Open Roads, August | Lot 203

1969 Mercedes-Benz 280 SE Cabriolet

$88,000 USD | Sold

United States | Commerce, California

28 July - 4 August 2021

Chassis No.
US Title
  • Stunning, U.S.-spec 280 SE Cabriolet finished in special-order Metallic Red over a black leather interior with a black convertible soft top
  • Believed to be one of fewer than 1,400 examples produced from 1967 to 1971
  • Delivered new to the United States
  • Fitted with desirable, period-correct Kuhlmeister air conditioning system and Becker Grand Prix radio
  • Accompanied by copy of factory data card

Mercedes-Benz’s elegant Paul Bracq-designed W111 made its debut in 1959. Among the most desirable variations were the two-door models—the 280 SE Cabriolet and Coupe—which were expensive, largely hand-built automobiles in the great tradition of German craftsmanship. The copious wood trim throughout the interior was all genuine, solid hardwood, sparingly accented with brightwork; the leather upholstery was thick and sumptuous; and both the ride quality and handling were (and continue to be) superb.

This U.S.-spec 280 SE Cabriolet was completed on 30 June 1969 and is finished in the factory-correct, special-order shade of Metallic Red. A copy of the car’s original data card illustrates that it was specified from the factory with power windows, parchment leather upholstery, standard U.S. rear axle, automatic transmission, and a black convertible soft top. The engine was replaced under previous ownership.

The car’s tidy interior is clad in black leather and outfitted with a Becker Grand Prix radio, Kuhlmeister air conditioning system, and a complete suite of refinished Zebrano wood trim. Invoices on file show that the car has greatly benefitted from the consignor’s care. Over the last six years alone, this handsome 280 SE was treated to exacting repairs to its air conditioning system, radiator, steering box, and the top end of its engine.

A fresh set of Michelin thin whitewall tires house a proper set of steel wheels adorned with color-matched hubcaps. This eminently presentable 280 Cabriolet is accompanied by a matching spare, tool roll, manuals, spare keys, and a copy of its factory data card. While it is the later, limited production 280 SE 3.5 that attracts all the attention today, the standard 280 SE remains a competent and comfortable tourer beautifully constructed and engineered.

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