With interest in classic cars and classic car shows increasingly almost daily it is of no surprise to MotorMartin to hear about the latest stunning exhibit due at the Classic Motor Show this November in Birmingham.


One of the standout stars at this year’s Lancaster Insurance Classic Motor Show has got to be a 1971 Mercedes-Benz 280SL ‘Pagoda’ once owned by noted London fashion house proprietor Joan Burstein.

For those folk who maybe aren’t quite sure about the importance of Joan Burstein CBE, you may be interested to know that ‘Mrs B’ opened 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 that can be seen in the photos accompanying this news, taking delivery of it in January 1971.


The car was fastidiously 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 has been 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 to MotorMartin. “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.”

With ‘Pagoda’ SLs currently one of the hottest tickets in classic circles, 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 hobby newcomers too. Robert Schmitt will also be present at the show on Friday 13th November. 

This simply stunning Mercedes-Benz 280SL ‘Pagoda’ will be on stand 615 in Hall 3 of the Lancaster Insurance Classic Motor Show, held from 13th to 15th November at Birmingham’s NEC. For more information on the Lancaster Insurance Classic Motor Show or Classic Motorbike Show as well as all the ticket prices and booking details, visit

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