joi, 3 martie 2016

Mercedes-Benz 280 SE 3.5 Coupe 1971 - World Of Classic Cars -

Mercedes-Benz 280 SE 3.5 Coupe 1971

Special coupes and cabriolets have been a part of the Mercedes-Benz line-up almost continuously during its history, largely handmade on standard chassis in small numbers with luxury trim to attract customers to the showrooms and gain prestige on the boulevards. For over 10 years, from 1961 to 1971, the W111 chassis was the basis for a succession of such automobiles styled by Paul Bracq, who also designed the “pagoda” roadsters. They were upgraded year by year with more powerful engines and improved amenities.
The 280 SE 3.5 represented the ultimate development of this line, with the powerful 3.5-liter V-8 engine that Mercedes-Benz introduced at the Frankfurt Auto Show in 1969, as well as Behr air conditioning, a Becker Europa radio, and a redesigned grille and hood that shared styling cues with the latest Mercedes-Benz models. Due to high production costs, the coupe retailed for twice the cost of the best Cadillac on the market at the time. Nevertheless, it was the car of choice for bankers and corporate presidents, while the flashier cabriolet was in demand by Hollywood stars and starlets. Only 3,200 coupes were ever produced before production ended, with a mere 818 exported to the United States.
Mercedes-Benz 280 SE 3.5 Coupe 1971

This lovely coupe recently was awarded a first prize in a regional MBCA concours (and was cited as an editor favorite in Autoweek’s coverage of the event) due to its originality, but it still possesses the authenticity that is often lost in full restorations. The only change from original is a repaint to the current classic silver finish, nicely complementing the original blue interior, and replacement of the trunk mat with a German mat from Niemoller. Desirable options include the original Becker radio, center console shift, and rare Bosch “Fanfare” city/country horns. The original books, tools, and a detailed file of historical documents accompany the car.
Mercedes-Benz 280 SE 3.5 Coupe 1971

There is a sweet spot in almost every classic car marque represented by a model that is rare enough to be collectable, stylish enough to be a treat for the eyes, comfortable enough to be a joy to drive, and still affordable enough to permit active use. Such is the 280 SE 3.5, which was hand-built by Mercedes-Benz for only two years, 1970 and 1971. The collecting world has long since discovered the flashy cabriolet version, but the coupe—as stylish and much more practical for long-distance touring—is now being recognized for its intrinsic value.