1969 Mercedes-Benz 280SL – RHD / 5 Speed Manual ***Under Offer - Settlement Pending***


Oldtimer Australia is delighted to offer for sale a rare, factory right hand drive, 1969 Mercedes-Benz 280SL with a factory 5-speed manual ZF gearbox (option code 230).

It is understood that Mercedes-Benz built only 35 280SL’s equipped with the 5-speed ZF manual gearbox.

The Data Card on file, dated 10th March 1969, confirms that this car is a factory right hand drive example that was delivered new to Great Britain. The service book states that this car’s first service at 280 kilometres was executed by Mercedes-Benz in Salzburg, Austria which makes us believe this car was most likely a tourist delivery.  The Data Card confirms this car was originally painted dark olive green (paint code 291). The interior upholstery code is 139, which is bamboo coloured seats (trim code (8011) and brown carpets (carpet code 8008). The soft top was originally beige (soft top code 745).

The most important number on the Data Card is “230”. Option code 230 from 01.12.1965 to 30.09.1970 is “FIVE-SPEED TRANSMISSION”

The car was next serviced in the UK on the 9th June 1970 at 2,837 miles and then Spain on the 9th November 1970 at 5,786 miles, before it found a more permanent place of residency in Glasgow, Scotland. It didn’t remain in Scotland for long though. The service book shows it arrived in Australia early December 1971. The service book is then continuously stamped up to June 1988 at which time the mileage on the car was recorded as 119,857 miles.

At some stage after 1988 the car left Australia and headed across the Tasman for a stay in New Zealand. The car remained in New Zealand for the next 15 years, returning to Australia in 2003. There is an import approval on file issued 20th May 2003. Shortly after the car was imported back into Australia it was acquired by a well-known Mercedes Benz Type W113 enthusiast in Melbourne. At that time the car was fitted with a four speed gearbox. When, where and why this was fitted is not known. The car’s new owner was aware of the importance of this car, being an original factory RHD example fitted with a 5-speed ZF manual gearbox. He immediately fitted a 5-speed Gertrag gearbox and went searching for an original 5-speed ZF gearbox for the car. These gearboxes are unique the Type W113 Mercedes-Benz and not easy to find. He had almost given up when ZF announced they would manufacture a limited production run of the original 5-speed gearboxes if there was enough interest. Understandably there was strong demand and ZF gave the go ahead for a run of 250 gearboxes. Needless to say, the car’s then owner just had to have one! In his ownership the car was restored by well-known Mercedes-Benz specialist Reinhart Klavers in Victoria. The car was trimmed by Sale Motor Trimmers in Sale, Victoria. All the materials were acquired from KHM in Germany. Unfortunately, details of the restoration are not documented.

This 280SL was sold to the next owner c2008. He purchased the car as a surprise for his partner. As she was a big fan of anything ‘blue’, he decided to have the car repainted before surprising her. Over the next few years, the car was used sparingly.

The current owner, who lives on the Sunshine Coast, acquired the car c2017. He has also used the car sparingly in his six or so years of ownership.

Today the odometer reads 82,454 miles.

This is a car where the pictures do tell the story. The navy blue over tan colour scheme is stunning and suits the car perfectly. That said, the car would look equally stunning finished in dark olive green with bamboo upholstery and a beige soft top!

Even though this car is an older restoration, it still presents really well. The paintwork is almost fifteen years old and all the other work was completed almost twenty years ago. It has stood the test time and the car’s presentation and condition today belies the age of the restoration.

The navy blue paint still presents well and it retains a strong depth of colour and nice gloss finish throughout. There are some very minor paint blemishes here and there. The most noticeable imperfection is a repair around the left rear wheel arch. All the bright work on the car is in very good condition. The bumpers, the headlight surrounds, the window surrounds, the grill all present well. The glass, lights and the lenses are in an equally good condition.

The car is fitted with a hard top and a soft top. The hard top is painted in the body colour and it presents well though we did notice a small scratch near the front. The glass is all in good condition with no chips or signs of delamination. The black soft top appears to have hardly been used and is in excellent condition. It is tight and fits like a glove. Our view is the hard top is for occasional use only and it should be kept in the garage!

The wheels are fitted with the correct hub caps and like the hard top they are painted in the body colour of the car. They are in good condition with no curb rash. They are shod with Maxxis MA-1 205/75R14 tyres, which are oversize for the car. The tyres are date stamped week 10 2014. Given their age and the fact they are not the right size for the car, we recommend replacing them with a set of period correct 185R14 tyres all around to finish off the look of the car and improve its drivability.

The interior of the Type W113 Mercedes-Benz oozes quality. On this car it is there in spades and the tan interior perfectly complements the exterior paint and it is in very good condition. The seats provide ample support and there is no evidence of any tears or cracks in the leather. The door cards are similarly well presented and the carpets are also in a very good condition with no signs of any wear. The dashboard is a real feature on these cars. The almost oversize, yet very elegant white steering wheel and all the instruments with their chrome surrounds are timeless. The steering wheel is in good condition with just the right amount of patina. All the instruments on the car are clear and appear to be in good working order. The car is fitted with a period correct Becker Mexico radio cassette player which still works. In these cars the top of the dashboard is easily damaged by exposure to the harsh Australian sun. Fortunately, in this car the dash is in very good condition with no cracks or sun damage. The highlight of course is the delicate gear lever with the ivory gear knob that has the 1-2-3-4-5-R pattern. This is the giveaway that this is a very special car!

A nice touch is that this car retains a dealer delivery plate fitted to driver’s side door sill, which reads ‘Supplied by Callanders Engineering Co Ltd – Mercedes-Benz Distributors Glasgow’.

After having familiarised ourselves with the car it is time to take it out for our eagerly awaited test drive. Not surprisingly, we have never driven a manual 280SL before! The starting procedure is simple. The first step is of course to make sure the soft top is down. You then turn the ignition on, give the fuel pump a few seconds to do its job and then turn the key further to start the car. There is no need to use the accelerator when starting the car. The engine fires up at pretty much first crank, even from cold and it quickly settles into a smooth idle. First impressions are good.

Out on the road this car feels exactly as you would expect from a well sorted Type W113 Mercedes-Benz. Whilst the 230SL has its place and the 250SL is the rarest of the series, the 280SL represents the culmination of years of development and refinement of this iconic Mercedes-Benz. This car does everything with aplomb and even though we deal with these kind of cars on a regular basis, they keep surprising us. This 280SL is now over fifty years old (yes half a century!), yet it is still very nice to drive and it easily keeps up with modern day traffic. The steering is precise and direct without being heavy. The suspension is firm but it still provides that sensation that car just glides along the road. This car is frim and tight on the road. In summary, it just goes about its business in that typical Germanic Mercedes-Benz way.

A 280SL with an automatic gearbox is a refined, sophisticated cruiser. A 280SL with a 5-speed manual gearbox is a refined, sophisticated cruiser, but you can drive it! On this car the 5-speed ZF gearbox is easy to use and the gear changes are precise and direct. The 5th gear makes cruising on the motorway a more pleasant experience when compared to the ‘short’ four speed automatic or even four speed manual.

The current custodian of this exceptionally rare Mercedes-Benz 280SL has enjoyed his time of ownership and ticked off a lifelong bucket list item in the process. However, life has got in the way and he is now not using the car enough to justify keeping it. It is now time for a new home.

The car is accompanied by a full set of books, including a service book which is stamped up until1988, an original warranty card for the Becker radio, a Data Card, a reasonable history file, a tool kit, a jack and spare wheel.


  • rare factory RHD 280SL with the ZF 5-speed gearbox (option code 230).
  • Stunning original colour scheme new and repainted in an equally stunning colour scheme some 15 years ago.
  • Matching numbers chassis, engine and body.
  • All tags present and correct.
  • Hard top / soft top.
  • Ready to use and enjoy.



Following the outbreak of the First World War in 1914, Europe’s car industry was decimated. In Germany both Daimler and Benz went back to producing cars post-war, however, times were tough. A merger between Daimler and Benz would ensure that both companies survived and following a technical co-operation agreement in 1924, the companies formally merged on the 1st July 1926. Mercedes-Benz was born!

Subsequently, Mercedes-Benz went on to build some of the greatest cars of all time. The cars from Stuttgart bearing the three-pointed star all had one thing in common . . . they were renowned for their technical innovation, build quality, luxury and performance.

In the 1950’s Mercedes Benz produced one of the greatest cars of all time – the iconic 300SL Gullwing and 300SL Coupe. Whilst fabulous cars, they were very expensive and generally sold to the rich and famous. Mercedes wanted to build a sporting luxury car that still looked classical in the mould of the 300SL, but it had to be affordable and the plan was to build such a car in far greater numbers than the exclusive 300SL’s. Enter the Type W121 or 190SL as it became known in the mid 1950’s. This model was an outstanding success and circa 25,000 cars were built over the next 8 years of production. The formula worked and Mercedes Benz carried it on with great success in the 1960’s with the Type W113 230SL/250SL/280SL models. This evolved into the Type R107/C107 280SL(C)/350SL(C)/380SL(C)/450SL(C) models built throughout the 1970’s and 1980’s.

The Mercedes-Benz 230SL (Type W113.042) was first shown at the Geneva Motor Show in March 1963. Production started by June of that year and the car was a resounding success for Mercedes-Benz with 19,831 cars built in just over three and a half years of production.

In late 1966 the Mercedes-Benz 250SL (Type W113.043) was introduced. This model had many subtle improvements, but the most significant was an increase in engine size to 2,496cc giving the car significantly improved performance. The majority of the 5,196 250SL’s were built in 1967 before production ceased in early 1968.

By late 1967 the final iteration of the Type W113 cars, the Mercedes-Benz 280SL (Type W113.044) was introduced. The Type M180 engine was bored out to provide a total engine capacity of 2,778cc and a further increase in power and torque over its predecessor. Mercedes-Benz built 23,885 280SL’s taking the total number of Type W113 cars built to almost 48,912 over 9 years of production.

The Paul Baracq designed Type W113 Mercedes-Benz is today recognised as an all time classic. In recent years the demand for these cars has skyrocketed and the Mercedes-Benz ‘Pagodas’ have become highly sought after by collectors and enthusiasts worldwide


  • -
  • Mercedes-Benz 280SL
  • 1969
  • Convertible
  • Manual
  • 82,454 miles
  • 2778cc

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