The short article below, a focus on Mercedes W113 Pagoda Values, and the accompanying price chart (for 6 condition levels) first appeared in the March / April 2015 issue of the SL Market Letter. If you like this article and the price chart, visit our ‘Subscription’ page to learn more and to download a free sample issue of the SL Market Letter in PDF format. There is a price chart or two, like the one below, covering all kinds of Mercedes models, in every issue. The SL Market Letter is printed and mailed to subscribers 6 times a year. If you’re serious about collectible Mercedes-Benz cars from all decades, you might enjoy a subscription. We cover NOT just SLs, but ALL collectible Mercedes Benz… Sedans, coupes, even wagons!
Mercedes W113 Pagoda SL owners have been on a roller coaster ride making sense of the value of their cars since new. Wild swings in demand for this series has confused generations of owners. Much of the cause was independent of the car itself. For starters an extreme climb in the value of German Marks to US dollars in the 1970s literally tripled the suggested US retail price of the Pagoda’s successor 450 SL. Its suggested US price grew from $11,059 (‘72) to $35,875 (‘80). This caused an intense demand for used Pagodas and early 450 SLs. Owners were invited to sell their Pagodas back to M-B dealers for more money than they paid for them when new. Sometimes double! As word travelled it attracted purchasers of new Mercedes-Benz too, believing the phenomena would never end. It did come to a screeching halt in 1982 when exchange rates leveled and new 380 SL prices changed less than $1,000 during the next four years. For the subsequent 15 years Pagoda SL prices remained on a frustrating plateau, barely differing sufficiently for condition differences. Adding indignity, the older, smaller, four cylinder 190SLs began eclipsing Pagoda values. Many owners that bought “expecting” appreciation gave up and sold their cars.
“That Certain Age”
In retrospect the Mercedes 230/250/280 SL series did nothing themselves to warrant tripling in value and the subsequent plateau was equally non self-inflicted. 190SLs grew in value first simply because they were a decade older.
As the price chart shows, Pagoda SLs have finally reached that certain age where demand exceeds supply; more nostalgia than savable cars; just spoils for loyal owners, preservationists and restorers? Even miserable examples have growing value as parts cars. Maybe the phenomena won’t end after all!