Auctions and Brokerage
This striking 280 SL was first sold to Dr. William Hombach of Montana. After serving as a flight surgeon in the Air Force during the Korean War, he settled into a private medical practice in his hometown of Billings where, according to records, he took delivery of his special order Pagoda on September 29, 1971. Maintenance stamps in the original owner’s manual confirm the doctor as a fastidious owner throughout some 50,000 miles of ownership, the majority of its total miles since new. After retiring to homes in Arizona and Florida, the 280 SL was sold after some 25 years of ownership to collector Mike Connors in St. Paul.
In 1997, with 59,000 miles on the odometer, Mr. Connors treated the matching-numbers engine to an extensive refurbishment to the tune of $12,000. Over the next 15 years, Mr. Connors continued to enjoy the Pagoda, adding just 10,000 additional miles in that period.
In 2012, the 280 SL was acquired by the consignor, a noted Southern California Mercedes-Benz collector and accomplished restorer. Recognizing the incredible condition of the car, he added it to his personal collection. Recently treated to a top-quality repaint in its original red (DB 576) , the Pagoda presents beautifully with its build-sheet-correct, contrasting (DB 40) Black hardtop and wheel covers.
Today, still showing less than 70,000 miles, the 280 SL exudes the irreplaceable air of a well-maintained, largely original car. Its interior is entirely as it left the factory, from the black MB-Tex seats and matching door panels, to the original carpeting, headliner, dealer-installed air-conditioning, Becker Europa radio, and wood accents, which have never required refinishing.
Outside, all of the hallmarks of an original Pagoda are present, from the fender notches near the inner headlight bezels, to the uninterrupted factory spot welds around the engine bay, and a dry and intact factory-finished trunk floor. All of the shut lines are consistent and well aligned, further suggesting that this is a sheltered and intact example. Also supplied with the car are tools, maintenance records, manuals, and the original owner’s embossed metal warranty plate.
The consignor states that this 280 SL exhibits strong power, smooth shifting, and the expected driving characteristics of a well-maintained, low-mileage car. As these collectible SLs are so capable and comfortable in modern traffic, they are becoming a logical choice on tours and spirited back road outings.
Fewer than 20,000 Pagodas of all types were imported to the US between 1963 and 1971, and far fewer remain today. Of those, some have not fared well over the years, and the best-preserved examples are now deservingly finding their way into extensive Mercedes-Benz collections. This well-documented 280 SL is poised to delight its next owner on display as well as on the road.