The Mercedes-Benz 280 SE 3.5 coupe had its foundation in the W111 sedan that was introduced for 1960. Famous for their front and rear crumple zones and patented retractable seatbelts, this mid-range model showed an American styling influence in with its modest fins sprouting from the rear fenders. The coupe version (called 220 SE) was introduced for the 1961 model year, with a convertible following a few months later. This series was upgraded with a new six-cylinder motor as the 250 SE for 1966, then with another engine upgrade for 1968 as the 280 SE coupe. Then, for 1970, the 280 SE was joined by the 280 SE 3.5 with a new OHC V8 – the first eight for this series.
The 3.5 was the last improvement for the series before it was redesigned for 1972. With 200 horsepower, it was capable of hitting 62 mph in 9.5 seconds, which was impressive considering American luxury cars used motors twice the size to get the same performance. Both 280 SE models featured a widened front grille plus other minor detail changes like trim and taillights.
The new motor was a success, with 3,270 280 SE 3.5 coupes being built over two model years – quite impressive considering it took four model years to sell 3,797 280 SE coupes.
This beautiful example enjoyed the warm climate of California before being repatriated into Germany this year. The 280SE is well specified from new, with the rare and desirable option of steel sliding sunroof..
Finished in it’s original and supremely stylish colour scheme of Tunis Gold with a Tobacco Leather interior, this is a very good example of a highly desirable and collectible classic car of the 1970s.