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Vehicle to be offered for Auction sale August 13th – 15th, 2015 at Russo and Steele’s 15th Annual Monterey, California Auction. Please contact us for more information.
Introduced during late 1969, the new top-of-the-line Mercedes-Benz 280SE 3.5 series (internal designation W111) epitomized the foundation laid down by the company’s renowned “New Generation” S-Class automobiles with its all-new and uncannily smooth fuel-injected 3.5-liter V-8 engine. Carefully refined, these commanding and luxurious, yet athletic five-passenger automobiles continued the enviable Mercedes-Benz tradition of handcrafted quality, vault-like solidity and superior engineering, while their formal bodylines, penned by renowned stylist Paul Bracq, remain an unqualified masterpiece of effective and enduring design today.
While Mercedes’ fuel-injected ‘six’ was certainly a sophisticated power unit, the company’s new 3.5-liter V-8 was nothing short of transformative. Dubbed the ‘engine of tomorrow’ by Mercedes, this engineering tour de force produced 230 bhp with cutting-edge features including aluminum-alloy cylinder heads, each equipped with a single overhead camshaft and sodium-cooled exhaust valves, a cast-iron cylinder block, Bosch electronic fuel injection, and transistorized ignition. Performance was brisk and belied the considerable size of the 280SE, with acceleration from rest to 60 mph possible in just 9.0 seconds en route to over 120 mph. A four-speed automatic gearbox, fully-independent suspension, and four-wheel disc brakes endowed the 280SE 3.5 with further refinement and remarkable poise during spirited drives. Top-quality leather upholstery, plenty of real and beautiful veneered wooden trimmings, and useful instrumentation enhanced the renowned driving experience the 280SE 3.5 delivered.
When production ended in 1971, just 4,502 examples of the 280SE 3.5, in both Coupe and Cabriolet form, were built in all. Of those, just 1,232 were Cabriolets. Apart from Mercedes’ 600, the 280SE 3.5 was the company’s flagship model and it continues as a true object of automotive desire today. A 1970 road-test report by Car and Driver summed up the 280SE 3.5 experience best, boldly declaring “…if you feel obliged to quibble over the price, to seek a $13,430 justification, you probably can’t afford the 280SE 3.5, and wouldn’t appreciate what you had if someone gave you the car.”
Presented in stunning “triple blue” livery, this outstanding 280SE 3.5 Cabriolet clearly benefits from 25 years of excellent single-family care and ownership. Without doubt one of the finest examples of this landmark Mercedes-Benz model available today, this Cabriolet is complemented by linear feet of hand-rubbed interior woodwork, yards of rich leather upholstery, and tastefully restrained bright trim. Air conditioning, a period radio unit, and many more thoughtful amenities ensure the Cabriolet’s lucky occupants arrive at their destination refreshed and ready to take the red carpet. The engine bay and top end of the 3.5-liter V-8 engine were recently and extensively detailed, and a set of owners’ manuals, tools, a canvas tool roll, and other miscellaneous items complete this excellent offering at auction.
As offered, this glamorous and very rare 1971 280SE Cabriolet provides guaranteed collectability and enduring value as one of the final limited-production, mostly hand-built automobiles produced by Mercedes-Benz.