Lot 1

Las Vegas

1970 Mercedes-Benz 280 SE 3.5 Cabriolet


$445,000 USD | Sold

United States Flag | Las Vegas, Nevada



Chassis No.
Engine No.
US Title
  • Superbly fresh restoration, in excellent overall condition
  • Equipped with its original engine
  • Accompanied by a copy of its Mercedes-Benz data card
  • Mercedes-Benz’s final truly hand-built production automobile

The 280 SE was first introduced by Mercedes-Benz in August of 1961, as a derivative of the 220 first debuted in 1959. Its basic design and chassis, internally designated W111, would endure for more than a decade, receiving over the course of its production multiple different engines. Introduced in the autumn of 1969, the 280 SE 3.5 combined the model’s classic Paul Bracq styling, featuring upright headlights and crisply creased flanks, with fully independent suspension, four-wheel disc brakes, and an all-new 230-horsepower V-8 engine with Bosch D-Jetronic electronic fuel injection.

This model was offered as a rather limited-production Cabriolet, offering sumptuous accommodations for four under a fully lined top, with bows concealed by a full interior headliner. Each top alone required more than 16 hours of hand labor to complete. On average, only 13 280 SE 3.5 Cabriolets were completed each week, with a total of 1,232 produced between 1969 and 1971. It was, as it turned out, Mercedes-Benz’s final truly hand-built production automobile, the coda to generations of superb engineering and coachbuilding tradition.

Offered here is a meticulously restored example of the 280 SE 3.5 Cabriolet, verified by a copy of its Mercedes-Benz data card as retaining its original, numbers-matching engine. Recently the subject of a superb nut-and-bolt restoration, it is finished in the attractive color combination of Anthracite Grey Metallic with cream Gahh leather interior, wood by Madera Concepts, and German canvas convertible top and liner, with all finishes still appearing fresh and in excellent, meticulously applied and pristine condition. According to the owner, the engine was completely overhauled by the premiere engine rebuilders, Metric Motors, and the driveshaft fitted with new universal joints and balanced; the radiator and heater core rebuilt; and the gearbox done by Transmeister, while the rear axle was rebuilt with new bearings and seals. Further, the owner claims that the brakes were rebuilt with resurfaced rotors, the suspension bushings were changed, and a new fuel pump and gas tank were installed. Numerous Mercedes-Benz Classic Center parts were utilized throughout. A devout 3.5 Cabriolet enthusiast, this is one of six examples restored for the owner’s collection.

The interior retains all of the fine features expected of this model, including a handsome wood dashboard and interior trim, as well as a Becker Mexico radio, converted to a modern style, with electric antenna, and Behr air conditioning rebuilt to use R34 coolant. It is also desirably equipped with the floor-shifted version of the four-speed automatic transmission. At the time of cataloguing, it had recorded only 217 miles since restoration.

This Cabriolet has much to recommend it as an outstanding, thorough, and complete restoration of a watershed coachbuilt model with superb performance—a fine motorcar for any occasion, be it show field or desert cruising.