Films: The Mercedes-Benz 280 SL ‘Pagoda’ Was Shaped By Form And Function
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Made To Drive | S05 E19

The Mercedes-Benz 280 SL ‘Pagoda’ Was Shaped By Form And Function

As an architect, Monti has a unique perspective on his beloved family heirloom, a Mercedes-Benz 280 SL. In the family for 30 years, you’d be safe in assuming its crisp lines and form-follows-function details have influenced his take on buildings. But first: did you know its roof was designed to be used as a photographer’s perch?
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4 years ago

Great video. I think bringing a new aspect (Architecture) to the table is a nice touch and a reminder to any Enthusiast to keep the mind open to EVERYTHING.

Keep up the good work!

Neil Saaty
Neil Saaty(@kt100karter)
6 years ago

I was a little surprised by so many complaints of too much about the house and not enough on the car, because that wasn’t my impression. So I watched it again and timed it. Not including the first 11 seconds of “leading” video and the last 20 seconds of “trailing” video,first 2:12 is car, 0:39 house, 0:23 car, 0:42 house, 1:25 car. Exactly 4 minutes total on car and 1:21 on house. The ratio seems right to me.

David Lake
David Lake(@davidmga1600)
6 years ago

I too read the comments after watching this video and also felt it lacked soul, which prompted me to comment.
I didn’t make it too the end either which is extremely unusual for me and Petrolicious short movies.
I would be interested to see the YouTube stats for this video to see when the majority of views watched to.
It almost felt like an infomercial about the architect and not a story about the car and owner.

Tikhon Osipov
Tikhon Osipov(@rohkeus)
6 years ago

Visually and stylistically it’s class as usual, surely. Only there’s no smell to this video this time it’s too bourgeois. I guess all of us can talk of form and function generally. I love to finding stories of guys with skill and knowledge, guys with numbers and engineer’s approach. It’s all about gears and cogs, and grime to me.

6 years ago

Surprising that anybody would critique these videos. Beautifully shot videos of great cars and their interesting owners in amazing locations. What’s not to like? There is [u]nothing[/u] else that comes close to the level of production value that Petrolicious delivers every week, Yet people are critical. The audacity!

Christopher Gay
Christopher Gay(@christophergay)
6 years ago
Reply to  Highnumbers

Well said. I’d like to see some of these critics’ videos and then we can talk about subject matter, production quality, etc.

All for free… gotta love the armchair warriors. On the internet, everyone’s an expert.

Thank you Petrolicious. 😉

Ed Monk
Ed Monk(@emonk)
6 years ago

Beautifully-shot video. Not the most charismatic dude, but it’s a beautiful car.

6 years ago

Petro, you guys are losing your touch. For awhile i thought you guys could keep it together with the videos after Josh Clason left but there is something thats been missing from the site since then. These videos need their soul back.

6 years ago
Reply to  Afshin Behnia

Hey Afshin, I have seen all the videos linked. Every Tuesday is marked as Petro video day for me so i never miss any of them. I’m a huge fan of the site and check it at least once (a couple of times) a day. I have recommended my enthusiast friends as well. It still is a great place to be, but since Josh and Yoav’s departure i think there’s been something missing. If i was to try and identify it, it would be that everyman feeling. Of the videos mentioned above the Alfa Berlina is the best example of a great story. Its car and driver connection that come across and are relatable regardless of make or model.

Afshin Behnia
Afshin Behnia(@afshinb)
6 years ago
Reply to  Nar

Thanks for being such a fan!
I respect your feedback, but I’m definitely surprised that you don’t find the magic in the films mentioned above, as well as some others I didn’t list. For me personally, Fourteen Past Five and L’Art Novo are probably the best films we’ve ever made.
BTW, Yoav was in no way involved in our films.

6 years ago
Reply to  Afshin Behnia

Thanks Afshin, been a big one since 2012. I think the Sir Sterling Moss video has that magic but that feels more like a mini Documentary, definitely one of the best for me. My absolute favourite has to be Jack’s Toy. Aware of Yoav, i meant to say i enjoyed reading his articles. Thanks for hearing me out. 🙂

Chris Jeffs
Chris Jeffs(@fb_505990819)
6 years ago
Reply to  Nar

Glad I’m not alone here… the video just lacked everything I’ve come to expect of Petrolicious. No really great shots, incredibly dull and repetitive owner and the sound just didn’t seem right.

Dennis Drenthe
Dennis Drenthe(@denniscavallino)
6 years ago

This is absolutely magical. The roofs that are visible from all those houses below that road and the Pagode roof of that arbor are nice details in the video, not just in the building and this SL. Love the house, and the car suits there on the driveway. Timeless.

Paul Thompson
Paul Thompson(@valvebounce)
6 years ago

Overall lovely, but I’m very disappointed the photographers platform function wasn’t demonstrated, getting up there must be tough.

It raise a question in my mind, is being able to stand on your Pagoda top really a functional requirement? I’d say it was non-functional, more to do with usability and robustness :p

6 years ago
Reply to  Paul Thompson

The pagoda roof was designed for a 1960’s German to stand on, not a American from 2015.

6 years ago

As usual a great vid and production from Petrolicious. I would concur with the others though that there was “too much house” and “not enough car”. If nothing else a bit more of a feel for what the SL sounds like and drives like, you know, starting it up, accelerating, etc.

Paul Steel
Paul Steel(@steely)
6 years ago

Nice car the 280SL, and I like how petrolicious makes the connection between car and keeper, it’s what sets you apart from the other sites, for this one tough I would have preferred to see more of the car, if you can’t always expand on the keepers story so much, you could fill with more moving car shots and a bit of history. Still a good vid.

Douglas Anderson
Douglas Anderson(@dandydoug)
6 years ago

Classic car and a really nice house, cruising along just enjoying life, what’s not to like about all that ??

GARY MILES(@gtmsj)
6 years ago

Love the video…love the car. I remember taking my dad driving in his 280sl on the Pasadena freeway when he could no long do it himself…these cars were meant to be driven. Absolutely stunning vehicles! Thanks Petrolicious!

Erastus Smith
Erastus Smith(@mountainc)
6 years ago

Enjoyed the car and house, keep up the great videos!! Totally agree with the form follow function ethos. Having lived with a 280sl; the smell, the feel, the sound can completely pull one out of the funk of every day…

Darin Russo
Darin Russo(@darinrusso)
6 years ago

Great house, great car, great video!

Very much enjoyed over here!

Bryan D Alipiev
Bryan D Alipiev(@fb_10152810225696441)
6 years ago

Decent Vid… but I watch Petrolicious for the cars… not the ugly houses. Why is every story about an Architect?

6 years ago

I liked the video but perhaps it should have been a bit longer so that more focus would be on the car, its character etc rather than on the building. It’s not so bad though :p

Rene Borggreve
Rene Borggreve(@reneborggreve)
6 years ago

The SL “Pagoda” is such an elegant car. The designer was a Paul Bracq, a Frenchman with a great design portfolio. But I reckon, the Pagoda is his best work. Nice video. I will buy a lottery ticket this weekend.

Keith Kenitzer
Keith Kenitzer(@p912guy)
6 years ago

I am not sure I agree with Fausto and Tom. While it’s not as good as some I found this to be another nice Petrolicious video, In the interest of full disclosure I am a fan the Pagoda and the Form Follows Function ethos. What I’d really like to see in the future is a video profile of the “Black Cat” running through the landscape outside of Carmel that was featured in perfectly photographed story a few days ago.

Guitar Slinger
Guitar Slinger(@gtrslngr)
6 years ago
Reply to  Keith Kenitzer

I’m in complete agreement on all points . The video , though not compelling isn’t what I’d consider boring either . The SL Pagoda in my opinion is the automotive epitome of the Shaker philosophy ; ” First and foremost make it function : then make it as beautiful as possible without sacrificing any of its functionality ” Even the architecture was worth including although it took going to the Walnut House site to completely appreciate both the home’s design and how well the Pagoda compliments it

As far as a future video suggestion ? If they’re [ the twins ] willing and if the Petrolicious staff has the ‘ correct ‘ connections/contacts : a feature on those lovely French twins that regularly tear up the French countryside as well as driving events all over France in their ‘ family ‘ Bugatti Type 35 .

But as an aside / bit of advice to the Petrolicious staff in regards to this video If I may ;

Do not succumb to the temptation of trying to make a pleasant transitional moment [ such as the owner petting his dog ] into something profound by the use of slow motion . All you ever wind up doing when you do is taking what should of been just a pleasant transitional moment and making it into an overextended moment of mundaneness at best : boredom at worst [ hint ; Three guesses where much of my guitar slinging skills have been plied ]

Guitar Slinger
Guitar Slinger(@gtrslngr)
6 years ago
Reply to  Guitar Slinger

PS ; Petro staff . I say ‘correct ‘ because it is my understanding that the ladies are French aristocracy .So no insult was intended or implied .

Tom DesRochers
Tom DesRochers(@brown76)
6 years ago
Reply to  Guitar Slinger

Lest I be misunderstood, I like Pagodas. Having seen one upclose, they exude class. My issue is the video spent too much time on the house instead of the car. It’s not worth sharing the link with my friend.

Fausto Gonçalves
Fausto Gonçalves(@fb_1497942197)
6 years ago

Sorry guys, but this one didn’t tinkled anything inside. Not a whole of a story to tell there and it was just to slow. To much slow motion and no real car to show apart some glimpses of the Merc.
You can’t win them all 😉
Keep up the good work

Tom DesRochers
Tom DesRochers(@brown76)
6 years ago

I actually yawned while watching it. I know a guy who owns a 230SL with manual transmission. One taillight has a chink out of the lens. He does not fix it because it’s the original piece. He does not want to lower the originality of the car.