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History of the mercedes 280sl
Launched in December 1967 as part of the new W113 design range, the first Mercedes 280SL was the successor to some truly acclaimed cars like the W198 300SL and W121 190SL. In keeping with its predecessors it kept a fuel injected straight six, but with capacity increased to 2.8 litres to produce 170bhp. Unlike its predecessors, however, there was the option of either a 5 speed manual or an automatic over the standard 4 speed transmission.
The Mercedes 280SL was not quite cast in the same sportscar mould as its ancestors, but instead had been created as a sports tourer, offering comfort and refinement in addition to its performance and handling qualities. The option of coupé or convertible body added extra versatility.
Discontinued in February 1971, the Mercedes 280SL sold nearly 24,000 units worldwide, with only minor updates throughout the production run proving the quality of the original design.
R107 Mercedes 280SL
Carrying on in the sports tourer role, the new R107 class was launched in 1971 but it wasn’t until July 1974 that a new Mercedes 280SL went on sale. It retained a 2.8 litre straight six but the 182bhp twin-cam engine was new. Originally equipped with mechanical fuel injection an electronic system was introduced in 1976. The 280SL was originally sold with a 4 speed manual transmission, however, a 5 speed unit was made standard in 1981, with an automatic transmission available as an option.
The Mercedes 280SL was sold as a convertible with an available hardtop, with the model also spawning the 280SLC, a coupé variant based on the same chassis.
The 280SL was discontinued in 1985 having sold over 25,000 cars worldwide with notable sales in the USA, its place in the market being filled by the new 300SL.