Nick Smith is an Otago-ite to the core — proud of his heritage, proud of the bond that goes with a business handshake. He is of the Smith family that owns the Otago Daily Times, and a number of other successful media outlets. A love of cars runs in the family — his brother, Sir Julian Smith, has a collection of cars that range from Model T Fords and Rolls-Royces of the ’20s to Bentleys.

Nick has owned many collectable cars over the years, but in recent times has become focused on Mercedes-Benz, so he decided he would investigate the possibility of acquiring an early SL.

“I had owned a 1996 SL500, but had long had a bit of a soft spot for the 230SL ‘Pagoda Roof’ of the ’60s — the W113 model — and decided to investigate the possibility of buying one out of the UK,” said Nick. “I was a regular reader of the UK magazine, Classic & Sports Car, and had noticed that the prices of this particular model had been increasing.”

There was no urgency about making a purchase, but in mid-2013 he started on a journey that was to culminate, for the purposes of this yarn, in me meeting Nick in Wanaka one gloriously fine spring afternoon.

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