The name Paul Bracq is well-known to many vintage car fans, as he is the designer of the Mercedes-Benz Pagoda. But many other classic designs also originated from his “pen.” We met him and his son Boris in Bordeaux/France. In this report, we’ll take you along on our journey...

Les Ateliers Paul Bracq

Rue Jacques Cartier—that’s the name of the street where the lettering “Les Ateliers Paul Bracq” can be found above a large entrance gate. Paul Bracq—a name that elicits enthusiasm among the expert fans of vintage cars. He is, after all, the designer of one of the most beautiful vehicles in automotive history: the Mercedes SL W 113, better known as the “Mercedes Pagoda” because of its distinctive hardtop.

The Mercedes SL, which debuted in 1963, is still considered an absolute classic today, unparalleled in the elegance of its simplicity. Just like its designer, Paul. Monsieur Bracq’s charisma fascinates and keeps us enthralled as we listen to the stories he experienced over the course of his life. In his charming French accent, he tells us how he managed to become the head of the Mercedes-Benz design department in his mid-twenties.

Paul Bracq is still doing creative work today and discloses to us that, together with his son Boris, he still has a surprise or two in store for us.


Like father, like son

The Paul Bracq workshop was not founded by Paul himself, but by his son Boris. But it’s not a “normal” workshop. Most of the vehicles being worked on here are something special. Boris has specialized in restoring his father’s classic design—“Pagodas.”

“A complete restoration takes one and a half to two years. The entire vehicle is rebuilt, from the engine to the seats. The end result is a Pagoda that looks like it just rolled off the conveyor belt,” reports Boris, who employs four people in his workshop.

Boris has taught his employees pretty much everything himself. His reasoning is that today’s automotive training no longer includes direct work on the engine.

Bracq’s first choice: MAHLE!

What does MAHLE have to do with all of this? It’s quite simple:

Already in Paul Bracq’s day, MAHLE supplied engine parts for the Mercedes SL W 113. And even today, the MAHLE CLASSIC LINE provides his son Boris Bracq with the original spare parts for the now classic Pagoda.


Thank you Paul & Boris Bracq


We regularly provide technical tips relating to the powertrain, thermal management, and mechatronics in automobiles.


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