Lot 312: Mercedes-Benz 280SE 3.5 Cabriolet
Priced at a massive �7,249 in 1970, the Mercedes-Benz 280SE Cabriolet succeeded the 1960's 'fintail' 220 and its earlier 280 counterparts by responding to criticisms of a lack of performance. With this car - which should really have been called the 350SE - Mercedes-Benz increased the now favoured straight-six engine to the mighty 3.5litre V8 which was available in coupe and cabriolet form.
The car was an instant hit. Built largely by hand in Sindelfingen, the large, five-seater convertibles possessed all the attributes of their marque and saloon counterparts but were steeped in character which may explain why they are still in strong demand today. Though the cabriolets are outwardly similar to the saloon cars, almost all the body panels are different, the interior trim is more luxurious, the body of the car sits almost one inch closer to the floor, plus, all the V8's were treated to stacked twin headlights and each enjoyed an extra helping of chrome trim to further dramatise the already overconfident front grille. We understand that only approximately 55 righthand drive examples of this model were produced between 1969 and 1972.
FYY 543H was bought by the current owner in Holland in 2003 after spending more than three years searching for his preferred one. It was then owned by a classic Mercedes specialist who had imported it from Atlanta, Georgia to the Netherlands where he preceded to take the car apart and restore it to its current outstanding condition, with exception to the Cognac interior which is original, albeit recently professionally cleaned and often fed. Historics believe that the Dutch restorer was Raymond van der Brock. Since this time the current owner had it exported to the south of France where it stayed garaged at his home just outside Monaco. When the house was sold in late 2009 the car was brought to the UK where it received fresh Tobacco Brown paintwork courtesy of Nigel Cooper coachworks to remedy a few careless marks that had appeared on the car while being in France. Nigel also fitted a new hood to the car at some significant cost. Most recently, the car has received the thumbs up from Joe at SS Motors, Weybridge who remains one of the most trusted Mercedes-Benz specialists in the UK.
This lefthand drive example has clearly been well cared for and boasts the desirable factory-fitted air conditioning unit. The car is undersealed and the wheel arches, boot floor and footwells which are commonly accepted as the areas which suffer in Mercedes' of this period show no sign of deterioration or decay. FYY 543H has only covered 11,000 kilometers since its restoration of which have all been in good weather. The vendor describes the car as incredibly reliable and assures that it drives as good as any modern car.
These special Mercedes' attract great interest from Europe, Asia and even Australia so we expect a strong showing when this car goes under the hammer on March 3rd. Offered with a very sensible reserve, and with residual values on the increase we suggest that FYY 543H will be a very shrewd purchase for the lucky new owner. This car has MoT test certificate, UK V5C registration documentation and subject to insurance, can be driven away from the auction.
With great thanks to Kristy Field Photography for the images, and to Mercedes-Benz World Brooklands where the car is featured on display until March 1st.
Historics at Brooklands, Brooklands
|Hammer Price (inc premium)||£100800|
|Registration number||FYY 543H|
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