Lot 359

Monterey 2022

1971 Mercedes-Benz 280 SE 3.5 Cabriolet

Offered from the Iannelli Family Collection


$676,000 USD | Sold

United States | Monterey, California



Chassis No.
US Title
  • Offered from the Iannelli Family Collection
  • A wonderfully restored example of the marque’s final hand-built model
  • One of just 347 examples produced for the model year
  • Finished in factory-correct Silver-Grey Metallic (DB 180) over black leather (241) with matching soft top
  • Acquired by the consignor in 2008; completely restored by Mercedes-Benz Classic upon purchase

The 280 SE, with its timeless styling, was first introduced in August of 1961, a derivative of the 220 Sedan introduced in 1959. The basic design and chassis—internally designated W111—endured more than a decade, receiving over the course of its production five single-overhead cam engines, four six-cylinder engines, and a V-8, offering more horsepower with each iteration. Mercedes-Benz introduced the 280 SE 3.5 in the fall of 1969. It combined the classic styling of earlier Mercedes-Benz models with an all-new 230-brake horsepower V-8 engine featuring Bosch D-Jetronic electronic fuel injection. A fully independent suspension with disc brakes at each wheel was standard.

Sumptuous accommodations for four included a fully lined top in the traditional stacked German cabriolet layout. The framework of the convertible top was concealed from view by a full interior headliner; each top required more than 16 hours of hand labor. On average, only 13 cars were finished per week, with Mercedes-Benz producing just 1,232 examples between 1969 and 1971. This was the marque’s final, truly hand-built automobile.

The left-hand drive, U.S.-market example offered here is one of just 347 such Cabriolets produced for the 1971 model year. Wearing its original color combination of Silver-Grey Metallic (DB 180) over black leather (241) with a matching black fabric top, it was delivered new to its originating dealer on 2 October 1970. An accompanying Mercedes-Benz build certificate lists a healthy list of touring specifications including folding armrests, Behr air conditioning, power windows, insulated glass, Becker Europa radio with automatic antenna, and whitewall tires.

In 2008, the current owner acquired the cabriolet and soon after sent it to Mercedes-Benz Classic Center in Long Beach, California, along with a matching coupe for a complete restoration. This comprehensive project returned the vehicle to like-new condition with a focus on authenticity. Today, the car shows in spectacular condition. In fact, the consignor’s coupe and cabriolet were profiled together in a lengthy article featured in the Spring 2012 issue of The Star, the Mercedes-Benz Club of America’s official member magazine.

Under current ownership, the Mercedes-Benz has been part of a private collection stored in a climate-controlled facility. An onsite technician provided maintenance at regular intervals and within the last 50 miles the car received fresh fluids and necessary service for the upcoming sale. As one of the most desirable luxury vehicles of the early 1970s, this 280 SE 3.5 with its enduring design and exquisite craftsmanship will never go out of style, making a choice acquisition for collectors seeking a sophisticated and capable luxury convertible.