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Between 1969 and 1971, Mercedes-Benz built 3,275 coupe-bodied examples of its low-grille, 3.5-liter V-8 engined 280 SE, and this beautifully appointed car is surely one of far fewer that remain in excellent condition. As demonstrated by a copy of the factory build card, this W111 coupe was desirably equipped with a floor shifter, sliding sunroof, air-conditioning, power windows, and a Becker radio. Internally known as the W111 model, the 280 SE 3.5 coupes and cabriolets have been appreciated for their purity of design and superior build quality since they were new.
An extensive file of service documentation reveals that by the early 1990s, this 280 SE was owned by Boston resident Norman Drubner, who retained Hatch & Sons Automotive of nearby Hudson, Massachusetts, to conduct maintenance in May 1993. About a year later, Mr. Drubner consigned the car through Hatch, and it was sold in November 1994 to Dr. Robert Schnapper of Atlanta, then displaying only 37,000 original miles.
Dr. Schnapper commissioned a round of servicing in late 1998, care of Mercedes-Benz specialists MBS Motors in Duluth, Georgia, with work including a new fuel pump, a suspension adjustment, and a lubrication service. Also included with the sale are additional receipts that indicate service was performed on the brakes and ignition system as well; and it is believed that during this period the coupe received its current paint refinish in its original white shade.
In June 2005, the 3.5 Coupe was sold to Bill Whitmore, a collector based in Alhambra, California, who continued to treat the car to whatever minor maintenance it required, as demonstrated by invoices from Caliber Motors of Anaheim Hills. A few years later, Mr. Whitmore offered the minimally used coupe for sale. It was soon spotted by a Beverly Hills-based Mercedes-Benz collector who had been searching for an exceptionally preserved 3.5 coupe for over six years. Purchasing the Mercedes-Benz in early 2009, the proud new owner spent the next several months returning the car to optimal condition, investing nearly $20,000 over several visits to well-known classic Mercedes-Benz specialists Silver Motors in Van Nuys.
Acquired by its current owner in 2013, this beautiful 280 SE is assured by the consignor to be, “exceptional in all respects.” The car is accompanied by original tools and manuals in the proper pouch, a thick file of service invoices, as well as copies of prior titles. It displayed just under 42,000 original miles at the time of cataloguing and can be enjoyed on special occasions for its remarkably preserved mechanicals, or exhibited at finer marque gatherings where it is sure to earn the attention of the Stuttgart faithful.