The 3.5-litre 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-litre 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 transistorised ignition. Thus equipped, the Coupé/Cabriolet was good for 125mph with 60mph whispering by 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. But it’s not just their rarity that makes them so desirable since they also represent some of the quickest Mercedes of that era.
The most prestigious of the 280SE Coupé and Cabriolet variants is the 3.5 litre V8 model made for just two years from 1969 to 1971, the majority of these in left-hand drive.
This absolutely beautiful example is offered with a huge amount of history which dates back to the 1970s. The 280se was maintained by London-based main agents until the mid-1980s, at which point marque specialists such as Steve Redfern, Roger Edwards and Schmitt Autos took on servicing and restoration works.
The previous owner spent in excess of £60,000 over a ten years period, resulting on one of the very best of this model that we have seen. A superb example of one the most stylish models ever produced by Mercedes-Benz.