Mercedes-Benz introduced the W113 chassis in 1963 with
the 230SL. During its eight-year production life the W113 was also the
basis for two other 6-cylinder sports cars, the 250SL and the 280SL.
The 280SL, built from 1968 to 1971, is the basis for Wiking's newest
addition to their "Classic" series.
The prototype for Wiking's new model used the W113.044
Chassis and M130.983 engine. This was an inline six, SOHC powerplant
developing 195 horsepower. Weighing a rather unsportscar-like 2,992
pounds, the first 280SL rolled off the line in January, 1968. American
Mercedes-Benz dealers sold the 280SL, with a few minor modifications,
for all three years it remained in production. It was a very popular
model and many of the W113-series cars are still around, some even being
used as daily drivers.
Wiking's first model of a W113-series car, a 230SL convertible,
appeared in 1965 and remained in the catalog through 1978, going through
eighteen variations. There was also a special release in 1992, celebrating
40 years of Mercedes SL sports cars.
Thirty-six years after their 230SL's debut, Wiking has
released a "pagoda top" 280SL hardtop with lots of factory
details that would have been impossibly expensive on the original model.
Wiking model 834 39 26 made its debut at the 2001 Nürnberg Toy Fair
and has been shipping almost since the Fair ended in early February.
The new 280SL model is red with a light beige interior.
The chassis is black and nicely-detailed down to the exhaust pipe that
extends past a cut-out in the body. What really sets this model apart
is the quality of the detail paintwork. All the bright trim found on
the real 280SL is faithfully reproduced, including the trim strips on
the roof. The concentric bright rings on the body-colored wheels are
a nice touch. The slotted wheels on Wiking's model show this to be a
first-generation 280SL, as later production went to wheels with round
holes. Fine details, like the Mercedes star and "280SL" model
designation, are printed on the rear deck lid. Even though Wiking is
using silver paint, one of the most difficult colors, the print is nice
As with their other new models, Wiking takes great pains
with the interior of the 280SL. The dashboard features gauges and radio
controls and there's the correct two-spoke steering wheel. For the terminally-detail-oriented,
a few minutes with a brush and the dashboard will be perfect.
Perhaps the only fault is the one Wayne Calder constantly
calls to our attention: there's no outside rearview mirror. Other than
that, it's a beautiful model, ready to take its place in your collection
or on your layout.
In addition to the new 280SL, I want to mention another
Mercedes-Benz sports car from Wiking. It's been around a couple of years,
but it's definitely worth a first, second, or even third look. I'm talking
about Wiking's 1954 300SL Gull-Wing coupe. This little jewel features
opening doors and hood, see-through chrome grille and a wealth of beautiful
detailing. It doesn't have a rear-view mirror, either, but considering
the wealth of detail you get for your hobby dollar, this model ought
to be in your collection.
Wiking model 834 39 26 - 1968 Mercedes-Benz 280SL Hardtop.
Suggested Retail $12.00. Wiking model 833 02 25 - 1954 Mercedes-Benz
300SL Coupe. Suggested Retail $11.50 Manufactured by Wiking Modellbau
GmbH & Co. KG Berlin, Germany. Distributed in the U.S. by Flint
Imports, Lake Park, Florida.