The SL W113 Pagoda series is a staple at every collector car auction and the auctions held around the Scottsdale, Arizona area this January were no different. It’s interesting to note, that there was a marked decline in the number of Pagoda SLs offered this year over 2017, speaking directly to the state of the market of these cars. We’ve listed all the Pagoda SLs that were offered in Scottsdale this January and their selling prices, below (only one ‘no sale’ this year, noted in red).
While collector car auctions attract cars of all stripes, the number of a particular model that show up at auctions often reflect the market’s appetite for that particular car at that time. There is no doubt the Pagoda SL market has adjusted down since the highs we saw in 2014 and 2015. Buyers are better educated and more discerning. More cars have come to market since pagoda SL prices essentially doubled (or more) between about 2010 and 2015. It’s good to see that seller expectations are more realistic than they were in 2016 ad 2017, real cars changed hands this year in Scottsdale for market correct money. Forget about the pre-sale estimates established by the auction companies, all of these cars sold fairly for condition, a couple of them were probably even high prices for condition.
During Arizona’s ‘Auction Week’ in 2017 there were 21 Pagoda SLs offered for sale between Gooding and Co, RM Sotheby’s, Bonhams, Russo and Steele, Barrett-Jackson and World Wide Auctions. In 2018 there were were just 10 W113 cars offered by those same auction companies. Interestingly, RM Sotheby’s and Bonham’s didn’t offer a single W113 at their sales.
SL W113 Pagoda Offerings During Arizona Auction Week 2018
1966 230 SL BJ Lot 177.1 $59,400
1967 250 SL WW Lot 66 $59,400 (est. $55,000 – $75,000)
1968 250 SL G Lot 031 $71,500 (est. $125,000 – $150,000) Mercedes-Market’s Pre-Sale Prediction: $70,000*
1969 280 SL G Lot 054 $88,000 (est. $100,000 – $120,000) Mercedes-Market’s Pre-Sale Prediction: $85,000
1969 280 SL G Lot 109 $74,250 (est. $100,000 – $130,000) Mercedes-Market’s Pre-Sale Prediction: $80,000*
1969 280 SL BJ Lot 1026.1 $57,200
1970 280 SL RS Lot 754 $85,800 (est. $85,000 – $125,000)*
1971 280 SL RS Lot 536 $42,000 (no sale)
1971 280 SL RS Lot 695 $69,300
1971 280 SL WW Lot 56 $55,000 (est. $80,000 – $100,000)
*Click the cars listed above with * to see in depth auction analysis of that car on Mercedes-Market.com
When looking at the list above, it’s important to look at each car individually and know about each car in terms of condition and history if you want to really interpret the numbers and draw any meaningful conclusions. Remember, the value devil is in the details of these cars today. Original sheet metal is vital if you want a car to bring top dollar. All the body numbers need to be present, spot welds along the inner fenders and a ‘correct according to the data plate’ color combination.
A 280 SL Doesn’t Always Bring the Most Money
We’ve been conditioned to think that a 280 SL is always worth more than a 230 or 250, that’s not necessarily the case. Sure, all things being equal, the later 280 SLs usually bring the most money, but all of these cars are a little bit different at this point, they’re all almost 50 years old. Condition matters as well as color combination, ownership history and state of the mechanicals of the car. In Arizona we saw 230 and 250 SLs sell for more than a 280 SL.
What we witnessed in Arizona is confirmation that there is a ‘new normal’ in the Pagoda SL market… and in the collector car market as a whole. Seller’s have realized things aren’t what they were during the market highs of 2014 and 2015 and have accepted the new, more reasonable pricing, for their cars. Frankly, I’m encouraged by what we saw. Sure, auction estimates were pushing the limits, they always do, but bidders raised their paddles to reasonable levels for the W113 cars they were buying and the cars changed hands. The absence of any perfect, over the top restorations was interesting. I think those with the best of the best either simply choose to keep them in their collections or realize they probably won’t get the money they ‘need’ for them in today’s market. A really nice drive quality 280 SL shouldn’t cost more than $55,000 – $75,000 in my opinion. A driver quality 230 SL in the high $30,000s can still be found and the 250 SLs fall somewhere in between.