Word of success gets around quickly. That the lucky owner of a Mercedes-Benz W 113 “Pagoda” managed to shake off his Porsche 356 trauma thanks to a suspension upgrade did not remain a secret in the classic car scene for very long. Time and again, the Porsche with the smaller engine pulled ahead of the “Pagoda” on twisty tracks. That was until BILSTEIN suspension expert Michl Klassik from Braunfels, Germany, finally succeeded in knocking some sense into the suspension of the two-seater roadster from the 1960s. Specially adjusted BILSTEIN mono-tube gas-pressure shock absorbers with the matching springs emphatically improved the handling of the W 113 – and put the Porsche in its place once and for all.
Fifteen additional orders for suspension tuning à la Michl for the cult roadster have already landed on the desk of the classic car expert. Just reward for the meticulous coordination work of Klaudia and Matthias Michl with the experts from BILSTEIN. The task was to give the Pagoda – the nickname is derived from the additionally available concave hardtop – more directional stability when braking at high speeds. To achieve this, the extreme nose dipping and lifting of the rear swing axle had to be prevented. The Mercedes engineers had taken over the suspension with recirculating ball steering and rear single-joint swing axle from the W 111 limousine.
In doing so, the specialists from Braunsfeld and Ennepetal did not want to pay for the considerably improved driving dynamics with uncompromising hardness and depth. After all, tight but still very comfortable springing for a sports car always has been a characteristic of the W 113 suspension. It also had to be ensured that the H-registration, which allows classic car owners to save tax in Germany, was not endangered after the suspension modification of the two-seater Mercedes-Benz folding-roof convertible, which celebrated its much acclaimed world premiere at the Auto Salon in Geneva in March 1963. Nor was the price to be considerably higher than that of the original shocks and springs. Very tight specifications for everyone involved. The high-performance BILSTEIN shock absorbers were installed, removed and modified time and again in the search for the ideal setup until the perfect characteristics for the W 113 were finally found. The BILSTEIN-based suspension is available for the W 113 types 230, 250 and 280 SL.
Michl calls this version of the suspension “sporty road”. The chassis lowering preferred for the W 113 is 25-30 mm. If this height adjustment does not suit you, you can compensate the difference through thicker spring pads from Mercedes-Benz. The complete offer for the “Pagoda” also includes a set of springs whose characteristics have also been specially adapted to the BILSTEIN high-performance shock absorbers in the W 113.