‘If you feel obligated to ask about the price you not only will never understand the car, you have branded yourself incapable of ever appreciating its virtues even if someone gave you one.’ – Car & Driver on the Mercedes-Benz 280SE 3.5.
Introduced in late 1969 as a prestige model to supplant the somewhat underpowered six-cylinder 280SE, the V8-powered, W111-Series 280SE 3.5 in both coupe and convertible form was of immediate appeal to wealthy customers who were accustomed to having the best quality and workmanship available in an automobile, but didn’t need or desire the next step up, the over-the-top 600.
The hand-built body of the new model was slightly restyled, with a cleaner and flatter nose and radiator shell, but was still quite conservative. Beneath the wide hood there now rested a Bosch fuel-injected, 200bhp overhead-cam 3.5 Litre V8 with 211 foot-pounds of torque designed to deliver excellent performance. One reviewer referred to it as having a “hot-rod”- like persona with a lovely exhaust snarl – while meeting ever-more strict emissions laws in the US, the company’s most vital market.
Fitted with a compact but sturdy V8 that was capable of moving this big 4/5-seater to 100 kilometres per hour in under 10 seconds, and offered a top speed in excess of 200km/h, a substantial improvement on the six-cylinder version’s figures. Large vacuum-assisted disc brakes at each corner allowed the driver to slow with ease, and handling was described as very comfortable, thanks to its coil-sprung independent suspension.
The craftsmen at Sindelfingen produced just 1,232 of these 3.5 V8 Cabriolets, making them extremely rare, even rarer than the famous Gullwing! Both the open and closed versions of the 3.5 were offered with an option list just about every luxury amenity a buyer could ask for. Our car was specified with all the most desirable items. The few choices remaining pertained to paint and interior trim colours and which model of Becker stereo system was desired. It all added up to an impressively costly automobile. Significantly, the 280SE 3.5 was to be the final model to feature this long-established and much admired body style, and today these last-of-the-line classics are highly sought after by discerning Mercedes-Benz collectors worldwide.
Our beautiful 280SE 3.5 Cabriolet is finished in the stunning combination of Ice Blue metallic with a deep Blue hide interior. Complementing Burr Walnut woodwork wraps around the front cabin giving an instant feeling of luxury and fine craftsmanship. A continuation of Blue leather around the rest of the cabin only amplifies the exquisite nature of this motorcar; the colour combination is one of the finest we’ve seen.
This Cabriolet was completed at the Stuttgart-based Mercedes-Benz factory in 1971 with numerous desirable options destined for the US market. Equipped with the floor change automatic gearbox, Behr air-conditioning, power windows and factory fog lights, it makes for a superb car both inside and out.
The standard of the car continues to the exterior which is finished in a stunning combination of Ice Blue metallic with contrasting Blue convertible soft-top. Looking fabulous both up and down, the roof functions manually and correctly. There are no scuffs or rips in the material and there are no creases and cracks in the delicate rear window. Complete with the car is the hood-cover, which fits well and completes the open-top touring look. The chrome that surrounds the car is in fine condition and is a pinnacle element to this rare model of Mercedes.
Driving this motorcar is at the top of enthusiasts and collectors ‘bucket list’, not just for its elegant styling, but also mainly because of its 3.5 V8 engine, a very sophisticated design and construction. As one knows from a Mercedes-Benz, the quality of the car is in another league, and this flagship model is known for its luxury, whilst maintaining very respectable performance figures. Driving our car is a pleasure, to engaging into ‘drive’ is seamless using the floor shift control, and the car pulls away smoothly. Running through the gears beautifully, it again fits into that ultimate open-touring driving experience. Although not encouraged, a quick 9 seconds should take you to 60mph, sufficient for the Mercedes connoisseur.
Complete with the original owners manual, service book and cloth tool roll our car really is the perfect example for any careful but enthusiastic driver/collector.
For more information, please contact us at any time.