1964 Mercedes 230 SL for Sale

PRICE $32,000

LOCATION – Austin, Texas
Buyer to arrange shipment

I purchased this running, driving car some 8 years or so ago from a guy up in Dallas, Texas, so the car has at least been in Texas climate for some time.  I drove and enjoyed the car for about a year, but from the beginning it was obvious the engine was tired.  Compression had dropped well below 100PSI in all cylinders.  Additionally, the paint, while very acceptable, did have some flaws, and I wanted the car to be perfect.  So.. I committed the unpardonable sin.. I simultaneously removed the engine for overhaul, AND stripped all the exterior and interior trim with the intent of painting.

I did get the engine overhauled in short order.  The head was completely reworked (new valve guides and seals, and valve job) by a reputable cylinder head shop here in Austin (owner since deceased).  The block was bored for oversize pistons, and the whole engine was assembled with assistance from a local independent Mercedes-only specialty shop.  Of course the crank was ground for new bearings, both main and rod, and the engine got a new (VERY EXPENSIVE) oil pump, just in case.  Additionally, new timing chain and guides.  In short, a professional and complete rebuild.

Additionally, at that time, I had discovered rust in two of the floorboards.  I acquired oem-style replacement floor panels, carefully removed the old panels by painstakingly cutting out the spot welds, one by one.  The new panels went in the same as original, with factory-style spot welds.  After that, although there are a few minor small rust spots, the car is solid and ready for restoration.  There is no rust visible in any of the exterior body panels or trunk area.

Then.. the engine sat on a test stand, uninstalled, until just this summer.  It seems in the interim, I got distracted by a number of other classic cars I acquired along the way, each one of which kept me away from my intended Mercedes restoration.  These cars included:  1972 Ferrari 365GTC/4, 1965 Corvette, 1951 Hudson Hornet, 1959 MGA Roadster, 1972 BMW 3.0CS coupe, among others!  Since the engine was overhauled, is has been kept in a dry, enclosed area, and I have religiously turned it over monthly, and squirted “fogging” oil into each cylinder through the spark plug hole.  Of course, during initial assembly, all the internal parts were liberally bathed in oil and/or assembly lube. The engine has never been started nor run since its full overhaul.

Now, at age of 75, I find I just no longer have the will or desire to bring this Mercedes back to fully restored condition.  Everything on the car has been reassembled and all the drivetrain has been installed, but I have NOT attempted to start the rebuilt engine.  I will leave that to the new owner.

It is now ready for the next owner to take it to the next level.

As I have cleaned up the exterior of the car, I find that the current paint finish is actually quite acceptable for a driver-quality car.  It polishes up nicely and looks good, with the exception of a couple of small dings and imperfections which I have documented in the photos.  The paint/body imperfections I can find are as follows:

  •   A small metal deformation (not rust) near the rocker area just forward of the driver’s door.. obviously some sort of impact in the past
  •   a quarter-size dimple and paint flake-off on the driver side front fender
  •   Some minor abrasions on the passenger side hood corners, both front and rear, as well as some chips on the leading edge of the hood

Honestly, one could repaint the hood (bonnet) and the convertible top cover (I stripped the paint from that due to cracking), and touch up a few scratches, and would have a very decent looking car without a full repaint.

Photos are viewable from this online gallery:

Here are further details on the car:

VIN 11304212003139

1964 Mercedes Pagoda

Color.. original parchment white (near as I can determine)

ENGINE is a 2.8L as those installed on the later 280SL’s.. it is physically similar  to to the original engine, but with additional horsepower

The engine has been completely overhauled, including: rebored cylinders and new pistons; new valve guides and valves where needed, all new bearings (main, rod, camshaft), new oil pump, etc.  It has ZERO hours operation since overhaul, I kept thinking I was going to get the car on the road again, but it never happened, so no attempt has been made to start the engine, other than monthly turnover, and occasionally a bit of fogging oil through the spark plug holes to keep the cylinders lubricated.


Much of the exterior and interior chrome pieces have either been rechromed or replaced, including windshield trim, much of the chrome dash trim and both front and rear bumpers.


Virtually every rubber gasket/trim piece on the car has been replaced with new.  This includes door gaskets, trunk, windshield, and hard top pieces.  All these pieces will be provided uninstalled so that the new owner can determine any repainting deemed necessary prior to permanently gluing these gaskets in.


The interior is in beautiful condition, considering the age.  All the carpet is beautiful with minimum wear; the door panels are in excellent condition; likewise the seats, which are of top quality construction and installation, unlike some of the “slip over” covers commonly seen on these cars.  There are a couple of small puncture marks on top of the driver’s seat, possibly from a previous owner’s cat? The gauges are clear and the chrome surrounds are in nice shape, only needing a bit of polish to bring back original luster.  New gauge-to-dash gaskets have been installed.  ALL of the interior wood is brand new and beautiful.  The only exception is the wood trim around the hard top window, which has been refinished to a high standard.

The convertible soft top, dark blue, is original style German heavy canvas, and is in generally good condition with the exception of some abrasion and cut on both sides where the metal frame rubs when the top is stowed in its well (a common issue, due to the incredibly tight space allotted for the top).  These could possibly be repaired by a good upholsterer, but the inner “headliner” cloth is fragile.  It is possible that a new soft top would be appropriate.


The trunk is in very nice condition,  and includes the original jack, as well as several repair manuals


All wheels, including the spare, are the optional, expensive, and desirable “Bundt” style cast aluminum wheels.



Automatic, functioned perfectly when the car was “decommissioned”


Included, in nice condition, wood trim has been refinished.  Hardtop rolling stand is included


Assuming the next owner will consider painting, I have left uninstalled (but all very carefully marked as to location) the following:

  • Windshield and rubber gasket (both will be securely taped in place with Gorilla tape for safe transport)
  • Miscellaneous welting and chrome trim for the door surrounds
  • Drivetrain recommissioning:
    • New fluids.. engine oil, transmission oil, differential, and coolant
    • Double check ignition timing and valve clearances
    • Confirm correct routing of coolant hoses
    • Engine pre-oil if possible
    • Gas Tank has been drained and empty, but it would be easy to remove it and check for cleanliness before filling
    • Install 2 driveshaft center support bolts (They are tie-wrapped there, but require dexterity to install)
    • Reconfirm all electrical connections to the engine, starting, and charging system
  • Attach speedometer cable at gauge AND at transmission.. the mount lug on the transmission has broken, but the piece is provided and can be welded in place
  • Reconnect fresh air vents and cables
  • Bleed brakes and check as needed
  • Positively mount the speedometer and tachometer with the brackets provided
  • Attach remaining  rubber gaskets (including windshield
  • Passenger side hood hinge has lost one of the two captive nuts.  A nut plate of some sort will need to be fabricated to completely secure that hinge