1963 Mercedes-Benz SL Pagode
Year of manufacture1963
Number of seats2
Ex-Carel Godin de Beaufort, 1963 Vaals Hillclimb
1963 Mercedes-Benz 230SL Pagoda with Hardtop
Chassis no. 113042-10-000249
Engine no. 127981-10-000285
In the era of gentleman racers, Carel Godin de Beaufort helped define on the world stage exactly what this title meant. His imposing size and eccentric behavior made him a popular figure at racetracks around the globe and resulted in his receipt of the Von Trips trophy for best privateer in 1962. An iconic figure of the kind rarely seen in modern times, de Beaufort established the Ecurie Maarsbergen team, with its coat of arms adorning the many cars he and his team mates raced over the years. The Maarsbergen Castle is his historic home in the Netherlands, a home where his sister still resides and an estate that is a center for many notable events.
The SL on offer was delivered to de Beaufort on September 10, 1963 per the Mercedes-Benz Data Card. Caracas, Venezuela is written as its point of final destination, the address of a friend, which we believe thanks to key indicators was likely used for tax purposes. de Beaufort and his newly acquired SL shortly thereafter, journeyed alongside a very illustrious orange open-wheeled Porsche and entered the pair in the Dutch "Heuvelklim Vaals", or Vaals Hillclimb, on September 14. It was a day of notable achievement for the racer known as The Flying Dutchman, placing second in class with the 230SL while taking first in the Porsche 718 Grand Prix car, setting a new record of 50.8 seconds (images on file show the Mercedes traveling at full speed along the course and another of the Porsche heading up the hill). As can be seen, affixed to the front of the Mercedes is a temporary license plate of German origin; shortly after the hillclimb, the 230SL is said to have embarked on an ocean voyage with the Porsche to compete in the UK's Oulton Park International Gold Cup where de Beaufort finished tenth in his now outdated 718. It was then sent to the U.S. and Mexican Grand Prix.
Of interest in the vehicle's history file is an article by Dutch car magazine Auto-Visie. Concerning de Beaufort's upcoming Grand Prix races, captions below a photo of the Porsche and the 230SL at the port read, "Carel with two of his cars in front of the Maasdam of the Holland America Line, in the port of Rotterdam. With the Mercedes 230SL he's making a road trip through America", leading the notion that de Beaufort may have driven his SL extensively whilst in the United States and Mexico. Chassis 000249 is next recorded in the U.S. in the late 1970s, owned by a member of the "Parker Pen" family who would retain ownership until the mid-1980s when it was sold to George Parker III's college friend, Bob Roer. Some years later Mr. Roer sold it to his brother-in-law, Dwight Saunders, and it has been in the U.S. state of North Carolina ever since, now under the care of the present owner.
Early production vehicles often represent the purest, most idiosyncratic and most anomalistic when compared to later production examples. Those fortunate enough to have attended the Vaals hillclimb in 1963, would have been witness to one of the very first pagodas, no. 000249. His early 230SL's unique elements can be seen upon the lightest of inspections. Under the hood, the spark plug hardware is routed through the rare Edition A metal wiring guide. In the trunk, the vertical spare tyre is seen in very few examples whilst inside, the driver can enjoy another treat of 230 SL motoring - a classic round horn ring steering wheel.
Chassis 00249 carries a remarkable early history that has only recently been discovered. In late August of 1963, the factory prepared 230SL rally car scored its now legendary initial victory in the grueling Spa-Sofia-Liege rally, piloted by Eugen Böhringer and Klaus Kaiser. Just two weeks later de Beaufort displayed his Grand Prix-level skills in his own 230SL at the Vaals hillclimb. The Böhringer car is long gone, but its history proved important enough that Mercedes-Benz commissioned a re-creation for museum and concours appearances. Presented here is a Mercedes-Benz 230SL of historic significance, its true identity unknown to anyone for over fifty years. It awaits its debut at concours and historic events, and perhaps a return to hillclimb competition once again.
Please note this motor car is subject to the reduced local import tax should it remain in the EU.
Bonhams is the guarantor of the customs duties and taxes clearance: consequently, this motor car cannot be released to the buyer or his transporter immediately after the sale.