Mercedes-Benz 280 SE Cabriolet
In 1968, the “New Generation” Mercedes-Benz models debuted, continuing a tradition of hand-built quality and superior engineering. In particular, the Cabriolet featured a padded folding top requiring 16 hours of hand labor to complete, while its chassis featured an advanced unitized design with structural reinforcements. Interior appointments were a magnificent combination of rich leather, burled wood and tasteful chrome, with standard amenities including air conditioning, a stereo radio and power window lifts. In November 1970, another update was made to coupes and cabriolets as they received a lowered bonnet and a new, wider grille – a very sought-after style for collectors.
Base-level “S” models were powered by a 2.8-liter, inline six-cylinder engine with an overhead camshaft and dual carburetors, producing 157 horsepower. In SE trim, the “E” stood for “Einspritzung” or fuel injection, with output rising to 180 horsepower. Capable of speeds approaching 130 mph, the 280 SE utilized a fully independent suspension that made for taut, responsive handling.
Introduced in 1970, the Mercedes-Benz 280SE 3.5 cabriolet was identical to the standard 280SE cabriolet, with the exception of the engine. Instead of the more modest, standard-issue six, customers were now able to enjoy the spirited performance from the all-new 3.5-liter V-8. Referred to as the “engine of tomorrow” by Mercedes, the company threw much of its technical prowess into making the new V-8 engine both smooth and powerful. Featuring Bosch electronic fuel injection and transistorized ignition, power output was a healthy 230 bhp. This helped propel the 280SE 3.5 from rest to 60 mph in less than 10 seconds.
This car was auctioned off by RM Auctions in January of 2010 at the Arizona Biltmore Resort & Spa, Phoenix, Arizona and in July of 2012 at The Inn at St. John's, Plymouth, Michigan.
Source: RM Auctions
Photo Credit: Copyright Erik Fuller