'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 fact that the esteemed American motoring magazine felt compelled to remark on the 280SE's price is understandable when one considers that at $13,500 in 1970 it was not only $3,500 more than that of the equivalent Mercedes-Benz sedan but also more than double that of a Cadillac Deville Coupe! The 3.5-litre version of the 280SE typifies the resurgence of larger-engined Mercedes-Benz models that began in the late 1960s and early 1970s, when the progressive easing of fiscal constraints, which had dissuaded customers from buying cars with large capacity engines, encouraged the German manufacturer to offer bigger, more potent power units. Thus the ultra-luxurious 280SE Coupé/Cabriolet and 300SEL saloon were the models chosen by Mercedes-Benz to launch its magnificent new 3.5-litre V8 engine in 1969. An over-square design featuring a cast-iron block and aluminium-alloy cylinder heads, each equipped with a single overhead camshaft, this all-new, state-of-the-art power unit produced 200bhp courtesy of Bosch electronic fuel injection and transistorised ignition. Thus equipped, the Coupé/Cabriolet was good for 125mph with 60mph reachable in 9.5 seconds, a substantial improvement on the six-cylinder version's figures. Although the equivalent SEL saloon used the 'New Generation' bodyshell, the Coupé and Cabriolet kept the elegant coachwork that had debuted back in 1959 on the 220SE and, as befitted top-of-the-range luxury models, came equipped with automatic transmission, air conditioning, power windows and stereo radio as standard. Significantly, the 280SE 3.5 was to be the final model to feature this long-established and much admired body style, and today these last-of-the-line classics are highly sought after by discerning Mercedes-Benz collectors. This manual transmission 280SE 3.5 is finished in silver blue metallic with black interior and convertible hood. One of 1,232 examples produced, only 68 of which were delivered to the UK in right-hand drive configuration, it was exported to Hong Kong in 1982 by a Patricia Shea, returning to this country in 1997 (see C&E Form 386 on file) and has covered circa 28,000 miles from new. The car was acquired by the current vendor from Garage-on-the-Green, Parsons Green in West London in 1997. Kept garaged and little used since acquisition, it was last fully serviced in September 2008 and is said to run beautifully. Noteworthy features include factory-fitted air conditioning and a Becker stereo system. Described as in generally good condition, this rare and supremely elegant modern-era Mercedes-Benz is offered with manufacturer's letter of authentication, owner's manual, current MoT, Swansea V5 document and all expired MoT certificates since 1997.
This car has an automatic transmission, not manual as catalogued.