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Built during July 1968, this remarkably original early-production Mercedes-Benz 280 SL was delivered new to its first owner, a US Navy serviceman, at California’s Point Mugu Naval Air Station on August 23, 1968. In addition to the Code 576 G Red exterior finish, original features and options included a four-speed manual gearbox, color-matched hardtop, black soft top and upholstery, US-specification instruments, a driver’s-side mirror, Becker Europa AM/FM radio, paint protection, tinted windshield, hardtop trim strips, whitewall tires, and Coco floor mats.
The SL was enjoyed and diligently serviced by the original owner until August 1972, when the second owner from Soquel, California, acquired it. In 1984, Stahl Motor Company Mercedes-Benz of Monterey removed and replaced the original engine (numbered 130.983.10.001110), which matches the data card and does accompany the sale of the car. In 1994, the owner gifted the car to his niece, who took it with her to Massachusetts when she accepted a college-teaching position. Kept mainly in her garage, the SL accumulated just 829 miles during her 17-year ownership. The consignor, who acquired the car in 2011, has driven it only sparingly, and the odometer currently reads approximately 62,000 miles.
Aside from a bare-metal exterior refinish in two- stage BASF Glasurit 576 Red completed during July 2013, with most rubber body seals replaced, the SL remains unrestored and largely original. Close inspection during the repaint confirmed that the SL retains all factory-original sheet metal, and the body panels align with consistent gaps along the entire vehicle. The chassis and undercarriage are extremely clean, suggesting this car was not exposed to harsh elements. The engine compartment has clearly been well-maintained and the trunk was resprayed in matte DB 7164 Tiefdunkelgrau (very dark gray). The original Firestone Phoenix spare tire remains in place, along with the original tool roll. The original interior is very nicely preserved, notwithstanding some carpet wear at the footwells, and is complete with a set of reproduction Coco floor mats. Quite recently, a new black Haartz canvas soft top from California’s German Auto Tops with correct tan headliner was fitted.
The original literature pouch is supplemented by documents confirming the vehicle’s initial delivery information, plus the original production-data card, and original Becker radio manual. The engine is believed to have logged less than 8,000 miles since its installation and the SL is reported to start, run, and drive very well, with proper steering action and recently serviced brakes. Attractive and well sorted, this manual-gearbox-equipped 1968 280 SL marks a wonderful example of the final and most refined model of the beloved Mercedes-Benz W113 series.