Although Mercedes-Benz replaced the popular W111 series in 1966 with the W108 model range, followed in 1968 by the smaller W114/115 series, it was old style body shells that were initially chosen to house the company’s all new 3.5 litre V8 engine. The existing 300SEL saloon, which used the otherwise discontinued W109 shell, was available with either 2.8 litre straight six or 6.3 litre V8 engines and there was a considerable performance gap between the two. This was finally filled in September 1969 when the 3.5 litre engine was launched at the Frankfurt Motor Show, the iron block V8 being fitted to the 300 as the 300SEL 3.5.
These 280SE 3.5 models were identical in appearance to the earlier cars with exposed twin headlights, rounded rather than finned rear wings and two inches extra width compared to the 220 and 300 saloons of the early 1960s. Underneath there was all independent suspension and disc brakes front and rear, while the fuel injected 3,499cc engine, producing an impressive 200bhp, was mated to either manual or automatic transmission. Whichever was chosen, performance was impressive, the V8 propelling the 280SE 3.5 to a 120mph plus top speed with 0-60mph reached in under 10 seconds. Production, though, was short-lived and consequently these desirable cars are now much sought after.
First registered on the 4th December 1970, this rare right hand drive example has been in the loving ownership of its meticulous owner as part of a select collection of Mercedes-Benz motor cars.
The car has undergone an extensive restoration: the body shell was stripped of all fittings and parts and sent away for sand blasting and all surfaces have been treated and finished in quality anti-corrosive materials.
Replacement panels were used where necessary, along with a new windscreen; all brake parts including callipers and fittings were replaced; all rubbers, gearbox overhauled all new track rods and end fittings; water pump assembly; all electrical relays and units as well as all interior woodwork parts.
A complete list of the full restoration process is available in the car’s history file along with a V5 document, current MoT certificate valid until June 2016 and a an original Maintenance booklet, Owner’s Manual and supplement, Service booklet and its original wallet.
Finished in its original colour of metallic blue with a contrasting cream hide interior, the owner confirms the car is in excellent condition as one would expect, due to the thorough restoration.