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Mercedes-Benz debuted its seminal W111 body style at the Frankfurt Motor Show in 1959. The earliest examples were sedans and became known as the heckflosse or “fin tail” because of their pronounced rear fender fins. Later models such as the Cabriolet on offer here featured a more rounded and understated rear fender treatment. The W111 blended the traditional design ethos of Mercedes-Benz with more modern elements specifically aimed at US customers. This Cabriolet is a beautiful final-year example that remains resplendent in a desirable color combination and benefits from a comprehensive restoration.
Launched in 1969, the 280 SE 3.5 was the final evolution of the breed. It used the brand-new M116 engine, endowing the 280 SE with a top speed of around 125 mph. Referred to as the “engine of tomorrow” by Mercedes, the new V-8 featured Bosch electronic fuel injection and transistorized ignition. In addition, all of the 3.5-engined cars featured the updated and highly attractive low-grille design. Representative of the end of an era, Mercedes would not build another four-place convertible for over 20 years.
The 280 SE 3.5 was always expensive and exclusive, and this example is one of just 1,232 Cabriolets produced. It is one of comparatively few equipped with the highly desirable floor-shift option. As a US-delivery model, it is fitted with Behr factory air-conditioning, power steering, power disc brakes, power windows, and the correct Becker Europa radio.
This stunning Cabriolet presents beautifully in its original color of dark green and, befitting a top-of-the-range model, high-quality wood veneer is featured throughout the interior. The wood and sumptuous leather upholstery remain in excellent condition and the 3.5 is fitted with an attractive tan convertible top and tan boot cover. According to the consignor, the Mercedes was restored by Hatch & Sons, a noted East Coast Mercedes-Benz specialist known for its meticulous restorations. A high level of work is evident, as the Cabriolet is beautifully presented, including very nice panel fit and chrome. It retains its matching-numbers engine and is complete with books, copy of the factory data card, tool kit, jack, and spare.
Not only elegant to behold, 280 SE 3.5 Cabriolets are also known for their excellent road manners, making them easy to enjoy on modern roads and with the family. Largely crafted by hand, their two-door styling remains timeless. A spectacular example of a German classic, this 280 SE 3.5 Cabriolet is set apart by wonderful condition, a distinctive color combination, and desirable floor shift. To the collector who appreciates a high degree of all-around usability, outstanding design, and manufacturing excellence, this example is worth serious consideration.