There are few motoring thrills that can surpass the euphoria that’s born from cruising down the open road while behind the wheel of a classic Mercedes-Benz roadster. Doing so in the most famous of Mercedes-Benz sports cars, the 300 SL, will cost you upwards of $1 million—based on recent collector car auction results, anyway. Fortunately, there are more affordable avenues you can venture down to capture that same rush of adrenaline.
The immediate successor to the 300 SL was built upon the automaker’s W113 architecture and unveiled in 1963 (with production extending through the 1970s). Offered across three generations—each one delivering an upgrade in power and torque over the preceding model—the most desirable of these roadsters during the late 1960s (and still today) is the 280 SL “Pagoda,” so nicknamed due to the shape of its slightly concave hardtop.
Should you be in the market for one, you could scour upcoming auction catalogues hoping the right model comes along without much competition—an unlikely reality given the model’s recent value appreciation. Or you could visit Arthur Bechtel Classic Motors, a German company that has specialized in the acquisition, service, and restoration of classic Mercedes-Benz vehicles for almost 50 years.
But Arthur Bechtel Classic Motors is more than just a private dealer of painstakingly restored classic German sports cars; it also offers clients the opportunity to order a 280 SL that is carefully restored to their own specifications. Through the firm’s classic car configuration system, customers first choose their desired model and then, by using Arthur Bechtel Classic Motor’s in-house color palates and material guides, they can select exterior color schemes and interior upholstery options, all of which conform to original Mercedes-Benz specifications.
Are you looking for a dark burgundy 280 SL with a bright ivory hardtop, Arabian Gray wheels and Parchment leather interior? Arthur, the owner and founder of Arthur Bechtel Classic Motors, and his son, Tim, the company’s CEO and managing partner, can build you one.
Maybe you’d rather be cruising around in a cabriolet-painted Horizon Blue with matching wheels and light gray leather upholstery. Arthur Bechtel Classic Motors can deliver that to you too.
The point is, with so many bespoke options and areas of customization, the configurator tool that Arthur Bechtel Classic Motors employs can almost guarantee that the classic Mercedes-Benz sports car that you’ve been dreaming of can be a reality. Best of all, with most of the company’s 280 SL Pagodas topping out at €245,000 (about $277,000), car enthusiasts can now own a stylish, personalized piece of classic German automotive brilliance for less than what the most expertly restored 280 SL example recently commanded at auction.
And while Arthur Bechtel Classic Motors also specializes in 190 SL Roadsters—cars that the firm’s CEO describes as “comfortable companions”—Tim declares clients simply cannot go wrong when choosing to own and drive a 280 SL Pagoda. “Without any doubt, it’s the driving experience that I love most about the 280 SL,” he says. “There is just no other classic car that brings so much joy and pleasure. Not only does it deliver sporty, distinctive and timeless design, but it offers disk brakes, power steering, an automatic transmission—plus air conditioning—which make it an outstanding everyday cruiser.”