Lot Number

1971 Mercedes-Benz 280 SE 3.5 Cabriolet

$275,000 - $325,000

RM | Online Only - PALM BEACH 20 - 28 MARCH 2020

Chassis No.
  • Rebuilt 3.5-liter M116 V-8 engine
  • Overhauled column-shifted automatic transmission
  • Rare limited-slip rear differential
  • Accompanied by owner’s manual, tool roll, and copy of data card
  • Please note this lot will need to be collected from Abilene, Texas

The range-topping Mercedes-Benz W111 series of cars may not have been Friedrich Geiger’s best-known work, but the stately sedans, coupes, and cabriolets are perhaps the German designer’s most stunning designs.

Geiger penned the pre-war 500K and 540K roadsters that helped cement pre-war Mercedes-Benz as a producer of some of the world’s finest, most luxurious automobiles, and he was named the automaker’s styling chief after penning the legendary 300 SL Gullwing.

Yet the W111, the predecessor to today’s S-Class, stands apart. The upright styling anchored by vertical, stacked headlights gives the cars a formal look, and yet the subtle fin tails at the rear provide a harmony with the automaker’s more sporting offerings. The highlight of the lineup is the cabriolet, which bowed in late 1960 and went into production not long after. Power initially came from a 2.2-liter straight-six, but subsequent versions boasted more performance.

The final iteration of the W111 chassis was the 280 SE, which showcased the automaker’s new 3.5-liter V-8. Producing more than 200 horsepower, the engine provided brisk acceleration and was lauded at its launch. Minor design updates included a lowered and widened grille, a look more in tune with the approaching 1970s.

The 1970 280 SE 3.5 offered here comes from the final year of production and thus benefits from the upgrades bestowed upon Geiger’s classic. The car would be the last four-seat Mercedes-Benz convertible for decades.

This southwestern example has been refinished in its original Silver Gray with a new German canvas soft top and boasts a striking black leather-upholstered interior. Built for the American market, the 280 SE 3.5 cabriolet is equipped with the unusual limited-slip rear axle, which helps distribute the rebuilt V-8’s power. The column-shifted automatic gearbox was rebuilt just 1,000 miles ago. Recent suspension, braking, and steering work ensure that the car is a good driver.

The 280 SE 3.5 cabriolet is presented in largely original, preserved condition, including such details as Behr air-conditioning, electric windows, zebrano wood trim, and a tool kit with pouch.

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