Lot 320

Monterey 2022

1971 Mercedes-Benz 280 SE 3.5 'Sunroof' Coupe

Offered from the Iannelli Family Collection


$379,000 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 679 examples produced for the model year
  • Finished in factory-correct Silver-Grey Metallic (DB 180) over black leather (241)
  • Acquired by the consignor in 2008; completely restored by Mercedes-Benz Classic upon purchase

Throughout the 1960s, Mercedes-Benz manufactured some of the most exclusive and luxurious machines to grace European roads, building a reputation for supreme quality that persists to this day. A standout among these exemplary models were the saloons, coupés, and convertibles of the W111 series—hand-built masterpieces of engineering that exude quality from every screw, veneer, and hide.

The top-of-the-line 280 SE 3.5 Coupe features the first engine over 3.0-liters in a post-war Mercedes-Benz coupe; a fitting last hurrah for the W111 chassis in its final years of production from 1969 through 1971. Wrapped in a pillarless Paul Bracq design that remains stunning to this day, the 280SE 3.5 was rated at 200 horsepower and 231 pound-feet of torque when new, with impressive features like Bosch electronic fuel injection, a four-speed automatic transmission, limited-slip differential, and leather interior with wood accents. Car and Driver’s 1970 review found the 280SE 3.5 “astonishingly agile,” representative of Mercedes’ commitment to “excellence for its own sake.”

This masterfully restored 1971 example is one of just 679 produced for the model year. It is finished in factory-correct Silver-Grey Metallic (DB 180) over black leather (241) and desirably equipped with a power sunroof, Becker Europa radio with automatic antenna, air conditioning, power windows, insulated glass, whitewall tires, and floor-mounted transmission lever.

In 2008, the current owner acquired the car and soon after sent it to Mercedes-Benz Classic Center in Long Beach, California, with a matching cabriolet 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, this 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.

There is a sweet spot with almost every marque represented by a model that is rare enough to be collectable, stylish enough to be a treat for the eyes, comfortable enough to be a joy to drive, and still affordable enough to permit active use. Such is the 280 SE 3.5, hand-built by Mercedes-Benz for only 1970 and 1971. The collecting world has long since discovered the flashier cabriolet version, but the coupe—just as stylish and more practical for long-distance touring—is now being recognized for its intrinsic value.