Selling your classic car? It's FREE to list your car on Honest John Classics | No thanks

'Fashonista' Mercedes-Benz Pagoda to star at NEC

Published 11 November 2015

A 1971 Mercedes-Benz 280SL ‘Pagoda’ once owned by noted London fashion house proprietor Joan Burstein is one of the stars at this weekend's NEC Classic Motor Show.

Joan Burstein CBE (aka ‘Mrs B’), is well-known in couture circles, opening 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, taking delivery of it in January 1971.

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.

Mercedes 280SL (2)

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.

'Originality was always considered and respected,' explains Daniel Lachter from Autohaus. “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.”

See this amazing car 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


Add a comment


Compare classic car insurance quotes and buy online. A friendly service offering access to a range of policies and benefits.

Get a quote