Mercedes-Benz 230 SL Coupe (Pininfarina) (1964)
Two months later after the world premiere of the new W113 230SL at the Geneva Motor Show, in May 1963, Karl Wilfert, head of the bodywork department of the Sindelfingen plant, received a letter from the well-known bodybuilder Pininfarina (Pininfarina) asking for permission to create on W113 body original design. Permission was obtained and Pininfarin set to work.
It should be noted that in the 60s the creation of individual bodies based on serial models was not uncommon, and the Turin company Pininfarina was one of the leaders in the manufacture of individual original bodies. Strange as it may seem to us today, not everyone enthusiastically greeted the creation of Paul Bracq and Bela Barenyi, since the Chinese pagoda-style roof was very unusual and required getting used to. Also unusual was the general style of the car, which the modern press considered too rectangular with wide flat surfaces, which contradicted the image of a graceful roadster / coupe, especially from automotive trendsetters in this direction – the Italians. Therefore, Pininfarina’s desire to demonstrate her vision of the 230 SL seems natural.
The management of Pininfarina arranged a competition among their designers for the vision of a two-seat coupe based on the 230 SL and already at the first stage the project of a young 28-year-old American designer Tom Jaarda was chosen.
Tom decided to leave the platform, interior, most of the glass, optics, and radiator grille from the original body. When designing, Tom took into account the possibility of launching small-scale production, and possibly a complete replacement of the original body with a newly designed Mercedes-Benz plant.
In 1964, at the Paris Motor Show, a silver Mercedes Benz 230 SL coupe Pininfarina appeared before the public. The car was well received by the public and about thirty potential customers turned to Pininfarina with a request to manufacture such coupes. However, the coupe remained in a single copy, which was sold to the German newspaper magnate Axel Springer, after which the coupe received the second name “Springer’s Pagoda”.
After the Springer, the coupe went through several owners who repainted it in red and black colors, and also replaced the steel wheels with hubcaps with alloy wheels. In 1997, the car was restored to its original condition.
P.S. This car was sold during the 2022 Pebble Beach Concours week for an incredible amount of US 1,2 million.