Mercedes-Benz 280 SE 3.5 Cabriolet

In 1968, the “New Generation” of upscale Mercedes-Benz S-Class models débuted. These carefully refined five-passenger automobiles continued a tradition of handcrafted quality and superior engineering, while their formal styling remains a design benchmark. The cabriolet’s padded folding top required 16 hours of labour to complete, while its chassis featured advanced design and structural reinforcements, providing immense rigidity and safety.

Introduced in 1970, the Mercedes 280SE 3.5 cabriolet was identical to the standard 280SE cabriolet, with the exception of the engine. In place of the modest, standard issue inline six-cylinder engine, customers enjoyed spirited performance from an all-new 3.5-litre V-8 that offered more than a 25 per cent increase in power.

Referred to as the “engine of tomorrow” by Mercedes, the company threw much of its technical prowess into making the engine both smooth and powerful. With an over-square combustion chamber, aluminium alloy cylinder heads, a cast iron block, and featuring Bosch electronic fuel injection, as well as transistorized ignition, power output was a healthy 230 horsepower. This helped propel the 280SE 3.5 to 60 mph in less than 10 seconds.

The comprehensive list of amenities included power steering, power brakes, a stereo, a radio, air conditioning, electric windows, and an automatic transmission. Further luxuries aimed at pleasing up to five passengers included a genuine leather interior and beautifully polished wood trim. Only 4,502 of these cars, in both coupé and cabriolet form, were sold between 1969 and 1971. A part from the Mercedes top-of-the-line 600 series, this car was the flagship model in the line-up.

Part of the RM Auctions event in London, October, 2012.

230 bhp, 3,499 cc overhead cam fuel-injected V-8 engine, four-speed automatic transmission, four-wheel independent suspension, and four-wheel disc brakes. Wheelbase: 108.3 in.

Source: RM Auctions
Photo Credit: Tim Scott

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