Designed by Tom Tjaarda for Pininfarina, this Mercedes-Benz is truly one of a kind.
Debuting at the Geneva Auto Show in March of 1963, the Mercedes 230 SL received great acclaim. Internally known as the W113, the model would yield 50,000 units, all with identical bodywork, with one exception. This specific Mercedes-Benz 230 SL Coupe Speciale is a product of Pininfarina’s idea of creating a coupe version of the car.
Mercedes veered from the bulbous curves and rounded features to create the boxier 230 SL. Through the use of clean and elegant lines, the Mercedes 230 SL pulled off a more squared-off look. In late 1965, this particular example would be presented at the Pininfarina stand at the Paris and Torino Motor Shows wearing a stunning German Racing Silver coat.
Pininfarina internally undertook this project, tasking Tom Tjaarda to restructure it as a coupe, while retaining the overall proportions of the production car. Tjaarda would re-work the placement of the grille on the lengthened nose, made the sides beveled at the belt line, and gave the 230 SL Coupe Speciale more angular rocker panels. The rear quarter panels and decklid were also made to be more angular, and a more modern 3-piece rear bumper took duty out back. Angled A and C pillars bring the coupe together, quite literally, and create something magical. Something that can’t be defined separately as purely Mercedes, or Pininfarina alone.
While it was initially premiered at a car show, it didn’t enter the circuit, like many one-off vehicles. This 1964 Mercedes-Benz 230 SL Coupe Speciale was sold to German press magnate Axel Springer. Various owners repainted and reupholstered the 230 SL, but it remained close to its original form and was imported to the United States in the 1980s.
Detroit-based collector Bernie Glieberman showed the Pininfarina 230 SL at the 1992 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, where it earned Second in Class. In 1997, lifelong automotive enthusiast and collector, Weston Hook and his wife Elona brought this coupe into their collection. The couple commissioned a Mercedes restoration specialist to renew it for the 18th Pebble Beach event.
This magnificent 1964 Mercedes-Benz 230 SL Coupe Speciale has stayed in the Hook family ever since, and it is just now being made available to the public for the first time. See it here.