1971 Mercedes 280 SE 3.5 Coupe
Reg. no. XSR 598K
Chassis no. t.b.a.
Engine no. t.b.a.
The Mercedes W111 range was introduced in 1959, replacing the Ponton. It marked a revolutionary step for Mercedes – for the first time, all their cars would be based on this one platform, thereby cutting production costs without sacrificing quality. The saloon versions were nicknamed the ‘Fintail’ cars, as their design featured fins on the rear, as was very much in vogue at the time. For 1961, however, when the two-door coupes and cabriolets were introduced, fins were already a bit passé – so they were scaled down on those cars to such an extent as to be almost unnoticeable. For 1969, a new range-topping model was added – the 280 SE 3.5. Not to be confused with the six-cylinder 280 SE, this car featured a new 3.5 litre V8, which gave a 130mph top speed – useful on the unlimited Autobahns! Slight cosmetic changes also occurred – for example, a wider grille was required due to the large engine. However, this did not negatively impact on the appearance at all – these cars are regarded as some of the most handsome of their era, and manage to be both hugely imposing and extremely elegant – not an easy thing for any car design to achieve. As always with Mercedes products of this era, build quality was exemplary, and it is not uncommon for W111s to accumulate vast mileages with very few problems.
This fine example of a 280 SE 3.5 must be one of the last made – it was first registered in September 1971, production having ended in July. A rare car when new, only 4,502 being made, they are even rarer in right-hand-drive form, as this one is. Owned by the vendor since 1990, it was used regularly for short trips until a lengthy restoration commenced in 2002. Now in good condition, with excellent paintwork, it also had a replacement engine five years ago. This superb example of Teutonic engineering also comes with a V5c and bills relating to the restoration work.
This car has also featured in the artwork of a CD released by the vendor in 1996.
Photographs courtesy of Nibley House Events.
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