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Little Classics News: 12 November 2015

Classic Fashion Pagoda Joins NEC Classic Motor Show

1971 Mercedes-Benz 280SL ‘Pagoda’

A 1971 Mercedes-Benz 280SL ‘Pagoda’ once owned by noted London fashion house proprietor Joan Burstein is one of the stars at this year’s Lancaster Insurance Classic Motor Show, held 13-15 November at Birmingham’s NEC.

Joan Burstein CBE, also known as ‘Mrs B’, is well-known in couture circles, opening her shop, Browns, in London’s plush South Molton Street in 1970. Browns later expanded from a small basement to occupy more space as her name – and discovery of designers including Alexander McQueen, Calvin Klein, and Donna Karan – developed.

To celebrate the business opening she ordered the dark blue/red interior Mercedes, taking delivery of it in January 1971.

1971 Mercedes-Benz 280SL ‘Pagoda’ interior

Maintained by Hampstead-based Otto Schmitt, whose business carried out servicing for main dealer Alan Day, Otto’s son Robert looked after the car for the next 42 years and was promised first refusal if Mrs B decided to sell it.

That promise came true two years ago when Robert Schmitt bought the car when it covered a genuine 80,000 miles from new. It has since had a no-expense spared restoration with the help of Autohaus London, involving bare-metal repaint and a re-trim using correct-specification leather, carpet and hood. Under the bonnet the engine has been sympathetically restored to appear just as it did when new.

Immense care was taken with the final detailing, for example both the rocker cover and the woods were not over polished but sympathetically restored.

“Originality was always considered and respected,” explains Daniel Lachter from Autohaus. “We’ve gathered bills totaling over £62,000 along with a pictorial record of the bare metal repaint, which have been retained to enhance the car’s history. This is a stunning car with an exceptional story. A real classic beauty.”

This model is certain to receive plenty of attention when it’s displayed at Birmingham’s NEC, not only from long-term Mercedes-Benz enthusiasts, but also hobby newcomers too.

See this amazingly restored classic car on stand 615 in Hall 3.



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