In September 1969, clearly more powerful versions of the 280 SE 3.5 Coupé and Cabriolet were introduced. The completely newly developed 3.5-litre V8 engine with an output of 147 kW excelled in particularly smooth running characteristics and gave the car a sports-car-like performance. The new models had been stylistically refined to a certain extent, like the versions with 2.8-litre six-cylinder engines which continued to be on sale: the radiator mask was lower and wider, with a correspondingly flatter front end of the engine hood. Due to this characteristic feature, the face-lifted Coupés and Cabriolets were often referred to as the “flat radiator” models by insiders. As on the Saloons, the bumpers of the Coupés and Cabriolets were now fitted with rubber strips. In purely visual terms, the eight-cylinder models did not differ from the face-lifted six-cylinder versions.
1971 Mercedes-Benz 280 SE 3.5 111.027.12.001038 – sold for $330,000 Two private California owners from new; only 55,000 actual miles. Desirable console shift, Behr air conditioning, and Becker radio. Superb, rare original color combination. Fresh engine-out cosmetic restoration, including new paint and top. Show-detailed presentation, including the undercarriage. Includes owner’s books, jack, and tools. Auction Source: RM Sotheby’s Monterey 2015
1971 Mercedes-Benz 280 SE 3.5 Cabriolet 111.027.12.002871 – sold for $429,000 Two-year, show-quality restoration by Road Scholars in breathtaking dark blue over tobacco. Powered by its original matching-numbers 3.5-liter V-8 engine. Rare and desirable floor-shift automatic model. Features desirable factory air conditioning and a Becker radio. Includes a proper set of tools, a jack, and a correct owner’s manual. Enjoyed over the past 30 years by just two long-term owners. Auction Source: RM Sotheby’s Monterey 2015
1971 Mercedes-Benz 280SE 3.5 Cabriolet 111.027.12.003753 – sold for $247,500
The car offered here was owned by Bob Hatch in the 1980s, and it was subsequently restored by Hatch & Sons in the ’90s. They are known as perhaps the most respected restorers of the W108 series Mercedes in North America. Bob Hatch’s restorations were generally acknowledged to be comparable to the original factory build, and prior to his recent retirement, his work was featured in several international magazines. Since restoration, the car has been fortunate to fall under the care of another renowned New England shop, Kent Bain’s Automotive Restorations. They have ensured that the car remains not only in 100% mechanical condition, but that it also retains its show-quality finish. Auction Source: 2013 Amelia Island by Rm Auctions
The 1971 Mercedes-Benz 280SE 3.5 Cabriolet offered here is an excellent example both aesthetically and mechanically. Having spent many years within the private collection of noted Mercedes-Benz collector Stuart Roffman, it received exemplary care. In 2004, it was given a bare-metal refinish in its original color of Signal Red; the following year a correct leather interior was installed, and the car was mechanically serviced, with all work performed by Mercedes-Benz expert Jim Cosgrove of Old Timer Restorations.
Acquired by the current owner in early 2007 and remaining attractive throughout, this example features a very rare and desirable floor-shifted automatic transmission, air conditioning, power windows and a Becker Europa radio, and it comes with an official Mercedes-Benz certificate of authenticity. Most recently, the V-8 engine’s induction and fuel-injection systems were thoroughly inspected, with repairs performed and parts replaced as necessary to ensure proper running order commensurate with the technical sophistication of this advanced and fine automobile.
1971 Mercedes-Benz 280SE 3.5 Cabriolet – sold for $121,000
The 1971 Mercedes 280SE 3.5 offered here is a very clean example with a four-speed column shift automatic transmission and air conditioning. With 9,470 miles indicated, the overall condition is very good. The chrome work is showing only slight signs of age. Its brick-red leather interior is exceptionally well maintained, and the burgundy carpeting is just as clean – a nice contrast to the silver finish and black top. The car has also benefitted from recent mechanical service. Auction Source: 2011 Amelia Island Auction by RM Auctions
The 280SE 3.5 Cabriolet pictured here is a lovely example of this very sought-after model. Presented in white with its original soft top and a handsome brown leather interior, it is also fitted with electric windows and still retains its rare original steel wheels, complete with stainless steel painted wheel rims. The car has covered 58,500 miles from new and is in very good overall condition with a fresh MoT.
Many astute collectors feel that 280SE 3.5 Cabriolets are among the best looking and most collectible cars of the era. They are prohibitively expensive to restore and correspondingly difficult to find in the superb condition of the example offered here.
1971 Mercedes-Benz 280 SE 3.5 Convertible – sold for $165,000
Reported to drive capably and shift smoothly, this distinguished 280 SE 3.5 still features all of its original body panels and its stock Becker Europa radio. It is equipped with power windows and Behr air conditioning, and has recently had its brakes and suspension evaluated and serviced as needed. Wonderfully restored and cared for by marque experts with decades of collective experience, this highly desirable Mercedes-Benz Convertible is a pristine example of the marque’s last great 5-passenger luxury convertible of the post-war period.
Much of the early life of this vehicle was spent in the southern United States. It has had only four owners since new. In the late 1970s, the car was purchased by its second owner.
It was originally fitted with whitewall tires. Other options included a Behr air conditioner, Becker radio, burl wood dashboard and center floor shift.
This car has been given a limited amount of restoration work, including a repaint in its original cream color and re-chroming of the front and rear bumpers. The chocolate leather has been professionally re-upholstered and the odometer reads just under 47,000 miles.
The beautiful 1971 Mercedes-Benz 280SE 3.5 Cabriolet presented here in white with a dark blue top and interior has always been very well maintained and cared for. Notably, it was recently treated to a full mechanical service that included refurbishing the AC system.
Impressively equipped, the Mercedes features the very rare and desirable floor shift automatic transmission, V8 engine, Bosch Injection, power windows, air conditioning, leather interior with beautiful burled wood, two-tone horn, an automatic antenna and a Blaupunkt radio.
The 280SE 3.5 Cabriolet comes with a Mercedes Benz Certificate of Authenticity which specifies the original features, equipment options and colors; this document verifies that in its current state, the car is exactly as it was when new. The odometer indicates just under 70,000 miles and although there is no way to verify the reading, it seems likely to be correct given the condition of the Cabriolet. In outstanding running and driving condition, this Mercedes is in need of nothing and stands ready to be enjoyed.
Given their rarity, stunning looks and superb road manners, the 280SE 3.5 Cabriolets are certainly among Mercedes-Benz’s most desirable collector cars. They are rarely seen at auction so opportunities such as this should not be missed.