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230 SL, 250 SL, 280 SL
||Stuttgart Untertürkheim, Germany|
Mercedes-Benz W121 BII
||sports car, GT|
||2 door coupé, roadster|
||2308 cc M127.II I6|
2496 cc M129.II I6
2778 cc M130 I6
5-speed manual (ZF)
||2,400 mm (94.5 in)|
||4,285 mm (168.7 in)|
||1,760 mm (69.3 in)|
||1,305 mm (51.4 in)|
The Mercedes-Benz W 113 roadsters designed by Paul Bracq, were produced from 1963 through 1971. They were known as the "pagoda roof" SL. The W 113 replaced the W 198 SL in 1963 and were in turn replaced by the R107 SL in 1971.
All models boast an inline six-cylinder engine with multi-port fuel injection using a mechanical pump system adapted from the diesel motors. All are rear-wheel drive, but are also equipped with independent rear suspension, a feature that greatly improved road handling. Most of these early SLs were sold with both the removable hard top and a soft top in the so-called "Coupe/Roadster" configuration, but there was also a "California Coupe" version available that came with the removable hardtop but no soft top. In these models, the soft top well (between the passenger compartment and trunk) is removed, and a drop-down bench seat is installed in its place. The rear seat is small and not very useful, so these 2+2 models are rare but not especially sought after today. While the SLs are relatively heavy compared to other similar roadsters, weight was reduced in part by the use of aluminum panels for the trunk lid, front hood, tonneau cover and door skins.
By 1955, Mercedes-Benz Chief Engineer Prof. Fritz Nallinger and his team held no illusions regarding the 190SL's lack of performance, while the high price tag of the legendary 300SL kept it elusive for all but the most wealthy buyers. Thus Mercedes-Benz started evolving the 190SL on a new platform, model code W127, with a fuel-injected 2.2 liter M180 inline six engine, internally badged as 220SL. Encouraged by positive test results, Nallinger proposed that the 220SL be placed in the Mercedes-Benz program, with production commencing in July 1957.
However, while technical difficulties kept postponing the production start of the W127, the emerging new S-Class W112 platform introduced novel body manufacturing technology altogether. So in 1960, Nallinger eventually proposed to develop a completely new 220SL design, based on technology from the W112. This led to the W113 platform, with an improved fuel-injected 2.3 liter M127 inline-six engine and the distinctive "pagoda" hardtop roof, which was badged as 230SL.The new 230SL made a remarkable debut at the prestigious Geneva Motor Show in March 1963, where Nallinger introduced it as follows: "It was our aim to create a very safe and fast sports car with high performance, which despite its sports characteristics, provides a very high degree of traveling comfort.