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Lot 451: Mercedes-Benz 280SE Cabriolet 3.5

Quail Lodge Sale, Bonhams (16 August 2012)

* 3.5-liter V8 * Automatic transmission * Desirable Mercedes-Benz model * Very well maintained example * Books and tools included * A classic that can be driven every day '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. The fact that the esteemed American motoring magazine felt compelled to remark on the 280SE's price is understandable when one considers that at $13,500 in 1970 it was not only $3,500 more than that of the equivalent Mercedes-Benz sedan but also more than double that of a Cadillac Deville Coupe! The 3.5-liter version of the 280SE typifies the resurgence of larger-engined Mercedes-Benz models that began in the late 1960s and early 1970s, when the progressive easing of fiscal constraints, which had dissuaded customers from buying cars with large capacity engines, encouraged the German manufacturer to offer bigger, more potent power units. Thus the ultra-luxurious 280SE Coupé/Cabriolet and 300SEL saloon were the models chosen by Mercedes-Benz to launch its magnificent new 3.5-liter V8 engine in 1969. An over-square design featuring a cast-iron block and aluminium-alloy cylinder heads, each equipped with a single overhead camshaft, this all-new, state-of-the-art power unit produced 200bhp courtesy of Bosch electronic fuel injection and transistorized ignition. Thus equipped, the Coupé/Cabriolet was good for 125mph with 60mph reachable in 9.5 seconds, a substantial improvement on the six-cylinder version's figures. Although the equivalent SEL saloon used the 'New Generation' bodyshell, the Coupé and Cabriolet kept the elegant coachwork that had debuted back in 1959 on the 220SE and, as befitted top-of-the-range luxury models, came equipped with automatic transmission, air conditioning, power windows and stereo radio as standard. 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. Beautifully presented in off white with contrasting navy blue upholstery and top, this example of Mercedes-Benz's coveted 280SE 3.5 Cabriolet has been in the present ownership for some years and has been meticulously maintained in that period, as documented by the service records accompanying the vehicle. With 129,000 miles recorded at the time of cataloging the car has full books and tools, along with a history file and presents very well in all aspects, including the interior timber and leather. The 280SE comes with a period Becker Europa radio and of course is fully equipped with factory air conditioning. Hailing from sunny Southern California, this is a fine example of one of Daimler-Benz's most collectible post-war models and is still eminently usable on today's roads and which can still be enjoyed every day.

Lot Details
Auction Quail Lodge Sale
Bonhams, Carmel, California, USA
Lot Number451
Outcome SOLD
Hammer Price$118000
Hammer Price (inc premium)$134800
Condition rating
Registration number
Chassis number003206
Engine number
Engine capacity (cc)
Engine - cylinders
Number of doors2