‘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 3.5-liter version of the 280SE typifies the resurgence of larger-engined Mercedes-Benz models that began in the late 1960s. The ultra-luxurious 280SE Coupe, Cabriolet and 300SEL saloon models were 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 aluminum cylinder heads, each equipped with a single overhead camshaft, this all-new, state-of-the-art power unit produced a torquey 200bhp, courtesy of Bosch electronic fuel injection and transistorized ignition. Thus equipped, the 280SE 3.5 was good for cruising speeds up near 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’ body-shell, the Coupe and Cabriolet kept the coachwork that had debuted back in 1959 on the 220SE and, as befitted top-of-the-range luxury models, came equipped with automatic transmissions, air conditioning, power windows and stereo radio as standard. The 280SE 3.5 was to be the final model to feature this much-admired body style, and today these last-of-the-line top quality classics are highly sought after by discerning collectors.
Completed at the Mercedes-Benz’s Stuttgart factory in the latter part of 1970, this extraordinary 280SE 3.5 has spent over a decade within a private German collection and has been meticulously maintained, its matching numbers engine performing excellently. The highly original interior complements the well restored bodywork. Converted from a 3.5 coupe before the previous vendors purchase the result is ‘as factory’- even the keenest eye would struggle to notice the conversion.
Today this beautifully presented, top-of-the-range V8 Mercedes-Benz Cabriolet presents exceptionally well in a period-correct colour scheme. These high-quality, stylish V8 powerhouses are the last of the classic, hand-built cars to come out of the Mercedes workshops in Stuttgart. They offer timeless styling and extreme luxury in a very usable package, accounting for why they are so highly prized today. This beautiful Cabriolet is a great way to experience the legend of the opulent and powerful 280SE 3.5, a model carrying the distinction of being one of the marque’s most highly prized models of its generation. Offered with a very sensible reserve.