The term "icon" gets thrown around a lot, but if there was ever an automobile that deserved the honorific, certainly the Mercedes SL is one of them. Now in its sixth generation, the SL has been the prototypical German roadster since the 1950s. A sports car with that long a history will inevitably attract a great many collectors, but with values of first-generation 300 SLs and 190 SLs skyrocketing, those enthusiasts without bottomless pockets are turning in growing numbers to the second generation.

Known as the Pagoda due to the design of its removable hardtop, the W113-generation SL arrived in 1963 and stayed in production until 1971. By that point Mercedes had built nearly 50,000 of them, selling over 19,000 of those in the United States alone. Through three engine variants – dubbed 230, 250 and 250 SL – and numerous body-styles, all featured an inline-six, transmitting to the road through manual or automatic transmissions with four or five gears. More of a cruiser, then, that an outright sports car, but one that warrants its place in the history of the automobile.

In this latest episode, Drive travels to Bangkok to profile a local enthusiast and collector. That's a rather difficult undertaking in Thailand, where it's illegal to import old cars, but Sittisan Quan Sundaravej rises to the challenge, locating classics together with like-minded local enthusiasts. The heart of his collection, though, isn't one he acquired, but rather inherited from his late father. That's the kind of provenance you can't buy.


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