1971 Mercedes-Benz 280SE 3.5 “Fintail” Cabriolet (W111)SOLD

Christie's Retromobile Paris Auction - February, 16 & 17th, 2007

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Estimate 135,000 - 165,000 Euros
Result (incl.) 146,875 Euros

Engine: eight cylinders in V, single overhead camshaft, fuel injection, 230 hp, 3,499cc; Gearbox: automatic ; Suspension: front, independent with coil springs and tubular shock dampers, rear, independent swing axles with coil springs and tubular shock dampers; Brakes: four-wheel discs. Left hand drive.

Model history

The 111-series Mercedes-Benz mid-sized automobiles of the Sixties and early Seventies are much appreciated by collectors who enjoy their driving as much as their collecting. There is a solidity to their ride and handling that helped Mercedes-Benz establish a highly profitable share of the worldwide car market. When introduced the 111s were powered by Mercedes' reliable six-cylinder engine however these were substantially built cars and their performance with engines of 105 or even 135 horsepower can best be described as "stately." That changed dramatically when Mercedes' 3.5 liter V8 was introduced. With 230 horsepower, the 280SE 3.5 had performance that lived up to its appearance.

The 111-series 280SE chassis was more than up to the challenge of the 3 1/2 liter V8's power. The body structure was a rigid welded unit that had abundant rigidity, even without the extra stiffening from the roof of coupes and sedans. Mercedes had perfected its independent front suspension with coil springs and refined its low pivot swing axle independent rear suspension. The result was a solid, rigid, quiet, stiff structure that was ideally suited to form the base of a luxury automobile. It is a measure both of Mercedes-Benz's high standards and its mastery of automobile design that refinement was as important as performance.

The introduction of the 280SE 3.5 coincided with an important redesign of the coupe and convertible bodies. Lower grilles and hoods updated the Mercedes-Benz look and these cars are still handsome and well-proportioned today. As a result, the 280SE 3.5s - and particularly the cabriolet - are highly desirable. Good looks and performance are always valuable traits, particularly when they are combined with comfortable open-air seating for four adults. The four passenger cabriolet has always been one of the strong points of Mercedes-Benz's luxury models and its coachwork. Executed with the highest quality materials by Mercedes' most skilled and experienced craftsmen, from the pre-war 380 through the immortal 540K and continuing through the postwar 300 series, the history of Mercedes-Benz's quality, luxurious, distinctive hand-built four-passenger cabriolets ended with the 280SE 3.5. A similar body style would not appear wearing the Mercedes-Benz star for over twenty years.

The 280SE 3.5 Cabriolet has withstood the test of time and met or exceeded the expectations of generations of automobile enthusiasts and demanding collectors.

Specific history of this car

The rare V8 powered Mercedes Christie's is delighted to offer was imported as a 'rust free California' car in 2004, having been carefully checked over for any accident damage prior to purchase. No evidence of this was found, so in view of the high quality of the basic donor vehicle it was decided by the current owner to commission a full rebuild to concours standard at 'Classic Restoration Services' in Loosdrecht, Holland. The car on offer has the very desirable options of air-conditioning, a central floorshift for the automatic gearbox, tinted and electric windows as well as the original period radio fitted to the car.

When recently inspected by a Christie'specialist the car started immediately and quickly settled down to a quiet idle. All accessories were noted as working at the time of inspection, including the air conditioning and the electric windows. It must be pointed out that the quality of the restoration is quite stunning and that in our view it would pass the most stringent inspections by anyone seriously interested in acquiring one of these rare and highly desirable Mercedes Benz cabriolets. We therefore recommend close inspection of this car by any interested parties.

Reference Number 6923

as of 2/1/2007

Car 1971 Mercedes-Benz 280SE 3.5 “Fintail” Cabriolet (W111)
VIN 1110 271 2003412 
Exterior / Interior Color      Blue /      Beige 
Configuration Left Hand Drive (LHD) 
Transmission Automatic 
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