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1966 Mercedes-Benz 230SL (W113) 'Pagoda' - ex Sir Stirling Moss OBE

Lot Number: 468

1966 Mercedes-Benz 230SL (W113) 'Pagoda' - ex Sir Stirling Moss OBE

The 'Moss Pagoda'. Sir Stirling's own 230SL built for him personally by the factory in 1966.

  • Sold for: £177,750

LIVE AUCTION: This lot was auctioned on Saturday 27th August, 2022 at 10.30am BST at The Wing, Silverstone Circuit, NN12 8TN

  • Body Colour

    Jaguar Pearl Grey

  • Drive


  • Registration Number


  • Odometer Reading

    79485 Miles


The 'Moss Pagoda'. Sir Stirling's own 230SL built for him personally by the factory in 1966.


The Mercedes-Benz 230SL is considered a landmark model that founded a sports car dynasty that would prove an enormous commercial success for the marque. Introduced at the Geneva Salon in March 1963 as replacement for the 190SL, the 230SL abandoned its predecessor's four-cylinder engine in favour of a 2.3-litre fuel-injected six derived from that of the 220SE and producing 150bhp. An instant classic, the body design was entirely new whilst, beneath the skin, the running gear was conventional Mercedes-Benz, featuring all-round independent suspension (by swing axles at the rear), disc front/drum rear brakes, and a choice of four-speed manual or automatic transmissions. Top speed was more than 193km/h. The 230SL even managed a debut competition victory, as Sporting Motorist  noted: "Performances of the Mercedes-Benz range in the competition field are legendary, and we think particularly of participation in the most rugged of rallies where the cars have proved their strength and stamina beyond doubt. Soon after the 230SL was announced, Eugen Bohringer drove one to victory in the Spa-Sofia-Liège Rally, and although competition outings are rare, this was the sort of debut one would expect from the Stuttgart factory." Christened 'Pagoda' after their distinctive cabin shape - devised by French automotive designer and classic car enthusiast, Paul Bracq - these SL models were amongst the best-loved sports-tourers of their day and remain highly sought-after by collectors.

The car’s abilities and good looks were not missed by a certain racing driver of the era, a young Stirling Moss, who had, by 1966, established himself as one of the greatest ever drivers to pilot a Mercedes-Benz. In 1954, Moss started to drive for Maserati in Formula 1, but in the same year he was signed by Mercedes-Benz racing manager Alfred Neubauer as a driver for the 1955 season. This was a pivotal moment in Moss’ career, as he had become a member of what was then the most successful racing team in the world. 1955 was a formidable year for Moss and Mercedes-Benz, he and co-driver Denis Jenkinson won the 1955 Mille Miglia, with an average speed of 157.65km/h. The two Brits therefore set a new record time for the ‘1,000 miles’, which still stands today, their time on this legendary road race has never been beaten and is never likely to be.

The second great triumph for Moss in 1955 was his victory at the British Grand Prix on 16th July at Aintree in the Mercedes-Benz W196R. Moss was the first Brit to win this prestigious race and he led a quadruple victory for the ‘Silver Arrows’, followed by his team colleagues Juan Manuel Fangio, Karl Kling, and Piero Taruffi.

In the Spring of 1966, Stirling was thinking about a new road car and the Pagoda was top of the list. According to the book ‘Mercedes W113: The Complete Story’, Moss had been so impressed with the W113 that he personally wrote a letter to his former race chief, Alfred Neubauer, saying: "In all the years I have been driving, I cannot remember ever driving a car that I would have liked to own more (except for racing cars!)"

Again, from the same book, Moss was extremely keen to get hold of an early, more powerful 250SL, but the factory had only begun producing left-hand drive examples for the US-market. Supposedly, those with enough ‘clout’ could convince Mercedes-Benz to do a ‘special order’ of models not yet in wider production. Furthermore, Moss personally requested (and apparently insisted) that his car should also come with another exclusive feature, this being that the car’s hardtop should have a distinctive opening roof vent; we understand this to be a unique feature, to honour Moss’ exacting wishes; the flap and hinges were specially engineered by Mercedes-Benz for this Pagoda to the same standard/spec as found on the 300SL ‘Gullwing’ and this vent is believed to be unique on any Pagoda.

Mercedes-Benz accommodated the wishes of their Grand Prix and Mille Miglia winner, choosing to give him the UK-spec car displayed at the 1966 Earls Court Motor Show, but specially fitted by the factory with the bigger M129 engine from the 250SE (the 250SL was introduced as a right-hand drive model in early 1967) and the roof vent. Interestingly, the data-card for Moss’ Pagoda shows the rare reference ‘Code 992 - engine must be specially selected on the Dynotech for best maximum performance’ – very fitting for such a recipient!

Loyal to the brand, and no doubt with a PR opportunity in mind, Moss and Mercedes-Benz arranged for the car’s collection from the factory, the moment captured in a famous historic photograph (see image), which was published with the caption “Former racing driver Stirling Moss, 36, being ‘flagged away’ by his old chief, Alfred Neubauer, 75, when he visited Stuttgart, Germany, to pick up his new Mercedes-Benz 230SL sports car. In the passenger seat is Stirling's wife Elaine"

Moss’ affection for his brand-new Pagoda was evident, as he assigned his very distinctive registration number, 'M7', to it (seven being his lucky number). Accompanying paperwork in the car’s history file confirms this, showing it was registered with Greater London Council, and benefitting from a service in Mayfair (where Moss lived) at 11,136 miles. Moss thoroughly enjoyed the car and can be seen in the driver’s seat of it captured in another period photograph (see image attached), we believe in attendance at Silverstone with his friend Rob Walker.

Moss’ association with the ‘Pagoda’ model was also used in a commercial context, with him stood next to a similar left hand drive car (made to look like his actual car bearing the ‘M7’ registration number) in numerous advertisements for ‘J Wax’, with one using the strapline ‘Stirling Moss tells how to keep your car looking new – like his’

The car presented here is Sir Stirling Moss’ 1966 Mercedes-Benz 230SL (W113) Pagoda, accompanied by a copy of its original factory special order form which is made out to ‘Stirling Moss of London, England’, a copy of its data-card, its original service booklet, handbooks and historic registration documents – with numerous references to Moss being the first owner and confirming the car’s special features and fascinating provenance. Remarkably, the car also has a fully documented history of ownership, servicing and mileage up to the present day - there are green logbooks, receipts, MOT Certificates, bills of sale and associated paperwork going right back to 1966!

Following Moss’ ownership, in 1968, the car was bought by a Mr Mitchell, and wore the registration number ‘0017’. Again, the car’s history file documents servicing between 1968 and 1974 (14,336 - 49,700 miles) in Brentford, Chelmsford and Chingford. In November 1970, there is an invoice for the car being repainted in Jaguar Pearl Grey (the colour it still wears today).

In October 1974, according to a purchase receipt, it was sold via Hurst Park Automobiles of Surrey to a Mr McBride (who part-exchanged his Ford Granada Estate as part of the deal). Mr McBride subsequently took the car to Northern Ireland and had the registration ‘BO13’ assigned to it. He routinely (between 1974 and 1976, and 49,700 - 72,728 miles) had it serviced at Isaac Agnew Ltd of Belfast, a very well-known Mercedes-Benz main dealership. Mr McBride was friendly with the Sales Director of the dealership, a Mr Jack McAleer. Jack was a highly revered figure within the NI car community, known as ‘Mr Mercedes’, having started at Isaac Agnew Ltd as a 16-year-old, working his way up to become the Sales Director. He dedicated his working life to promoting and selling Mercedes-Benz cars, working with the marque for some 54 years, an achievement acknowledged with a special award from Mercedes-Benz. Being such a brand stalwart, Jack subsequently bought the car from Mr Mitchell, registering it in September 1977. The Pagoda formed part of a small collection of very special Mercedes-Benz cars owned by Jack, proudly displayed for a time in his showroom as a centrepiece, being well-known as the ‘Moss Pagoda’. So much so, that in February 1981, again captured in a period photograph, Moss visited the dealership and enthusiastically signed his former car’s service booklet (on page 13), with Jack looking on.

During the 1980s, the car was moved to live at Jack’s nearby family home, a large but not ostentatious Victorian house. The story goes that Jack sold some of his Mercedes-Benz cars to fund the renovation of the original garage at the house into a proper snooker room, with two adjoining annexes. The car resided in an annex, whilst snooker and socialising were enjoyed nearby. With the popularity of snooker at its peak, and with Jack’s connections and typical Irish affability, the car was admired and talked about in the company of such luminaries as Ray Reardon, Alex Higgins and Barry McGuigan, all being guests of Jack. The car’s boot made a good store for spare snooker balls apparently! In her youth, one of Jack’s daughters Sarah remembers the car going to various classic car events; on one occasion, at the request of Jack, it was swiftly returned to the house on a trailer as it had started to rain, and Jack didn’t want it to get wet!

The car remained safely tucked-away in Jack’s snooker room, with the family growing up around it, not really questioning why a car lived in the house, before it was utilised as part of a five-car SL display at the dealership to celebrate the launch of the new R230SL in 2002. Jack sadly passed away in June 2012, after which the ‘Moss Pagoda’ was gifted to his daughter. In October 2019 the car was moved out of the house and into storage at local well-respected Mercedes-Benz specialists, unsurprisingly run by a long-term friend of Jack and his family. Apart from the colour change in 1970, we understand the car to be wholly original and unrestored, it being ‘as it was’ when owned by Sir Stirling Moss. Indeed, the unique hardtop is still present and operational, as is the original factory-fitted radio, whilst the larger Moss-requested engine starts and runs well. The car's low mileage of 79,485 is correct and fully verifiable (via much supporting paperwork). It must be noted that the car has been sitting a while but has been run-up regularly and stored well over the years. It has recently benefitted from some fresh fuel and a new battery, but will require some further recommissioning, especially to the brakes. Given everything, especially its original state of preservation, surely there is no other Pagoda more worthy of being returned to its former glory by a new owner - what a hugely rewarding task.

Over the years, Silverstone Auctions has been privileged to sell many classic cars owned by prominent figures and celebrities. However, it is not often we have had the opportunity to sell a particular car with such a strong association to its original owner – a Mercedes-Benz personally chosen and specified by Sir Stirling Moss, not just one of the greatest racing drivers for the Mercedes-Benz marque, but one of the greatest racing drivers ever and rightfully recognised as a true British icon. This is a very special opportunity to buy a legitimate piece of both British and motor racing history, a car with genuine and verifiable provenance, a history file going back to when it was new, coming to market for the first time in 45 years, and from a family’s loyal and dedicated ownership. It is a real honour to represent it at auction, in the very fitting setting of Silverstone circuit.



Lot Number
Registration Number
Chassis Number
Engine Number
Body Colour
Jaguar Pearl Grey



For further information regarding this lot please contact Joseph.





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