Lot 191

1971 Mercedes-Benz 280 SE 3.5 Coupe


$109,200 USD | Sold

United States | Amelia Island, Florida



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  • Considered to be Mercedes-Benz’s last truly hand-built automobile
  • One of just 679 examples produced for the model year
  • Retains numbers-matching engine
  • Finished in Fire Engine Red (DB 534) over Cognac leather (8006)
  • Currently indicating fewer than 69,800 actual miles at time of cataloguing

Mercedes-Benz’s elegant Paul Bracq-designed W111 series made its debut in 1959. Among the most desirable variations were the two-door models—the 280 SE 3.5 Cabriolet and Coupe—produced from 1969 through 1971. These elegant V-8 powered cars 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.

On account of their largely hand-built construction, merely 4,502 of these tremendous automobiles were produced over three years: 3,270 coupes and 1,232 cabriolets. In simpler terms, the 280 SE 3.5 appealed, then as now, to those who appreciate the finest things in life.

One of just 679 examples of the 280 SE 3.5 Coupes produced during the final year of availability, this striking and wonderfully restored US-market example presented here was originally clad in the special-order shade of Silver Grey Metallic (DB 180) over blue leather. In addition to the luxurious standard appointments such as power sunroof and air conditioning, optional factory specifications listed on an accompanying copy of its data card include Becker radio, two-tone horn, high density heat exchanger, front folding armrest with storage, and heat-insulating glass. It was completed on 21 June 1971 and dispatched to the United States.

At some point during previous ownership it was masterfully restored to the period-correct color combination of Fire Engine Red (DB 534) over cognac leather (8006). As presented today, it retains many charming details throughout, including Marchal foglamps, Nardi woodgrain steering wheel, Becker Europa radio, and Kuhlmeister air conditioning system. Furthermore, this striking 280 SE 3.5 Coupe rides on a matched set of correct "Bundt" pattern alloy wheels wrapped in fresh Michelin Premier tires.

Desirable when new and no less coveted today, Mercedes-Benz 280 SE 3.5 Coupes such as this are equally suitable for dedicated connoisseurs of the marque, as well as those who simply appreciate the best of classic, hand-crafted luxury.