title: Re: 230 vs 250 vs 280sl
Post by: mdsalemi on April 05, 2008, 08:08:41
Glenn, Pete, and others.

I too, was [visually] disturbed by the hood ornament, not only as a disturbance but also because of Pete's advanced age [which HE is always joking about] having a "DEAD END" sign was completely inappropriate.  Therefore I present the revised version.

(http://www.sl113.org/forums/uploaded/mdsalemi/20084510427_20084415200_Peter.jpg)


Michael Salemi
1969 280SL
Signal Red 568G w/Black Leather (Restored)
President, International Stars Section
Mercedes-Benz Club of America
Title: Re: 230 vs 250 vs 280sl
Post by: TheEngineer on April 05, 2008, 17:51:30
Mike: This is wonderful! I actually never noticed the "hood ornament". Now - I don't like the face of the driver at all. Can you change that to make me younger & better looking? And maybe 20 pounds less? Don't change the car - it's alright.
Title: Re: 230 vs 250 vs 280sl
Post by: mdsalemi on April 05, 2008, 18:13:13
quote:
Originally posted by theengineer

Mike: This is wonderful! I actually never noticed the "hood ornament". Now - I don't like the face of the driver at all. Can you change that to make me younger & better looking? And maybe 20 pounds less? Don't change the car - it's alright.



Actually and seriously Pete, I believe I can!  Email me the high res version off line and I'll give it a go--seriously.  I have the manual!

Note: The FIRST thing I saw in that photo was DEAD END.

Michael Salemi
1969 280SL
Signal Red 568G w/Black Leather (Restored)
President, International Stars Section
Mercedes-Benz Club of America
Title: Re: 230 vs 250 vs 280sl
Post by: 66andBlue on April 05, 2008, 22:56:52
I do hope that Jonny B is reading this topic.
It would make a nice Pagoda Group Newsletter, save you a lot of time and most importantly put a smile on every readers face!  :)
Just reprint it in toto, but at least Mike Salemi's "Ode to Joy" - I mean ".. to Pagodas".

Alfred
1966 blue 230SL automatic
Title: Re: 230 vs 250 vs 280sl
Post by: Longtooth on April 06, 2008, 01:43:55
Gee... why are the choices only limited to a 230SL or 280SL? In point of fact there's the venerable early & late 250SL's which reflect in verying degrees combinations of both.  

There are for example, several features of the 280SL I don't like at all --- one piece wheels, for example.. a cost reduction item taken from the sedan's.  The US DOT safety items for US export models forced the entire 280SL series to make the accomodating changes to several features ---- interior rear view mirror no longer chromed... no more visor mirror on the passenger side, modifications to the door handles, locks, and window cranks toned down and modified, hardtop handles now stored away instead of remaining with the hard-top, are just some of these changes.  

I also don't like the sagging type door pocket on the 280SL's.... nor the all black heater/air control's --- no longer blue, red, clear ones which light up nicely when lights are on (if you've paid attention to the light bulbs inside the control unit).  Of course, I also quite prefer the E-type's original toggle switches in the models before the '68's changed them ---- same reason as the 280SL... US Dot rules changed.... covered head light openings, and a host of other cosmetic items that were modified to the detriment of the E-type, imo, in '68 and even more-so beyond '68... of course I prefer the synchro in 1st gear, better seats, & deeper footwells in the later models but preceeding '68's.    

I also don't like the side-light's on the later 250SL's and 280SL's which imo,take away from the clean lines ... interupting the visual appeal, and which feature was another of the US DOT safety related changes required.... though Italien export models required side reflectors much earlier... in '66 at least, if not even earlier ... so the Italian importers / dealers had to install the gov't mandated form --- little round ones a'la Fiat's in fact. ... unlit reflectors.

I hate the bumper guards, which were another of the '68 model year mandated US DOT requirements... not required on the '67 model year cars... nor incorporated into the 250SL's until late in the '67 build.  I hated them when they were introduced due to the DOT rules in '68 and I hate them now, and if they were something of beauty then they would have endured thru time... but as we all know the public (US & of course Europe's) hated them, & the automobile industry found other ways eventually to meet the DOT rules without these awful looking 'bumper' guards.    

The early '67 250SL's incorporated the trunk lights, kept most of or all of the interior cosmetic items that were in the 230SL's, had no sidelights, but made all the major changes in the suspensions and engine compartment, & drive-train that modernized the driving performance and reliability found in the 250SL and 280SL's.  Beginning July 12,'67 many of the US Dot changes were incorporated into the 250SL (which were the same as the 280SL's later), and toward the end of the year all the cosmetic changes and other interior features found in the 280SL were incorporated in the 250SL's... except the engine itself.  

The 250SL engine was a complete modification of the 230SL's... which didn't add to the hp, but increased the torque slightly...while dramatically improving the high speed reliability.... a factor not quite necessary in the US where speed limits limited long duration high speed's to about 80 - 85 mph ... certainly under 90, 99.999% of the time.  The 280SL's displacement was required to achieve the competetively demanded higher hp, but nearly all of this added displacement and hp was for US export models of no added value due to the added smog requirements placed on the US models.... which robbed most of the added displacement's advantage for US export models.... not so for the European models as the smog requirements weren't required.  The '67 250SL's didn't have those smog requirements, so the entire model year didn't have to incorporate them... unlike the '68 model year requirements... hence the 280SL engine displacement was to satisfy the increasing revenue from the US export market for Mercedes while also satisfying the European demand for more hp in the competetive market.  Net hp at the rear wheels was not that much improved over the 250SL in US export models... improved, but not by the proportion of difference in displacement due to the mandated added smog requirements.

There were many, many other mechanical component design changes that ensued in '65, '66 230SL's and which became standard beyond those years in the 250SL and 280SL series... and many more which began with the 250SL (all around disks, for just one difference) remained constant thru the 280SL series.  So... most of the learning done on the 230SL's over the years were modified accordingly by design and introduced into the 250SL... and didn't change with the 280SL.

The 250SL was a transition model year... where-in almost all the mechanical changes were made in the very start of the 250SL's and that were used in the 280SL's... and the cosmetic & DOT required changes were introduced over the course of the 250SL's production in phases after July 12,'67 mfg'ing dates beginning with chassis #2980.

So why is the question limited to the choice of 230SL and 280SL only? Seems like there's a considerable lack of appreciation for the features of the 250SL that in fact have most of the best features of the 230SL, and incorporated most if not all the mechanical changes that went into the later 280SL's, except the engine itself... and left out all the ugly DOT safety mandated requirements that applied to the '68 model year US imports.

If I offended those who really like bumper guards, one piece wheel covers, sagging side pockets, black interior mirrors, black heater control wheels, side marker lights, etc. please don't take it personally... I only intend to illustrate the differences that matter to me.... and why I find the 250SL to be the best of both worlds... my rationalizations.
 
BTW, all the brightwork changes that made there way into the later '67 250SL's and all 280SL's were due to US DOT safety mandated rules for '68 model years for reflections... and of course these were also cost reductions for Mercedes (chrome plating being relatively more expensive on the items that were formerly brightwork). All of the other interior cosmetic changes made in the 280SL were for cost reduction reasons.... the black heater control wheels for example.... which also improved their long term reliability since the prior ones (colored plastic) were prone to have the little handle break off... and replacement of one of these wheels was an expensive labor proposition (passed on of course to the consumer if they broke after the warrenty period ... and none broke (nearly none) prior to that).... sagging door pockets for another example.

The above reasons (all) are why I hate to see the early (pre July 07'67) 250SL's mfg'ing dated chassis bite the dust.  There were only
2979 of these 250SL's made in total prior to introduction of the several mandated US DOT requirements (which went into all production SL's)... out of a total of 5196 250SL's... of which US Export's were only 1761, or ~33%.  If that proportion is also true for the pre DOT changed 250SL's (starting with chassis # 2980) on July 12, then there were only 1009 of these 250SL's exported to US... no more than 20% of all 250SL's produced. ...and of all models (230SL's, 250SL's and 280SL's) the pre-2980 Chassis number 250SL's represent only 6% of all W113's built (48,882 total W113's produced).

That 6% of W113's production represents imo, the best of both breeds in one car.

Longtooth
67 250SL US #113-043-10-002163
'02 SL500 Sport
Title: Re: 230 vs 250 vs 280sl
Post by: glennard on April 06, 2008, 07:26:16
T. E.,  Much better!   A 1970 Pagoda?  Get one of your 'face' pictures from 1970 and paste it in.  70 car and a 70 face.  Good time travel.





quote:
Originally posted by theengineer

Mike: This is wonderful! I actually never noticed the "hood ornament". Now - I don't like the face of the driver at all. Can you change that to make me younger & better looking? And maybe 20 pounds less? Don't change the car - it's alright.

Title: Re: 230 vs 250 vs 280sl
Post by: Ricardo on April 06, 2008, 07:33:40
Hear Hear...eloquently put, if a little long winded...
Perhaps a declaration of "best of the best" should follow all postings by owners of early 250's.... :D

Ricardo
'67 250sl #1854
Best of the Best!
Title: Re: 230 vs 250 vs 280sl
Post by: mdsalemi on April 06, 2008, 07:34:23
Well, Longtooth--you know there are opinions all over the board.

Personally, I prefer the bumper guards as that was what my car has and was delivered with.  I realize they may offer little protection, but without them, you have one very expensive piece of decorative chrome, without a whit of cushion, being the recipient of anything your car plows into or backs into (or gets from surrounding drivers!)  The guards are certainly no 5 MPH bumpers but they do offer a bit of protection albeit at a cost that visually disturbs some people.  Look at what either a repair/rechrome or replace costs.  I wouldn't take mine off for anything.

I like the amber tail lamps.  Today, a good deal of drivers on the road were not even BORN when amber directionals became the norm.  They are not used to seeing red directionals.  I don't want to be the one confusing them.  I'll have my ambers, thank you very much.

I like illuminated side markers--just like I like trucks to have lights all over the place on all their corners.  It's a safety issue.  "Lights on for safety" my wife reminds me.  I'll keep mine.

I happen to really like my one piece wheel covers.  I think they offer a more modern and clean look.  The two piece, in my opinion, look better on the 190SL.

I don't even know of all the changes of what you speak, but my guess is they don't really bother a lot of 280SL owners.  Since they bother you, however, you indeed have the best car for your needs.

Nobody has ever looked at my car and indicated the bumper overriders, or the side markers, visually disturbed them!  They may have THOUGHT of it, but they never said anything! ;)

You make all good points about the differences and I can easily see (even if I don't agree) how one could prefer the factory made improvements on the 250SL versus the DOT mandated changes to the 280SL.

However I have to ask the question: of all our 250SL owners, how many consciously knew of all of this that Longtooth brings forth, and sought out and bought the 250SL (over earlier 230's and later 280's)versus just happening to find the right car at the right time and right price, and NOW KNOW of these things?  Before you became a W113 owner, did you make decisions about the 280SL's mandated changes and intentionally sought a 250?  Did you examine the 230 and decide you wanted the improvements that a 250 offered?  How exactly did you come to own the 250 versus the 230/280?

I don't know the answers, but I do think that the 250's owners have a cult item.  Maybe the market does not recognize it yet.  Maybe they know things we don't?

Michael Salemi
1969 280SL
Signal Red 568G w/Black Leather (Restored)
President, International Stars Section
Mercedes-Benz Club of America
Title: Re: 230 vs 250 vs 280sl
Post by: J. Huber on April 06, 2008, 08:48:44
To paraphrase our own Dr. Benz, this is like asking blonde or brunette (or redhead!)? The answer?... any of them  ;)

One thing I always take away from these discussions is how really fortunate we are that the various models are so different. It's whats makes our Pagoda gatherings (and this site) so interesting. Could you imagine if all the Pagodas out there were built exactly the same? We'd roll up, say nice blue one. Mine's white. Saw a red one yesterday. zzzzzzzzz.

James
63 230SL
Title: Re: 230 vs 250 vs 280sl
Post by: Chad on April 06, 2008, 18:20:28
I'm surprised how many times this subject gets revisited.  But it seems natural given the changes that occurred during the production run.

1967 230SL
Title: Re: 230 vs 250 vs 280sl
Post by: thelews on April 06, 2008, 19:03:38
The simple answer is ... neither.

The 250 SL is best.
#1543, one of the 6%

(http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2178/2005085450_71c4817f27.jpg)

And, answering the question below, right car at the right time, but I knew some of the distinctions of the 250 before and appreciate them and more after.  Quality and finish of the 230, mechanical advances approaching the 280.  Longtooth laid it out well.  280 SLs pull a premium in the market FOR their automatics and A/C.  In my opinion, an easy car for the daily driver set who want a vintage example without the pain.

P.S.  When I was in college, my mother had a '71 280 SL (she drove for 17 years! Below).  When I got my 250, this year, we both remarked that it seemed much more elegant and and a higher level of finish inside, than hers.


(http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2405/2394687964_d153078039.jpg)

John
1967 Early 250 SL Red/Caviar, Manual
BEST OF THE BEST!!!
Title: Re: 230 vs 250 vs 280sl
Post by: Benz Dr. on April 06, 2008, 22:44:57
Not a story about a Benz but the guy does own a 250SL that I'm helping him with.
Every time I met up with this guy he always drove this rather beat up looking van with a ton of tools and junk in it. He seemed like a regular guy.... like me.

So, I'm at the Toronto car auction over the weekend and he meets me today after the show to drop off some parts he doesn't need. He says to me on the phone, '' I'll be driving my Ferarri. ''
I'm sitting outside the front door waiting for him... lots of people milling around and I hear this sports car coming. Loud, powerful sound like something exotic. Very exotic! The crowd looks around expectantly for this automotive marvel. ( I have no idea what he has, I expect a 308 or something ) All of a sudden he comes around the corner in this beautiful red convertable with black soft top. The thing sounds like pure magic. I'm mesmotized.....

He stops the car right in front of me and a large crowd gathers like bees to honey. Suddenly, there's cameras and cell phones all out taking pictures and video. It might as well have been Nicole Kiddman on the runway.
The door swings open and he says, '' Hi, Dan.''

 The crowd looks around to see which one of them is this lucky Dan person but no one seems to be holding the winning ticket.
I stand up and say '' Excuse me please '' and get into his car, which by the way, is no easy feat for someone 6'3''. I guess no one saw me sitting there waiting for him and it was kind of funny to watch their reaction.

We roar across the parking lot and park a short distance away where I'm parked with my own car. After I got back out of his car I had a look at this thing. It was very pretty with camel interior and bright red body work. He told me it was an '89 model year, I think, and it only had about 40,000KM on it. V8 of course and about 400 HP.
He told me what model it was but I forget now and I think he said it was worth about 250 when it was new. It's still worth 150 so it's a pretty neat machine. I guess the body is all aluminium.
Then he tells me that he really doesn't like it that much and that his Porsche is a much faster and better driving car. I ask him what he has and he says that it's a speedster - one of a handfull made. I think it's some sort of 911 model and not an old one. Then he tells me he has 7 cars but I never really did get what they were. I will later, Im sure.......

Never had a ride in one of those things. I think I'm in love......



Dan Caron's
 SL Barn
benzbarn@ebtech.net
 slbarn.mbz.org
  1 877 661 6061
Title: Re: 230 vs 250 vs 280sl
Post by: Longtooth on April 06, 2008, 23:38:14
Micheal,
I'm biased, of course, and james said it very well... viva la difference, for as he said so elequently... "nice blue one. Mine's white. Saw a red one yesterday. zzzzzzzzz."

fwiw, I lived in Germany from '59 thru July '64, and my parents stayed in Europe 'til my father retired in '80. He bought a '63 190SL in '65 (the year after I left home... and I'm sure that's the reason he waited 'til then), and later an early '67 250SL. He kept both SL's and brought them both back to US when he retired. He was an avid MB fan... our first car on arriving in Europe in '59 was a brand spankin' new '59 180D, black with red leather interior, still covered in plastic.

He bought the early '67 250SL (manual) in '69. The reason he chose it over the '68 280SL was not due to the difference in price, rather it was because he liked the cosmetic's of the 230SL, but not it's high speed corner handling or engine reliabiity (at 100 + mph for long durations on the German Autobahn's).  He chose the 250SL over the 280SL because there was no difference in the handling, nor was high speed long duration engine reliabilty any longer an issue.

When I was seeking a W113 in Europe when I lived in Germany for 3 years ('81-'84) he sent me copies of the various German automobile magazine articles published over the period from the 230SL, 250SL, and 280SL.  The 280SL was lauded for it's gain in hp, but not it's interior cosmetics changes... traditions dies hard in Germany... and the bumper guards were not an issue in Europe as they didn't have them... nor require them. I can't recall all the specifics of those articles but do recall that the automobile enthusiasts press had not been overly impressed with the meager engine displacement improvement that came with the 250SL over the 230SL's, but were extremely enthusiastic about it's far better cornering capability, it's far improved engine reliability over that of the 230SL's.  When the 280SL was tested by the automobile magazines, they were impressed with the added hp "endlich" [finally] (and with no losses due to the US mandated DOT emission reductions), and noted that other than the engine change the 280SL and 250SL were mechanically and performance (cornering, braking) the same.

I was therefore seeking an early 250SL manual (I am loath to automatics... my child-hood/teen-age indoctrination) in Germany to bring back to the US in early 80's, but could find none (or any other of the W113's) that were not rusted or which required significant body panel replacements... and nearly none were still able to be registered in Germany (TUV rules for safety made the rust issues economically impractical).  

When I returnd to the US in '84 I had given up on finding an economically viable W113, and especially any early 250SL's, when shortly after our arrival and before we had moved back into our house, I happened by pure and absolute luck to see an ad in our local weekly village blatt for "67 250SL. $10k OBO. 779-nnnn.".... which edition of that blatt was already a month old when I saw the ad.  The 779-nnnn phone number prefix was a local village telephone number (at that time you didn't need to dial all 7 numbers to dial a local number in our town.... only the last 4, since all numbers were 779-nnnn).  

I won't go into the literal 'barn' find with a fully drivable, (one rear qtr-panel small door dent, totally operating fully original, with original softtop still non-leaking, 0= early  :D  :D  :D  250SL with every service record on it still in the file at the MB service provider (not an MB dealer's service, but an exclusively MB shop owned and operated by a former German MB service tech from Germany) used exclusively since 1968.... 16k miles on the odometer was 116k (frequent service records validated the mileage over time).  

So, while most current W113 owners get what they can get, and I admit I would have bought the $10k car even if it had been a 280SL manual in the same condition at the time --- I paid $8k btw), I sought and was lucky enough to find by happenstance the car I had been looking for.  In hindsight I must admit I was not aware that what I was looking for was quite as rare as it was.... though I knew there'd only been a bit more than 5k 250SL's built and only in '67...

BTW, I've been looking for an early 280SL manaul (matching numbers original), but prices for the manual, matching numbers, previously not in an accident of any consequence, unrusted version have gotten out of hand (unrestored) so I've given up actively looking... pining (sp?) is now more like it.  My wife reminds me every time she see's me purusing the ads on-line that "we only have a 2 car garage anyway, so forget it."

BTW, thelews knows best.... and his is a georgious example of the best of the best.

Also, BTW, is it possible to change the subject on the thread to "230 vs 250 vs 280SL"... just so the very, very few minority owners of the 250SL aren't being excluded from choices. I feel descriminated against, not purposefully, but by omission.

And for the record... I admire and hold in awe all versions of the W113.. after-all they're all pagoda's, but have a decided preference for the classic interior appearance of the 230SL and the mechanics and engines of the post 230SL versions.  Call me old-fashioned (but I own an '02 SL500 Sport, so I'm not that old fashioned.... yet).
 


Longtooth
67 250SL US #113-043-10-002163
'02 SL500 Sport
Title: Re: 230 vs 250 vs 280sl
Post by: mdsalemi on April 07, 2008, 08:54:45
Longtooth,

Great story!  You have been blessed with getting specifically what you were always looking for, at an appropriate price!  Keep looking for the matching numbers 280SL, maybe you will be on with winning end of a "barn find" or at least the proverbial equivalent.  Like the lottery, if you don't play you can't win.  If you stop looking you'll never find it...

Couple of things here in this fascinating thread.

I find it fascinating that John's mom found such a difference in the interior of the 250SL vs. 280SL.  Is there that much of a difference?  I have not seen it; certainly not enough so say one was more elegant then another or a higher level of finish...would any distinction be between 250/280 or simply between two different cars that have had two different lives and perhaps two levels of care/restoration?  Put JonnyB's 250SL and my 280SL (Signal Reds, both restored) side by side and while us "experts" can tell them apart I don't think that elegance and higher level of finish would be the main distinctions.  Mostly the same chrome; same instruments; same tex or leather (depending on what you bought).  I have more rounded dash pieces I believe (there's that DOT again) but for the most part they are very similar.

But since you brought up old magazine articles...

Car and Driver in August 1967, describing the engine change and its torque and 200cc displacement change, said "...that's all the change there is and it's almost undetectable.  The increased torque makes no appreciable change in acceleration times..."

Sports Car Graphic at the same time, found the automatic transmission "very impressive" with power shifts just below the redline; but of course the choice between standard and automatic is very personal.

None of the 250SL test reports really mentioned anything about handling when compared to the 230SL.  I don't know where this "far better cornering capability" comes from.  Change of tires or wheels, or is this something imagined?  Can anyone speak to any physical reasons (aside from a modest weight difference and the aforementioned engine) why there might be a difference in handling making the 250 an improvement over the 230?

As I said, maybe the 250 is an undiscovered cult item.

Michael Salemi
1969 280SL
Signal Red 568G w/Black Leather (Restored)
President, International Stars Section
Mercedes-Benz Club of America
Title: Re: 230 vs 250 vs 280sl
Post by: paulr on April 07, 2008, 09:17:14
is anyone having a pop at anyone here?

paulr
1970 280 SL
Title: Re: 230 vs 250 vs 280sl
Post by: mdsalemi on April 07, 2008, 09:20:54
quote:
Originally posted by paulr

is anyone having a pop at anyone here?

paulr
1970 280 SL



Not at all Paul!  Read Longtooth's story it really is great!

We ferret out the differences--real, imagined, and personal--by these discussions as Jim Huber noted.

Michael Salemi
1969 280SL
Signal Red 568G w/Black Leather (Restored)
President, International Stars Section
Mercedes-Benz Club of America
Title: Re: 230 vs 250 vs 280sl
Post by: thelews on April 07, 2008, 09:38:18
quote:
Originally posted by mdsalemi
I find it fascinating that John's mom found such a difference in the interior of the 250SL vs. 280SL.  Is there that much of a difference?  I have not seen it; certainly not enough so say one was more elegant then another or a higher level of finish...would any distinction be between 250/280 or simply between two different cars that have had two different lives and perhaps two levels of care/restoration?  Put JonnyB's 250SL and my 280SL (Signal Reds, both restored) side by side and while us "experts" can tell them apart I don't think that elegance and higher level of finish would be the main distinctions.  Mostly the same chrome; same instruments; same tex or leather (depending on what you bought).  I have more rounded dash pieces I believe (there's that DOT again) but for the most part they are very similar.




Michael, I guess it's all the little things that add up to the whole being greater than the sum of the parts.  The hard door pockets with a built in handle and chrome trim rather than a baggie and rectangular plastic door pull, the more vintage door release pull with more chrome and chrome lock, the chrome vs. satin horn ring and wiper shafts, the chrome all along the top windshield frame with the chrome top handles attached, chrome rearview mirror, gooseneck sideview mirror, the colored and firm (not wobbly) heater controls, chrome rings in the knobs...it all just adds up when you sit and look around.  Of course they're very similar, they're the same model car.  It's just that when you sit in the pre-safety/economize versions, you get a greater experience of the totality and consistency of style and elegance that Bracq and MB intended.  As far as the exterior, it just appears to be a purer, cleaner expression of his design.  JMHO.

(http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2418/2094903200_588fbf1f84_o.jpg)

John
1967 Early 250 SL Red/Caviar, Manual
Title: Re: 230 vs 250 vs 280sl
Post by: mdsalemi on April 07, 2008, 10:00:53
John,

So it was YOU I was behind the other day when the sun reflected off your bright chrome horn ring and nearly blinded me! 8)

No, honestly, I see and appreciate the differences.  I just would not describe them as a "higher level" of finish, nor "more elegant"--just different; perhaps a bit more modern and evolutionary.  But that's just me!  Your Mom deserves some accolades for even noticing all these details.  But then again she was a woman that drove this car for years...

BTW my "baggy" is not saggy.  My heater levers are not wobbly.  They are slightly flexible (and not broken!)

I'll remain satisfied with my car that is a lesser experience of the totality of design and elegance! ;)

(http://www.sl113.org/forums/uploaded/mdsalemi/200847115140_Interior Smaller.jpg])


Michael Salemi
1969 280SL
Signal Red 568G w/Black Leather (Restored)
President, International Stars Section
Mercedes-Benz Club of America
Title: Re: 230 vs 250 vs 280sl
Post by: thelews on April 07, 2008, 10:12:25
quote:
Originally posted by mdsalemi
Your Mom deserves some accolades for even noticing all these details.  But then again she was a woman that drove this car for years...


She couldn't help but.

Also, notice the crisp clean line on the dash of the earlier model. [:p]

Michael, your car looks great...they all do.





Some just look better than others  :twisted:

John
1967 Early 250 SL Red/Caviar, Manual
Title: Re: 230 vs 250 vs 280sl
Post by: TheEngineer on April 07, 2008, 10:23:24
May I clarify the "DOT Emission Controls": My car was built in January 1969. It has a second solenoid on the injection pump and associated relays. It's function is to cut off the fuel completely when the vehicle is coasting and the engine turns more than 1200RPM. Your foot must be off the gas pedal. That actuates a switch. It turns the feature on. It saves gas and makes for cleaner emissions. That is the only emission control on that engine.

'69 280SL,Signal Red,Automatic,retired engineer, West-Seattle,WA (http://www.sl113.org/forums/uploaded/theengineer/2007118132030_SmallStar.gif)
Title: Re: 230 vs 250 vs 280sl
Post by: Douglas on April 07, 2008, 11:03:47
Michael,

Gorgeous dash. You really should consider a key pouch of some kind to protect your leather dash. The dangling keys can damage the leather. Check out John Lew's key pouch.


John,

Gorgeous dash as well. Is that a period key pouch or the newer style with the logo embossed on it?

Douglas Kim
New York
USA
Title: Re: 230 vs 250 vs 280sl
Post by: thelews on April 07, 2008, 12:08:09
quote:
Originally posted by Douglas

Michael,

Gorgeous dash. You really should consider a key pouch of some kind to protect your leather dash. The dangling keys can damage the leather. Check out John Lew's key pouch.


John,

Gorgeous dash as well. Is that a period key pouch or the newer style with the logo embossed on it?

Douglas Kim
New York
USA



That's exactly why I use the fob I do, didn't want keys rubbing on the dash.  

Well, I thought it was period (or period reproduction) but it does have the embossed logo you mention.  It's the same as the one in the package tray in cordovan (I keep the gas cap key on that one).

John
1967 Early 250 SL Red/Caviar, Manual
Title: Re: 230 vs 250 vs 280sl
Post by: hands_aus on April 07, 2008, 22:17:29
I bought my RHD early 250sl #114, because of the 230sl livery plus the 4 wheel disks, larger fuel tank (82litre) plus all the reasons Longtooth mentioned.
Of course one little thing no one mentioned is the little light in the fan switch of the 230sl and early 250sls.

I have no idea of the number of 250sls exported to Australia but until Michael mentioned it, I didn't know I owned a 'cult' car. Obviously I will have to increase my car insurance! :D


Bob Smith (Brisbane,Australia)
RHD,1967 early 250 SL #114, auto, ps , 717,717
BEST OF THE BEST!
Title: Re: 230 vs 250 vs 280sl
Post by: mdsalemi on April 08, 2008, 06:22:49
quote:
Originally posted by Douglas

Michael,

Gorgeous dash. You really should consider a key pouch of some kind to protect your leather dash. The dangling keys can damage the leather. Check out John Lew's key pouch.


Douglas Kim
New York
USA



Hey, I live dangerously here.  I even wash my car with water! ;)   No really, key fobs are a great idea.  I'll look into it.

Michael Salemi
1969 280SL
Signal Red 568G w/Black Leather (Restored)
President, International Stars Section
Mercedes-Benz Club of America
Title: Re: 230 vs 250 vs 280sl
Post by: Douglas on April 08, 2008, 08:51:22
John,

The original key pouch was plain black, sometimes with a red snap on one side. No logo. You can easily have one made up though, if you're so inclined. It was pretty close in shape to the later-style with the logo embossed on it. Not identical, but close.

That's the thing about having a Pagoda that's as nice as yours or Michael's — no matter how pristine it is, you can always find some little detail to make it even more immaculate. (And yours are certainly two of the nicer ones I've seen.) I guess there are even degrees of "immaculate."

(Finally, on a 250 SL there's supposed to be a little slip of dark vinyl in that wooden tray in the center. None of the square weave Pagodas had carpeting in there.)

Okay, I've digressed here. Let me say this about the 230 vs. 250 vs. 280 issue. I've had two 280s and my next one will likely be a different model. With that said though, it all comes down to timing and what's out there when I'm ready to buy.

We always advise people in this forum to buy the best car they can afford and I plan to practice what I preach.

My initial response to Sammy Rad suggesting automatic 280 SLs with a/c was based on the fact that he's a dealer, not on my own personal preference.


Douglas Kim
New York
USA :)
Title: Re: 230 vs 250 vs 280sl
Post by: Longtooth on April 08, 2008, 12:42:30
Micheal, my info on differences in handling (high speed cornering)come from the German automobile magazine articles published in Germany after the 250SL came out... which my father sent me when I lived in Germany in the early 80's and was looking for a W113 to bring back to states with me when my assignment was over.  He'd collected the magazines with those articles in them when he lived in Germany ... later in Italy... at the time (and he also sent me the articles on the 280SL when it came out).

I don't have those articles anymore as I returned the mag's to my dad when I returned from assignment in '84 and right after I bought my 250SL... and in the duration they were either tossed by him or got tossed by my brother or sister who handled the cleaning out of his residence after he died.

I don't know why (cannot recall from what the mag's said) the difference in high speed corning between the 230SL and 250SL.  It had something to do with a sudden loss of the rear end without warning that occurred on the 230SL but not on subsequent 250SL's... whether this was just a pre-spinout warning telltale or better ability to handle the corners at same speeds I don't recall ---- the early '80s were over 25 years ago.

One of the facets of these discussions of differences in the versions, real or imagined, personal perferences, etc. is one of culture I think.  I get mine from having lived in Germany for 5 years as a teen 'til I graduated high school there.... and the German attitude at the time regards automobiles was speed and handling... not off the line speed (which was an American cultural thing due to our penchant for having speed limits on wide open roads), but acceleration and handling at higher speeds.  One of the unwritten driving game rules in those days thruout Europe (Italy, France, Germany predominantly) was to see who could get thru the curves at the fastest speeds --- kind of a game of chicken.  The W113's were not noted for this capability however... they invariably had to back down.  BMW's and Porches dominated in this particular game at that time.

In the cosmetic's arena at the time chrome was the thing of elegance, richness, class and style... and if you could afford it, then leather to boot.

Furthermore, to illustrate the difference in automobile culture, the Germans were out washing and waxing their cars every week-end... summer, winter (less so due to incliment winter weather... but on a sunny freezing winter week-end day they were out washing in force) from the lowliest Auto Union (aka later as Audi... shortened version of the Auto Union name which was referred to in the colloquial as "audi") to the 300SE's.

This wash/wax syndrome was in stark contrast to the American military community that lived both on and off base.... and the German's were agast that the American's took so little car of their car's appearance.

In hindsight, I think this penchant for car "Kultur" in Germany at that time was an outgrowth of the re-establishment of hierarchy in post war Germany.  Not everybody could even afford to have a car in Germany at that time.... and I knew several families with none.  For those that had a car it was normally only one and that car was "father's car" which was babied to no end.  The W113 owners had at least 2 cars... the W113 and the "family" car, so this was a major status symbol on several counts... 2 cars, and one even an MB "sports roadster".... either the 190SL prior to '64 or the W113 later.

As such, the appearance of "richness" had to accompany the status of the car in it's accoutrement so to speak... hence the sumptuous use of chrome in the 230SL interior, colored & lit heater controls, passenger side visor mirror's, etc.

24% of 230SL's were sold to the US Export market.
34% of 250SL's were sold to the US Export market.
54% of 280SL's were sold to the US Export market.

I bring the huge jump in sales to the US marekt for the 280SL's out because it illustrates the dependance MB had on the increasing US market for the SL's.... and as such they were less and less dependant on the internal German market ---- so could afford to cost reduce the appearance without a loss in sales.

As a matter of record, the German internal sales for each model were (as % of total production):
 41% 230SL
 27% 250SL
 22% 280SL  

So, as you can clearly see, the issues that related purely to the German desires (likes and dislikes) were significant to sales in the 230SL's, and less and less significant with each succeeding model... hence the cost reduction features in the 280SL.

Longtooth
67 250SL US #113-043-10-002163
The 6% Club - Best of the Best
'02 SL500 Sport
Title: Re: 230 vs 250 vs 280sl
Post by: mdsalemi on April 08, 2008, 14:49:49
Longtooth,

I simply find it interesting that in the 250 test reports in the Brookings Gold Portfolio there isn't mention of any handling difference.  History has been written and can't be changed.  As a 250 owner, can you give any reason why there would be this change in handling?  Perhaps tell us of something in the suspension, tires, wheels, springs, shocks or something--anything that would create a far better cornering capability as you stated?  I don't know--I'm asking.

Those are nice statistics but probably hold true for many Mercedes models and a whole lot of other import cars, too, as volumes increased and a larger percentage went to the world's largest market--the USA.

Take another look at my interior shot and Lews.  Can you really say my 280SL has anything less then a lavish use of chrome?  The differences are indeed subtle; yes there are little printed on chrome beauty rings on some of the knobs.  Yes there's some bright chrome vs. satin.  It's still chrome, you know.

Living on a soldier's salary in a foreign country, would you spend your Sunday washing your car or visiting the sights?

I understand there are differences between the cars.  I understand that there were changes between them.  But the blinding chrome in my interior makes it a bit difficult for me to accept the premise that that there's that much more of it in the 230 or 250.  I have bright trim around my door latch--it's just a different shape.  I also don't believe that us 280 owners, though we may want a 230 or 250, or a ZF 5 speed, or a different color, are enjoying the 113 experience any less than a 230 or 250 owner, and certainly not because me might have bumper overriders; side marker lamps, DOT headlamps, and satin chrome finishes.  I don't think the 280 is a better car per se than the 230 or 250.  It's different.

Also, for what its worth, the most likely highest price paid for a 113 was for a 230SL, not a 250 or 280!  If anything that tells you how the market values such things!  (RM Auctions London, 10/07, USD $126,000)

Michael Salemi
1969 280SL
Signal Red 568G w/Black Leather (Restored)
President, International Stars Section
Mercedes-Benz Club of America
Title: Re: 230 vs 250 vs 280sl
Post by: thelews on April 08, 2008, 17:46:32
quote:
Originally posted by mdsalemi

But the blinding chrome in my interior makes it a bit difficult for me to accept the premise that that there's that much more of it in the 230 or 250.  


There is that much more...and here's the list of what I can think of...

chrome trimned door pockets
chrome door lock
more chrome on vintage door release handle
more chrome on window crank
chrome horn ring
chrome ring around the center steering wheel insert
chrome trim up windshield side pillars
chrome visor mounts
chrome wiper arms
chrome all along the top windshield frame
chrome top handles
chrome rearview mirror
chrome gooseneck sideview mirror
chrome rings in the dash knobs
chrome insert in the trip set knob

It adds up...not better or worse, but a definite bling change.

John
1967 Early 250 SL Red/Caviar, Manual
Title: Re: 230 vs 250 vs 280sl
Post by: Longtooth on April 09, 2008, 04:14:01
quote:
Originally posted by mdsalemi

Living on a soldier's salary in a foreign country, would you spend your Sunday washing your car or visiting the sights?

Michael Salemi



Mike, I was referring to officer's, civilians, diplomatic, and intelligence corp personell.  My high school had a dorm for the multitude of civilian dependandants from other locations in Germany and Europe from the civilian, diplomatic, and intelligence services... it was a very large community, especially in Germany.  And fwiw, the German working day was longer than any GI's at the time... besides, very few GI's owned a car at all.  They generally bumpmed rides from the very few that did (and those that did had more or less junkers --- call dirt cheap because they wouldn't pass the German TUV...and they didn't have to pass the German TUV if US Military Plates were on them... and the GI's would sell their junker to another GI when they rotated back to the US), or used their "Fraulein's" wheels. All the civilians, officers, diplomatic and intelligence service personell owned one or most often 2 cars... only some were American cars as they bought a European vehicle on or shortly after arrival.... as my parents did. We owned 3 cars when I became of driving age, and my parents owned 3 cars for the duration of their residence in Europe... at least 2 of which were my father's 190SL and 250SL's... and on occasion 4 cars... the extra one for my brother, sister (when they got older and of driving age), or for resident guests (friends from US visiting Europe for an extended period... 6 mo. to a year).

The local US communities living area's were divided into Officer and above rank and enlisted men (non-coms) ranks. They were generally widely sepearated from one another. Officer and above communities were in very nice apt buildings or even single houses (rare in Germany at the time), and many lived on the so-called "economy"... which meant in and within the civilian German area's... we were in that catagory most of the time.

I only bring this up because you seemed to be countering my statement about the German's being agast at how the american's treated their cars... believing perhaps that most were GI's who had no inclination to take care of their cars (the few that owned them).  Quite the contrary.

My point in the 1st place was only that the post-war automobile culture in Germany at that time were highly motivated for heirarchy reasons to baby their cars and for those that had the more expensive variety they expected sumptuousness in them. As MB's dependence (for the SL's) shifted to export's dominant revenues, the were able pay less attention to the accoutrement favored by the Germans.

There were only about 4k more 280SL's produced than 230's, yet 40% of the 230SL market was German, while only 20% of the 280SL's were German (non-export models). In relative terms, there were only 20% more 280SL's produced than 230SL's, (and if I count the 250SL's then there were actually more of the 230SL's & 250SL's combined than 280SL's).  In absolute numbers 8105 230SL's were sold in Germany, while only 5204 280SL's were sold in Germany, despite the 4k more in 280SL production totals.  

So, as you can see, the German buyer's declined in 280SL purchases relative to the 230SL's by both proportions and absolute cars sold. The German market purchased 35% fewer 280SL's than it had purchased 230SL's, even though there were 20% more 280SL's produced than 230SL's.

Part of the reason for the relative and absolute decline in German purchases of the 280SL relative to the 280SL may have been due to the greater proportion of W113's produced period... i.e. they became more "common" than earlier years... less of a hierarchical distinction perhaps. The German economy was exploding at the seams...importing large amounts of labor from Italy, then Spain over those years... increasing internal wealth.... so a drop in the economy doesn't account for the change in German preferences.

I also cannot recall any equivalent alternatives that came on the market during those years in Germany that would have caused a major shift away from the W113's during the 280SL production period.

German purchases accounted for
  24% of 280SL's in '68 (6930 produced = 1660 German)
  22% of 280SL's in '69 (8047 produced = 1770 German)
  18% of 280SL's in '70 (7935 produced = 1460 German)  
  32% of 280SL's in '71 (only 830 produced, so numbers too low to reflect the trend.

In contrast, Germans purchased
   27% of 250SL's in '67 (5177 produced = 1384 German)

and
   53% of 230SL's in '63 (1465 produced =  772 German)
   52% of 230SL's in '64 (6911 produced = 3585 German)
   42% of 230SL's in '65 (6325 produced = 2662 German)
   26% of 230SL's in '66 (4945 produced = 1270 German)

Note that in '64 & '65 230SL sales (in both absolute and relative terms) in Germany were over double those of the best years of German sales for the 280SL's.  The dramatic reduction of 230SL sales in '66 (both in German sales and in absolute total production) dropped because of the anticipation of the 250SL coming out in '67 which was leaked early in '66 despite every effort taken by MB to prevent it.

The German's were not that impressed with the changes however, so recovery to the earlier 230SL's German sales rate never recovered and continued to decline even with the 280SL's introduction in '68.

Recall that ~ halfway thru the 250SL production year the safety "improvements" and several of the interior features of the 280SL were introduced into the 250SL.  The tamer interior accoutrement were not held dearly by the German population.... and the US market probably didn't know or pay much if any attention to the differences --- as is evident on the discussion even by those that have more knowledge than most....certainly far more knowledge about the differences than the average joe purchaser in the US during the years these cars were original purchases.

I don't know the actual reasons for the dramatic decline in German interest in the SL's with the advent of the 250SL and 280SL relative to the 230SL during it's peak years... but I do know that the Germans I knew were very keen on subtle differences, especially if it appeared to be a cheaper version of a former feature. From a business perspective (which is how MB makes decisions), the increasing importance of the export market and the US in particular to sales volumes meant clearly (economically speaking) that MB had to adopt the US DOT required changes for the '68 model year... and many of those requirements dictated that the non-export models would have to incorporate them also... whether the German market approved or not.... with far lesser dependance on the German market for sales MB was able to economically benefit by many of the DOT required changes  --- reduced reflective items and one-piece wheel covers among them... the one piece wheel covers had been standard on the sedans for several years already.  MB just eliminated the 2 piece wheel covers to cut costs ---- since the one piece wheel covers were considered for the 230SL and rejected early on to further distinguish the new SL from the sedans.  The reason for it's being able to cost cut by using the one piece wheel covers is simply based volume pricing, lower mfg'ing cost for the one piece covers (one stamping instead of two), along with eliminating the lower volume premium for the two piece wheel covers, and lower inventory carrying costs.  


Longtooth
67 250SL US #113-043-10-002163
The 6% Club - Best of the Best
'02 SL500 Sport
Title: Re: 230 vs 250 vs 280sl
Post by: Ricardo on April 09, 2008, 08:17:13
To add to Michaels question of handling improvements, it appears to me that the changes that occured that would have most likely affected the handling, actually occured at the beginning of the 250's production. According to Frank Mallory's Chronology of production changes, the most significant in terms of handling would have been the introduction of 4 wheel disc brakes, the addition of a rear brake proportioning valve, perhaps the addition of the viscous fan (more available HP), and the change from a 22 to a 20 mm. anti roll bar. It could be argued that the larger gas tank when full would have changed weight distribution, thus affecting handling, but all other listed changes seem to be either cosmetic, emmisions related, or simply design improvements (self lubricating water pump etc.)It would seem as though there weren't any significant changes that would have made a difference between the 250 and 280 handling characteristics.
Michael gets the point on this one  :D

As for the reason I chose the early 250; the differences were explained to me, before I bought my car, by a member of the old Kathy Kennel run group, when I queried about the three models. He ventured all the reasons that have been presented here on how he preferred the early 250's, and he in fact had one for sale, which I ended up buying in Camden NJ. The main selling point for me was his statement that the 250's sold for less money than either of the other two, a statement I was able to verify myself through researching Ebay and Hemmings.

Ricardo
'67 250sl #1854
Best of the Best
And cheapest too!
Title: Re: 230 vs 250 vs 280sl
Post by: mdsalemi on April 09, 2008, 08:34:55

chrome trimned door pockets    GOT ME THERE
chrome door lock   The 280's have a chrome door lock trim, it's just different but chrome nonetheless.  Solid chrome plated casting--I bought new ones last year.
more chrome on vintage door release handle  The 280's have a chrome release handle too, different but shiny chrome nonetheless.  At least mine does.
more chrome on window crank  280 window cranks are chrome too, just with a small padded insert.
chrome horn ring  280 horn ring is chrome too, elegant, satin chrome.
chrome ring around the center steering wheel insert GOT ME THERE
chrome trim up windshield side pillars  280 has padded bolsters.  Just like your photo, John.
chrome visor mounts GOT ME THERE
chrome wiper arms  Chrome too, just satin.
chrome all along the top windshield frame Just like a 280.  I polish it each time I wash the car!
chrome top handles  Just like mine.
chrome rearview mirror  GOT ME THERE.
chrome gooseneck sideview mirror  280 mirrors are chrome too.
chrome rings in the dash knobs  Printed chrome.  Is that really elegant?
chrome insert in the trip set knob  Ditto.

John,

Not only are you not 100% accurate here, you ignore that the vast acreage of chrome such as the dash pieces, vents, instrument trim, trim around the padded dash, map light, ignition switch, radio trim etc. is identical.  That one might choose a 250 over a 280 because of printed chrome on a bakelite knob is a stretch at best.

Further, with you on the bling, and with longtooth on the unproved handling issue(!)with unnamed decades-old magazines and perhaps some fading romantic memory, together perhaps unwittingly you are proferring the incorrect statement that somehow the 250SL is superior to the 230SL because of some improvements, but that it is also superior to the 280SL because subsequent improvements on the 280SL you classify as mere changes, and devolutionary changes at that!  Longtooth even offers a longtooth discussion of German car culture and also suggests that because of these devolutionary changes, the Germans began to reject the W113.  What together you are selling, I'm not buying--sorry.  You can like the 250 more than either the 230 or 280.  That's opinion you are entitled to.  But to make statements that one can't have the totality of the 113 experience with bumper overriders and a satin chrome horn ring and all that extra "bling" is really not very believable to me, and I'd suggest not very believable to the whole lot of 280 owners either.  With all due respect to your Mom of course.

To each their own.  If you like the package of the 250SL, that's great.  I do too.  But I consider it an evolutionary change to the 230.  I consider the 280 evolutionary change to the 250, too.  The 113s were an evolutionary change to the 190, and the 107's (like them or not--they lasted 19 years!) to the 113's.

Obviously I'll get nowhere preaching historical fact here, so it's time to move on.

Didn't expect this, sammyr, now did you? ;)

Michael Salemi
1969 280SL
Signal Red 568G w/Black Leather (Restored)
President, International Stars Section
Mercedes-Benz Club of America
Title: Re: 230 vs 250 vs 280sl
Post by: psmith on April 09, 2008, 09:47:03
There is no right answer when we're discussing something as subjective as which model is better, it's all just opinions.  True, there are objective measurements like which model has more square inches of chrome, or how many g's it can pull on a test pad, but weather the combination of all these differences make the car better or worse is a personal opinion.  I think we all tend to prefer the model we own, but I think it's hard to say one is better than another, just different.

Pete S.
Title: Re: 230 vs 250 vs 280sl
Post by: thelews on April 09, 2008, 11:07:49
Perhaps I need to rephrase the term as "polished chrome" as opposed to "satin chrome" as that was the mandated difference, ie. to reduce reflection.  The discussion is exactly one of polished vs. satin and the toning down of bling for safety reasons.

For you, I will take some pictures of the items...for example the door lock.  The whole assembly is chrome and metal.  The windshield side pillar, the material wraps around from the windshield and then there is a polished chrome trim all the way up the pillar.  The 280 has material all the way around with no chrome.  Yes, you wipe the chrome around the windshield header after a wash, outside where the rubber seal mates and you see with the top down , the 230/250 chrome wraps around to the inside that you see sitting in the seats with the top up.  Yes, the 280 sideview mirror is chrome, but it (just in my opinion) lacks the elegance of the goose (or swan) neck on the 230/250.  Same for the door pulls and window cranks.  I will take pictures.

I am not ignoring the chrome pieces that are identical, the discussion is about what is different and was changed between models.  I'm not trying to "get" you, just noting the facts of the changes MB made.

I also am not suggesting that one model is "better" than another or not, rather, I'm just highlighting factual physical differences between the models.  When I referred to the totality of the Bracq design I was in no way referring to the totality of the 113/Pagoda experience.  Certainly there is much more in common across the three models than different.  Rather my "totality" comment referred more to the supposition, that had not safety and economy entered into the design process, would the bling changes (and some others) to the 280 have been made by MB, or, the original design left as is?

John
1967 Early 250 SL Red/Caviar, Manual

John
1967 Early 250 SL Red/Caviar, Manual
Title: Re: 230 vs 250 vs 280sl
Post by: Douglas on April 09, 2008, 11:37:51
Since we're on the subject of chrome, let's not forget that some of these highly polished chrome details were retained on the 280SLs that were made for the non-US market. It didn't all go out the window with the 280 SL.

In other words, there are 280 SL drivers out there right now who are recklessly driving around with their chrome reflecting in every possible direction!

Douglas Kim
New York
USA
Title: Re: 230 vs 250 vs 280sl
Post by: Mike Hughes on April 09, 2008, 11:53:37
Here's a straight-up honest opinion:"  I like my 230SL because it's mine and I like it.
Title: Re: 230 vs 250 vs 280sl
Post by: thelews on April 09, 2008, 12:40:44
quote:
Originally posted by Douglas

Since we're on the subject of chrome, let's not forget that some of these highly polished chrome details were retained on the 280SLs that were made for the non-US market. It didn't all go out the window with the 280 SL.

In other words, there are 280 SL drivers out there right now who are recklessly driving around with their chrome reflecting in every possible direction!

Douglas Kim
New York
USA



You know, I was thinking about that.  There was definitely a pick and choose pattern to it though, I assume in the interests of production cost savings.  This 280 SL example shows the hard door pocket and polished horn ring, but no polished ring around the center steering insert, and the same door pulls, window cranks, knobs, heater controls and interior windshield surround as the US version.  Did the Euro versions have no headrests, the side marker lights, but no bumper guards?  Or, is this example something different than a Euro model?

(http://www.motoringinvestments.com/images/VC106/ids.jpg)

(http://www.motoringinvestments.com/images/VC106/ipan1.jpg)

(http://www.motoringinvestments.com/images/VC106/rf.jpg)

John
1967 Early 250 SL Red/Caviar, Manual
Title: Re: 230 vs 250 vs 280sl
Post by: Richard Madison on April 09, 2008, 13:45:26
Going off on a slight tangent regarding Euro models:

Euro's usually had no bumper guards, no fender markers (except Italy), no headrests, and often no seat belts; mostly manual transmissions, usually no AC, blackwall tires; Euro headlights, Celsius temp gauge, Kilometer speedo; hard door pockets, bright rearview mirror stalk, no hazard lights or switch.

Some Euros were "Federalized" when they came to the US and were retro fitted with USA version items.

A Euro version car often has a mirror in the passenger sunvisor, and has a data plate on the passenger side of the firewall.

Positive proof of Euro origin is found on the Fender Data Plate (or the data card) which shows the market the car was made for such as Germany or Europe outside Germany, etc; and may even be coded for a specific country. A USA car will have a USA market code. The code numbers can be found in the Tech Manual.

Richard M., NYC, 1969 Euro verision
Title: Re: 230 vs 250 vs 280sl
Post by: thelews on April 09, 2008, 20:18:33
Pictures of some of the areas of change...

Steering
(http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2419/2402471262_93bf6024e5_o.jpg)

Knobs
(http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3224/2401641081_ef57c5cef9_o.jpg)

Windshield surround
(http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2014/2401641183_ef5a7763be_o.jpg)
(http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2291/2401641435_b1005e2e13_o.jpg)
(http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2224/2401641227_87549d9a72_o.jpg)
(http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2043/2402471168_2cc5f0a936_o.jpg)

Door
(http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2117/2402471656_e5351751fc_o.jpg)
(http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2202/2401641135_d727e26cbd_o.jpg)
(http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2025/2402471586_aa4f8bff85_o.jpg)
(http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3293/2401641525_f30c89ae95_o.jpg)
(http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2410/2402471472_bc99d10351_o.jpg)

Gooseneck
(http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2192/2098511523_370761e286_o.jpg)

John
1967 Early 250 SL Red/Caviar, Manual
Title: Re: 230 vs 250 vs 280sl
Post by: Longtooth on April 10, 2008, 02:25:10
I thank whomever for the subject change that now includes the 250SL.

With all the other 250SL owners providing excellent pic's and text of many of the differences, I feel far less like a lone stray cat... but now feel part of a group of other strays!... the 250SL, despite my preferences, will remain in the annuls of history and most W113 owners as a stray, interim version of the 280SL.  It's only those that have a preference for the bling and other original cosmetic features of the 230SL while also preferring the major mechanical changes and improvements over the 230SL that will opt for the lonely 250SL.

Noting the differences is only to the advantage of all W113 owners and prospective owners so that we all benefit from the knowledge... the more we know the more we can appreciate the differences.... we're driving a part of the history of "sports" cars don't forget.  You'll note that as time progressed, the beauty and lines of the E-Type from the same period didn't evolved into the current class of sports cars (excluding the exotics perhaps), rather the evolution has been from the relatively 'boxy' version of the W113's.... accentuated even the more-so by it's inverted roofline (the "pagoda" roof). Porsche was the exception... but even it has evolved to the more boxy styles.  

I think this thread does great service to all the differences among models that were discussed... preferences aside.

There were many other mostly mechanical differences ---- independent of the engine block itself, oil coolers (water cooled) came out with the 250SL, and was changed to an air cooled one on the 280SL's for just one example... dual sensed brake fluid lines, etc., but most of the mechanical differences occurred during the 230SL run... with change after change being made during the course of it's evolution into the 250SL interim and 280SL final model.

I might add that another difference between the earlier 230SL's and the later ones were that the original "radial" tire's on the 230SL were not true radials (they were even called "halp guertel" tires (literally half belted, or half radial by our vernacular) by MB... the full radials weren't offered as an option until later... 2nd or 3rd year of the 230SL run.... I can look it up but won't unless somebody really needs to know.  The true radials stiffened up the sidewalls.  I've noticed the difference in handling immediately between my '84 Michelin XVS's and my new current Yokahama Avid T4's --- a supposed step up in performance from the Avid Touring tires.  The T4's are much softer in the ride and much much less stiff in the turns... than the XVS's were.   When I changed my shocks (new Bilstein's from my old Bilsteins) a couple weeks later I noticed an even softer ride ... cornering unchanged.  This is the first time I've understood what MB developers wanted in their "ride comfort".... definitely not a 'sports' car ride.... my wife is thrilled with the new 'ride' though.  Me?... I'm going to put as much pressure in the tires as the mfg'er's max allows.... but I think I'm already close to this.  :(

I've also been thinking about why my preference for the cosmetic features of the 250SL over those of the 280SL's.  Why do I like the bling in the 250's and 230's?  I don't prefer chrome and lots of brightwork in new cars... so why do I like it in the W113's?  I think the answer is that I like the period features... i.e. if they'ed been all black anodized aluminum instead of  chrome I'd probably prefer that since it would reflects authenticity of the period.  The "period" began in '63/'64... when I still lived in Germany... and was a carryover from the 190SL period of the late 50's and early 60's.... when I was also living in Germany.  With the approach of the 70's things had begun to change... both in Europe and in the US ---counter culture in US, flower power,  simplicity of functional design, etc  Europe had begun to take on a more "modern" stance after their postwar reconstruction phase... MB reflected this in their sedan designs,  BMW in their downsizing from the behemoth touring sedan to their much smaller (nimble handling) sedan's.    

So on reflection I'd adopted an early sixties period admiration of the W113's... so the changes to the 280SL are (to me) a reflection of the modernization period that began in the mid-late 60's in Germany and the US... and don't reflect as directly the earlier period I'd adopted as preferential... recalling that I was at the Frankfurt International Autoshow when the 230SL debuted in Germany... and of course I was enamored by it immediately.   Also, I must admit, as my wife now often reminds me, "you are your father."... so my father's preference for the 250SL over the 230SL & 280SL rubbed off on me as well.  Try as I might have as a youth and young adult to be "different" than my father, we apparently become our fathers unknowingly in many respects, anyway.  

As for the very, very few of us that own one of the very few remaining early[i/] 250SL's left in the world, we should  know what we own and how they're distinguished from the earlier and later W113's. ... as should the other W113 owners. They are indeed the rarest of the rarest of the breed.  Know what you own.

Longtooth
67 250SL US #113-043-10-002163
The 6% Club - Best of the Best
'02 SL500 Sport
Title: Re: 230 vs 250 vs 280sl
Post by: Chad on April 10, 2008, 22:42:44
I appreciate the discursive posts here by many.  Learning a lot about the differences in models.  Didn't notice most of the things pointed out about the one familiar to me.

1967 230SL
Title: Re: 230 vs 250 vs 280sl
Post by: waqas on April 11, 2008, 11:41:23
There are facts, and then there are facts.

No one can dispute the fact that the 280 engine puts out more power than the 250 engine. No one can dispute the fact that there is more polished chrome on the 230sl / early-250sl than the late-250sl/ 280sl.

The rest is a matter of personal taste. If someone tells me they bought the 280sl because it's more powerful engine (all else being equal), or a 230sl because it's got the goose-neck sideview mirror, I say: good choice in buying a 113!

HOWEVER, having said that, I can completely understand someone who points to subtleties and says "THAT is why I chose what I chose."  When I was searching for a 111 coupe a few years ago, I specifically searched for a 250se/c for precisely for the same subtleties. I wanted: the SHINY chrome finish on the chrome (the 280se/c has satin chrome on many many items and I like my chrome to look like chrome not aluminum), 2-piece hubcaps, gooseneck sideview mirror (the 280 sideview mirrors have always made me wince), full-chrome bumpers (the 280se has a rubber strip), and most importantly: I wanted the wooden binnacle around the instrument cluster (the 280se/c has vinyl instead). I drove many 280se coupes (I even reluctantly passed over a rare low-grille 5-speed !!) until I found my present beauty: 1966 250se/c 4-on-the-floor with sunroof. I still sigh whenever I look at it.

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Regarding the pagoda: I have a long-term plan to find my perfect early-250sl, but until that time arrives, I'm just going to have to choose between the pair of 230sl's that both vie for my attention (and maintenance!) each time I feast my eyes on them.   :)

However, chrome be damned, I would trade them BOTH for Michael's magnificent 280sl in a heartbeat!  Suffice it to say, my pagodas are both in need of some "refreshing"...

Waqas in Austin, Texas
Title: Re: 230 vs 250 vs 280sl
Post by: Benz Dr. on April 11, 2008, 14:49:56
I drove a 250SE coupe for about a year and really liked the car. I also drove a 220SEb for a few years before that. Both were decent cars and are very much like a bigger 113 with nicer seats andf interior.

BTW  it's a binacle not a barnicle. One is living the other isn't.....

Dan Caron's
 SL Barn
benzbarn@ebtech.net
 slbarn.mbz.org
  1 877 661 6061
Title: Re: 230 vs 250 vs 280sl
Post by: waqas on April 11, 2008, 16:04:14
quote:
Originally posted by Benz Dr.

I drove a 250SE coupe for about a year and really liked the car. I also drove a 220SEb for a few years before that. Both were decent cars and are very much like a bigger 113 with nicer seats andf interior.



Cool, Was the 220SEb the famous benz on which you cut your fuel-injection teeth, so to speak?

quote:

BTW  it's a binacle not a barnicle. One is living the other isn't.....



Blistering binnacles!  :D  Noted and corrected, thanks.

Waqas in Austin, Texas
Title: Re: 230 vs 250 vs 280sl
Post by: Bob G on April 12, 2008, 02:19:30
I own a 1968 280SL. Some of the parts have been chromed or borrowed from an earlier model SL. In my personal opinion, the older models made by Mercedes-Benz I tend to appreciate more. I find the W111 and the W108 & 109 very stately in their posture.

The kind of cars that you only saw rarely in the United  
States were recognizable from royalty and movie stars.

Sad to say that time has passed now we see a mercedes-benz as the cadillac or chevrolet of transportation. I hate the looks of the new sedans, the grill reminds me of a cheezy attempt to cut back on cost and become the General Motors to fit everyone's budget.

I only dreamed of getting my hands on a 280SL. How many young people today will recognize how special it is? Driving rice betters with 21 inch hubs and 1000 watt stereos blasting makes me want to puke.

Where has all the civil artistry gone? We take too lightly to buying automobiles today without purpose. They no longer suit us except to go from Point A & B;  when the lease is up we buy  another; the disposible cars, what's next suitcase cars?

Bob Geco
Title: Re: 230 vs 250 vs 280sl
Post by: Longtooth on April 12, 2008, 02:22:21
Waqas - here's an early 250SL, 4 spd manual, kinder seat.  Needs some work.... roughly speaking, if it were me thinking of buying it, a complete engine (long block) rebuild, new paint, all new interior --- including interior door panel (passenger side at least), and of course sundry other items most probably as well.... some chrome almost for sure, clutch, wheel bearings all around, radiator recore, etc.  Priced too high, but probably worth $10k as is.

http://www.oursl.com/listing-forms/listings-det.php?op=showdet&aid=2330#
Title: Re: 230 vs 250 vs 280sl
Post by: perry113 on April 13, 2008, 08:39:34
Quote
Originally posted by sammyr

What would you prefer and why?

I would think an early 250SL preferably with an optional 5 speed would be the Pagoda of all Pagodas. It's rarity and the early 230SL look to the first 250's makes this car in my mind the most desirable all 113's. There hard to find.

My personal favorite Pagoda is the 230SL. I prefer the early style door panels with the rounded door handles and aluminum formed door pockets. I also love the look of the early Ivory steering wheels. When you open the bonnet you can see the the engine bay is cleaner, there's less stuff surrounding its engine. I also love the lack of exterior marker lamps and the early 190SL style hubcaps. I realize the headrest provision in the later cars clearly provides a safety and comfort advantage. The early 230 seats have a real 50's vintage profile. The 230's in all for me have more simplicity. It's the original 113. It's the original Bela Barenyi design.

I realize the rear drum brake setup is less desirable over rear discs and its engine displacement is smaller. The engine, however, seems to have a more spirited rev characteristic with the four main bearing crankshaft over the later seven mains. I've driven both 230's and 280's and I don't feel any significant advantage in power or drivability with the larger engine Pagodas.

I have always felt the 230SL is under rated within the Pagoda family. Every article I read about these cars seems to focus on the 280SL. From an investment point it seems you can buy more car for the money in a 230 because everyone is talking about the 280s. The 280's seem to command higher prices. I would think the 250 is the one because of its rarity.

My perpective may seem tainted to early cars in general. The early 911 the better. I'd prefer my Healey to have side curtains rather than roll up windows. I'll take an A over a B.
Title: Re: 230 vs 250 vs 280sl
Post by: Longtooth on April 17, 2008, 01:21:27
Perry, I couldn't agree more.... early 250SL with 5 spd!

But, any of the W113's with a 5 spd command high price.  I had an opportunity to buy a 5 spd tranny for mine for $2k and some overhaul work to put it in pristine condition.. probably another $1k... and it was sitting in front of me.  I turned it down not knowing at the time what I was being offered.  The guy (here in San Jose) sold it a week later for $3k to someone in Europe.... the European paid for it's shipping and insurance.

I'd pay $5k for an operating 5 spd today.
Title: Re: 230 vs 250 vs 280sl
Post by: mflaten on April 27, 2008, 17:17:19
Gentlemen,

I have both a 1966 230SL, 4 speed (green/tan)and a 1970 280SL, 4 speed (silver/red).  The 280SL is in restoration and will be completed in two months.  I prefer the simplicity of the 230SL, free from pollution and government mandates.  The 280SL also will have no bumper guards, no side lights and Euro headlamps.  The interior of the 230SL/250SL's just have cleaner interior lines while the 280SL seem bloated and cheapened.  An example is the plastic rear view mirror.  That too is gone from the 280SL in favor of a chrome mirror.

I have not decided but one of these two cars is getting a 3.26 rear end.  I am thinking it will be the 280SL.

But all in all whichever you prefer for whatever reason, automatic vs manual; AC vs no AC; 230 vs 250 vs 280, they are all wonderful and classic cars.  The W113 took Mercedes into the 20th century in terms of styling.  These cars look modern today.

My next purchased will be a Porsche 356C.  Great 50's sport car styling.
Title: Re: 230 vs 250 vs 280sl
Post by: JosephBach on September 03, 2009, 02:56:28
I think that all three types  share the same appreciation.  They all have brought us joy and fun.

Enjoy no matter what you have. 
Title: Re: 230 vs 250 vs 280sl
Post by: abe280SL on September 07, 2009, 04:38:57
Well, I have a sail boat and we have another saying.." when you motorboat you are in a hurry to get there,  when you sail you are already there".  I  think the same is true with our car....its the journey that makes it fun, not the destination.
My favorite is an early 68 280sl....nice and refined powerful engine with little if any smog stuff.  I have no verticle bumpers nor head rests.
abe




Michael,

Very well put!  It reminds me of what someone said about sailboats: "they may not be a fast as a power boat, but what an elegant way to go"

Somewhere on the main page there should be a section called "Why a Pagoda" with your response underneath.

Pete S.
Title: Re: 230 vs 250 vs 280sl
Post by: KenBourque on August 17, 2010, 19:46:03
I bought a 1970 280SL based on the information received from an MB mechanic who said that the 230SL's and the 250SL's have only 5 main bearings in their engines while the 280SL's have 7 main bearings hence making it a sturdier engine.  Now I'm approaching 1/4 million miles without an engine rebuild.  Based on that performance and the fact that I like the advantages accompanying the changes introduced in the 280SL (no glare from the shiny chrome horn ring, the soft side door pockets which hold solid items without rattling, etc. etc.) I believe that I've made the best choice.
Title: Re: 230 vs 250 vs 280sl
Post by: thelews on August 18, 2010, 12:00:48
I bought a 1970 280SL based on the information received from an MB mechanic who said that the 230SL's and the 250SL's have only 5 main bearings in their engines while the 280SL's have 7 main bearings hence making it a sturdier engine.  Now I'm approaching 1/4 million miles without an engine rebuild.  Based on that performance and the fact that I like the advantages accompanying the changes introduced in the 280SL (no glare from the shiny chrome horn ring, the soft side door pockets which hold solid items without rattling, etc. etc.) I believe that I've made the best choice.

Sounds like an uninformed mechanic.  One of the changes to the 250 SL was 7 main bearings.  Get an early 250 SL and you have the beefier engine, but the glitz of the 230 SL cosmentics.
Title: Re: 230 vs 250 vs 280sl
Post by: Ulf on August 18, 2010, 12:40:22
I'd prefer one of each, but generally "older is better" applies to me...
Title: Re: 230 vs 250 vs 280sl
Post by: Wolfmann on June 19, 2011, 12:54:39
I bought a 230SL because it was the right price and I do like the extra chrome but if I could have found a good deal I would have gone for the 250SL.
There is something nice about having one of the first generation of these cars too so I am more than content with my 230SL princess !

If I had been remotely interested in it being a sports car or in the handling / torque / BHP figures of any Pagoda I would not have bought any model in the range but stuck with classic Porsche and Ferrari. These cars are not about burning rubber but rather sedate and excliusive elegance  and peerless build, fit and visual appeal. IMHO !
They are classy, beautiful and understated, an Audrey Hepburn amongst lesser clones.

Correct from every angle and with no aesthetic design flaw I can discern (think of the barrel like front wings of the E-type, the narrow tryres set in and the overhanging body, the disproportionate roof height of the coupe etc etc).

I guess the windscreen is a little vertical by modern standards but then again it isn't modern and at least the windscreen works and your head doesn't poke above it assuming you are not a giant.

I bought her because she is beautiful, has a lovely exhaust note and because she is beautiful. Oh yes, and because she is beautiful.
Title: Re: 230 vs 250 vs 280sl
Post by: dseretakis on June 19, 2011, 22:40:28
time for some pics Wolfmann
Title: Re: 230 vs 250 vs 280sl
Post by: Wolfmann on June 20, 2011, 06:35:29
There are a load of pics of my (almost) car on the Re Snow White thread in General Discussion.

Steve.
Title: Re: 230 vs 250 vs 280sl
Post by: Raymond on June 20, 2011, 22:02:50
Longtooth,  I love all the models.  I think I could be happy with any one of them.  So let me just offer a couple of notes on your soliloquy. 
Bumper guards were not a mandate but an option in 1968.  I don't beleive the more stringent bumper laws came until later.
Seat belts and headrests were optional as well.
The color backlighted heater controls continued through 1968.  I just replaced mine and it was worth the effort.  It's a feature that makes me smile every time they light up.
The '68 and I think the '69 280s did not have any more smog equipment than the 250s.  That all went into effect in 1970.  (I think that is why air conditioned '70 and '71s have hot running issues.)

Michael, I chose the '68 because that was a special year to me, but also because it had all of the upgrades without the downsides of the poorly designed and executed air pollution equipment. 
 
Others.  Driving an automatic is like making love by proxy.   ;D
Title: Re: 230 vs 250 vs 280sl
Post by: glenn on June 22, 2011, 08:56:51
In the mid to late 60s Mercedes was forced to make design changes due to the fact that they were transiting from old, shot up, melted down, recycled 'Patton'/Shermantank(aka a 'Ronson') steel to new virgin Krupp steel.  A single Patton made 20 or so Pagodas.  The Patton steel had lingering design memories that were trumped by Krupp iron.  

Remember this the next time you reflect in your Pagoda.  Patton Karma is different than Krupp Karma.

Your Pagoda could have been an 88mm Howitzer in its previous life!!
Title: Re: 230 vs 250 vs 280sl
Post by: mdsalemi on June 22, 2011, 10:57:53
In the mid to late 60s Mercedes was forced to make design changes due to the fact that they were transiting from old, shot up, melted down, recycled 'Patton' tank steel to new virgin Krupp steel.  A single Patton made 20 or so Pagodas.  The Patton steel had lingering design memories that were trumped by Krupp iron.  

Remember this the next time you reflect in your Pagoda.  Patton Karma is different than Krupp Karma.

Your Pagoda could have been an 88mm Howitzer in its previous life!!

...and your reference source for this claim?

First of all, the Patton Tank, (M46, M47, M48, M60) were not produced until 1950, post war.  At that point production was for need, and there were not thousands of "shot up" Pattons laying around for German steel makers to scavenge.

The Sherman tank (M4) was the main battle tank for the US Army in WWII.  Perhaps much of that surplus was scrapped in Europe in the late 1940's, maybe early 1950's, but I can hardly believe that there would still be enough of them around "by the mid to late 1960s".  That's a long time for scrap to sit around waiting for recycling.  I could be wrong, which is why I wanted to know the source of your information.

If 100% of the weight of a Sherman were recyclable steel, and the Pagoda's weight was all steel, one tank might provide enough steel for the 20 Pagodas claimed...however that neglects some facts such as some cast iron (engine block); cast aluminum (head); sheet steel, sheet aluminum, brass, copper, and non-metallic products adding to the weight.  All of those metals have differerent compositions.  Mercedes specified the steel, suppliers supplied it.  If it did not meet spec, it wasn't used--that's generally the case.

But the biggest suspect in the story is that the Pagoda was barely a blip on the radar of auto manufacture.  Volkswagen?  Citroen, Renault, Peugeot, Fiat, Opel, Ford?  All European manufacturers using a lot more steel that the Pagoda production ever consumed.

The claim also infers there was something suspect about the quality of the steel/iron used in the M4...anybody who has worked on Mercedes of the era, or any car of that era regardless of domicile, knows that they all rust pretty easily.

When I was researching the article on the American Mercedes published in The Star earlier this year, one of the sales tactics used by the importers of the German Mercedes (nearly identical) was "German Steel"; I suspected this claim and consulted a well known metallurgist.  He told me (and this was published) that the quality of steel in Germany and USA at the turn of the century was the same as they had the same processes.  The German quality was a marketing tactic.  Neither Mercedes--American or German--of the time flourished in the USA.
Title: Re: 230 vs 250 vs 280sl
Post by: Benz Dr. on June 22, 2011, 14:00:35
Quote
I drove a 250SE coupe for about a year and really liked the car. I also drove a 220SEb for a few years before that. Both were decent cars and are very much like a bigger 113 with nicer seats and interior.

Cool, Was the 220SEb the famous benz on which you cut your fuel-injection teeth, so to speak?

Quote
BTW  it's a binacle not a barnicle. One is living the other isn't.....
Blistering binnacles!  :D  Noted and corrected, thanks.

Waqas in Austin, Texas

I bought the 220SEb around 1980 or 1981 and learned quite a bit about it before I sold in in 1993.  The FI is much more difficult to sort out on the 220 cars than the later 6 element pumps used on 250 or 280SL's. If you can make a 220 run properly, you've done something.

I'm finding all of this discussion interesting but not that relevant. We don't have car show as a club, or whatever you'd like to call it, and although this might be important to someone restoring a car it makes little difference other than that.
If we ever have judged car shows, then all of this information IS important because you would loose points for things that aren't correct. Until then, we are instructed to go to MBCA events if we have any interest in such things. I'll reseve comment about that.....
Title: Re: 230 vs 250 vs 280sl
Post by: DaveB on October 30, 2011, 12:14:26
This is my list in order of preference:

1) Audrey Hepburn's car (must have original seats)
2) very early 230sl, ideally < #100
3) pre October '65 230sl, i.e. those with the exhaust headers, I think they sound great (but that could also be the hole in my muffler)
4) '67 250sl, for all the reasons previously mentioned
5) '68 250sl or 280sl, '66 or '67 230sl
6) '69-71 280sl
Prefer euro over US and manual over auto.
So, for me, 280sl rates lowest, though still way above almost anything else out there.

My 230sl is an original black plate Californian car from May '65. 4-spd manual, 4.08 rear, DB190 graphite gray with red tex interior and ivory trim. I have a ZF trans in storage in the UK waiting for an opportunity to transport here (to Australia). At least I think I have one, I still haven't had it unpacked to check. My mother's there at the moment so I might prevail on her to verify it for my peace of mind. I also have all the gear for 'europeanisation': a set of new euro headlights, kmh speedo and NOS early Italian/Australian tail lights with the amber reflectors.
I'd like to get the hardtop and hubcaps painted white gray, DB158. Not original to this car but was an original option at the time. In addition to its retro appeal, I believe this colour scheme should keep the interior measurably cooler. Another Australian in the group (forgotten who) remarked that the Australian summer is NOT convertible season and I absolutely agree. In fact, even driving a regular car here can leave one overexposed to the sun. I have had two skin cancers excised from my face, both on my right side. When I asked my doctor if this was a coincidence she said "no, it's from driving". So I'm kinda glad that my car is LHD.
Title: Re: 230 vs 250 vs 280sl
Post by: tel76 on October 30, 2011, 15:24:06
Where have i heard the story of someone with a ZF gearbox, on a pallete in the UK.
Did'nt it turn out to be a scam?
Title: Re: 230 vs 250 vs 280sl
Post by: DaveB on November 04, 2011, 09:54:19
Regarding that scam tel76, this is what happened:

I bought a ZF trans on ebay UK and had it shipped, crated on a pallet, to my uncle's farm in Worcestershire. Several months later one of the forum members, GGR, reported a ZF transmission for sale on Craigslist UK. The photos in the Craigslist ad were the exact same photos from the ebay page. The seller gave a fake address in Inverness. An internet search using 'ZF scam' or similar revealed that he or she had previously run a similar scam.

here's the forum topic:
http://www.sl113.org/forums/index.php?topic=13863.0

and the other reported ZF scam:
http://www.gt40s.com/forum/feedback-buyers-sellers-vendors/33193-zf-scam-watch-out.html

I repeatedly emailed Craigslist asking them to remove the ad but nothing happened. Basically there's no regulation on Craigslist so it's full of dodgy deals. Craigslist admits this themselves and give some good advice on combating scams:

DEAL LOCALLY WITH FOLKS YOU CAN MEET IN PERSON - follow this one simple rule and you will avoid 99% of the scam attempts on craigslist.
NEVER WIRE FUNDS VIA WESTERN UNION, MONEYGRAM or any other wire service - anyone who asks you to do so is a scammer.
FAKE CASHIER CHECKS & MONEY ORDERS ARE COMMON, and BANKS WILL CASH THEM AND THEN HOLD YOU RESPONSIBLE when the fake is discovered weeks later.
CRAIGSLIST IS NOT INVOLVED IN ANY TRANSACTION, and does not handle payments, guarantee transactions, provide escrow services, or offer "buyer protection" or "seller certification"
NEVER GIVE OUT FINANCIAL INFORMATION (bank account number, social security number, eBay/PayPal info, etc.)
AVOID DEALS INVOLVING SHIPPING OR ESCROW SERVICES and know that ONLY A SCAMMER WILL "GUARANTEE" YOUR TRANSACTION.

After all this time I have still not verified that there IS a genuine ZF trans in my unopened crate (I am in Australia). But everything seemed legit.
Title: Re: 230 vs 250 vs 280sl
Post by: Wolfmann on June 25, 2012, 16:43:13
Early 230 because it is the most glamorous chrome wise (and because it is early and I like the vertical spare wheel) OR a "first year" 250 with the 230 style door furniture and wheel trims etc because you get a few more main bearings a few more ft/lbs and lose none of the beauty of the 230.

280 is my last choice but still right at the top of my list of cars to own !!!!!

Steven.