a Mercedes-Benz 280SL, similar to the one stolen from John Travolta. Image: S. FoskettEnlarge Photo
Vincent Vega, John Travolta’s uber-hip hit man character from Pulp Fiction, lamented over getting his classic Chevy Malibu keyed by vandals. In real life, Travolta has more to worry about: thieves just snagged his classic 1970 Mercedes-Benz 280 SL from a Santa Monica, CA, street. In broad daylight.
Travolta was in Santa Monica yesterday to visit a local Jaguar dealer, and was gone for just ten minutes when he returned to find his ride missing. The actor returned to the dealership to wait for police, who have so far been unable to locate any witnesses to the crime (or the missing 280 SL).
California is the car theft capitol of the U.S., and we’re guessing that it was a professional job, not your average boost-and-run joyride. Most steal-to-order thefts involve the use of a flatbed tow truck, and skilled thieves can have a car loaded in minutes; since flatbed tow trucks are a common sight, no one gives them a second glance.
The Mercedes Benz 280 SL is often called the Pagoda Roof SL, thanks to the concave shape of its hardtop. The 280 SL was the most popular of the Mercedes-Benz W113 roadsters, and nearly 13,000 were imported into the U.S. between 1967 and 1971.
While not particularly rare, demand for the 280 SL’s timeless style has kept pricing high, and many U.S. cars are actually gray-market imports from Europe. Cars in prime condition typically fetch around $85,000, but a 1970 280 SL sold at a Bonham’s auction last July for $113,343.