What’s it like to drive the 1969 MERCEDES 280SL?

Claudia Taylor is a Malibuite in every sense of the word. She’s lived here her whole life, save a few months, and has cultivated the Bu lifestyle to its truest essence. Even her pups exude a cool laid-back demeanor. But, as I approached her pad up near Paradise Cove, I began to realize the true point of my article here. 

At its core, it’s love — love for the cars, of course, but also love for this lil’ town of ours in a way that’s hard to describe. And it’s the peeps in this town that make it what it is, peeps that love cars. So, without further ado, let’s get into this little green beast that rolled out of Claudia’s garage. 

On its surface, her forest green 1969 Benz is as classic as it gets, until you find out that there was a three-year conversion to diesel performed by Wolfgang Fengler at Diesel Research. 

“It was very tricky, as this model was never designed to fit the 300D engine,” Claudia said. “It took some clever engineering. We’ve owned the car for two years and were originally managing the conversion for a friend who was passionate about the bio-diesel movement. When the car was ready, she needed to sell, so we happily snapped it up.”

“There’s also a small brotherhood of 280s here in Malibu. We met our good friends from Canada when they first rolled into town driving theirs with a wink and a thumbs-up.” 

Claudia sports around town on sunny days in the D convertible with her pooches, Beans and Brodie. They dig riding in the back and the car is smooth and powerful. Is there any better life for pups in this town?

“We all want to reduce our consumption of oil so we started the bio-diesel co-op here, in Malibu. We have 15 members and run the green car as well as our Chevy truck on it. The 1000 gallon trailer is on our property now, too, but we’d love to find a more central location for it.”

In addition to doing the driving thing through town, Claudia is also the owner of Surfmonk, a surf-inspired California lifestyle brand of beach, lounge and spa wear. They sell to boutiques and hotels worldwide.

It’s a funny thing, people showing off their cars. Like making you aware that their kid just won a Spelling Bee contest and it’s the greatest thing in the world. And you know what? It is.

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