Author Topic: 230 vs 250 vs 280sl  (Read 109702 times)

Douglas

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Re: 230 vs 250 vs 280sl
« Reply #50 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
Douglas Kim
New York
USA

Mike Hughes

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Re: 230 vs 250 vs 280sl
« Reply #51 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.
« Last Edit: August 25, 2009, 17:41:56 by Peter van Es »
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thelews

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Re: 230 vs 250 vs 280sl
« Reply #52 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?







John
1967 Early 250 SL Red/Caviar, Manual
« Last Edit: April 09, 2008, 12:45:15 by thelews »
Enjoy some pictures at this link:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/8292359@N06/sets/72157603240571101/show/

John - Wisconsin
1967 Early 250 SL Red/Caviar, Manual #1543
1961 190 SL 23K miles
1964 Porsche 356
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280SL71

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Re: 230 vs 250 vs 280sl
« Reply #53 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
1969 280 SL, Tunis Beige, Euro Model (Italy).
Can be seen at www.panix.com/~rmadison/mercedes.shtml

thelews

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Re: 230 vs 250 vs 280sl
« Reply #54 on: April 09, 2008, 20:18:33 »
Pictures of some of the areas of change...

Steering


Knobs


Windshield surround





Door






Gooseneck


John
1967 Early 250 SL Red/Caviar, Manual
Enjoy some pictures at this link:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/8292359@N06/sets/72157603240571101/show/

John - Wisconsin
1967 Early 250 SL Red/Caviar, Manual #1543
1961 190 SL 23K miles
1964 Porsche 356
1970 Porsche 911E
1991 BMW 318is
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Longtooth

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Re: 230 vs 250 vs 280sl
« Reply #55 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
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Chad

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Re: 230 vs 250 vs 280sl
« Reply #56 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

waqas

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Re: 230 vs 250 vs 280sl
« Reply #57 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.

Download Attachment: IMG_4748.jpg
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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
« Last Edit: April 11, 2008, 16:04:49 by waqas »
Waqas (Wa-kaas) in Austin, Texas

Benz Dr.

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Re: 230 vs 250 vs 280sl
« Reply #58 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
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waqas

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Re: 230 vs 250 vs 280sl
« Reply #59 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
Waqas (Wa-kaas) in Austin, Texas

Bob G

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Re: 230 vs 250 vs 280sl
« Reply #60 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
« Last Edit: April 13, 2008, 11:03:46 by 280SL71 »
Bob Geco

Longtooth

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Re: 230 vs 250 vs 280sl
« Reply #61 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#
« Last Edit: August 25, 2009, 17:40:17 by Peter van Es »

perry113

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Re: 230 vs 250 vs 280sl
« Reply #62 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.
« Last Edit: August 25, 2009, 17:42:38 by Peter van Es »
Peter Perry
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1970 280SE living 3.5 donor car

Longtooth

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Re: 230 vs 250 vs 280sl
« Reply #63 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.
« Last Edit: August 25, 2009, 17:39:44 by Peter van Es »

mflaten

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Re: 230 vs 250 vs 280sl
« Reply #64 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.
« Last Edit: August 25, 2009, 17:43:03 by Peter van Es »
Mark
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1986 Porsche Carrera
1959 Porsche 356A Convertible D

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JosephBach

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Re: 230 vs 250 vs 280sl
« Reply #65 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. 

abe280SL

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Re: 230 vs 250 vs 280sl
« Reply #66 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.
« Last Edit: September 07, 2009, 15:28:49 by abe280SL »

KenBourque

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Re: 230 vs 250 vs 280sl
« Reply #67 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.

thelews

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Re: 230 vs 250 vs 280sl
« Reply #68 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.
Enjoy some pictures at this link:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/8292359@N06/sets/72157603240571101/show/

John - Wisconsin
1967 Early 250 SL Red/Caviar, Manual #1543
1961 190 SL 23K miles
1964 Porsche 356
1970 Porsche 911E
1991 BMW 318is
1966 Jaguar XKE

Ulf

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Re: 230 vs 250 vs 280sl
« Reply #69 on: August 18, 2010, 12:40:22 »
I'd prefer one of each, but generally "older is better" applies to me...
1965 230 SL in silver (DB180)
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Wolfmann

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Re: 230 vs 250 vs 280sl
« Reply #70 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.
1964 230 SL RHD  UK Supplied. 050 White/Navy.
1987 Porsche 911 3.2 Coupe. Indian Red.

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dseretakis

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Re: 230 vs 250 vs 280sl
« Reply #71 on: June 19, 2011, 22:40:28 »
time for some pics Wolfmann
71 280SL, Tobacco Brown, 4 speed.

Wolfmann

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Re: 230 vs 250 vs 280sl
« Reply #72 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.
1964 230 SL RHD  UK Supplied. 050 White/Navy.
1987 Porsche 911 3.2 Coupe. Indian Red.

Previous :-
 308 GTB
355 GTB
911 (3.2 with 993 engine,"lightweighted")
911 (993)
R107 300SL

Raymond

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Re: 230 vs 250 vs 280sl
« Reply #73 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
Ray
'68 280SL 5-spd "California" Coupe

glenn

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Re: 230 vs 250 vs 280sl
« Reply #74 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!!
« Last Edit: June 22, 2011, 20:46:36 by glenn »