In the same ownership since 1986
1971 Mercedes-Benz 280SE 3.5
Chassis no. 111027 12 002687
Engine no. 118980 12 002396
* 3.5-liter V8
* Automatic transmission
* Low mileage example
* Same ownership for last 25 years
* Built to exacting German standards
* One of the world's most expensive cars in '71
'If you feel obligated to ask about the price you not only will never understand the car, you have branded yourself incapable of ever appreciating its virtues even if someone gave you one.' Car & Driver on the Mercedes-Benz 280SE 3.5.
The 3.5-liter version of the 280SE typifies the resurgence of larger-engined Mercedes-Benz models that began in the late 1960s. The ultra-luxurious 280SE Coupe/Cabriolet and 300SEL saloon were the models chosen by Mercedes-Benz to launch its magnificent new 3.5-liter V8 engine in 1969. An over-square design featuring a cast-iron block and aluminum-alloy cylinder heads, each equipped with a single overhead camshaft, this all-new, state-of-the-art power unit produced 200bhp with Bosch electronic fuel injection. Thus equipped, the Coupe/Cabriolet was good for 125mph with 60mph reachable in 9.5 seconds, a substantial improvement on the six-cylinder version's figures. The Coupe and Cabriolet came lavishly equipped with automatic transmission, air conditioning, power windows and stereo radio as standard. At $13,500 in 1971, the 280SE was priced at more than double that of a Cadillac DeVille Coupe. Significantly, the 280SE 3.5 was to be the final model to feature the long-established and much admired coachwork that had debuted with the 1959 220SE. Today, these last-of-the-line luxury classics are highly sought after by discerning Mercedes-Benz collectors.
This particular example, finished in lovely tobacco brown and hailing from the West Coast, has been continuously maintained by the vendor, who has enjoyed touring with this car since 1986. According to him, the mileage recorded at the time of cataloging of just over 73,000 is original. He acquired the car from Hardie Setzer, a successful businessman and World War II pilot from Sacramento, California. Setzer had apparently enjoyed the car for some years, having reportedly acquired it from a gentleman in Pasadena, in whose garage the 280SE shared space with three tobacco brown Rolls-Royces.
The Mercedes has been serviced as needed through the years with some restoration items undertaken along the way. In 2003, all interior wood panels were re-varnished and present strikingly still today. Most recently, a Seattle specialist has updated the leather interior. We are advised that the fabric top, replaced with a new unit six years ago, fits properly and is neatly concealed when down by an attractive brown leather boot. The rear bumper as well as various trim pieces were recently re-chromed by Art Brass in Seattle. Additionally, this 280SE is complete with original tools, service manual, and various history documents and invoices. A low-mileage example that has enjoyed the care of owners who have cherished this special automobile over the years, today it awaits its next long-term keeper.
Offered on a Washington Certificate of Title.