1971 Mercedes-Benz 280SE 3.5 Cabriolet

I had a friend in high school whose dad, a very buttoned down and conservative guy, had one of these. I vividly recall a ride to the mall(!) on a day after there was a slight freeze. We crested a hill, stopped at a light, but when we started down, a sheen of black ice met the car: the brakes were worthless, and we slid uncontrollably at no more than 5 mph, if that, down this inclined roadway. At the bottom, our fate was a minivan waiting at the light. Mike, in a verbal panic, just said OhMyGodOhMyGodOHMYGOD! all the way down (I assumed we would stop but nervously laughed the whole way, like the chimp that I am). It was the slowest speed accident anyone has ever been involved in since automotive history began. And the shocking part: zero damage to the minivan, but that lovely grill and those stacked headlights did not survive, making this very slow speed collision a very expensive expensive one.

Mercedes-Benz’s 280 SE came in 3 variants: sedan, coupe, and convertible. The design came from Friedrich Geiger, who also designed the very lovely 300 SL, whose elegant design have aged incredibly well. The two-door 280 SE known internally as W111, set the standard for Mercedes’ design language for decades to come.

Power for the 280 SE 3.5 that came with a 230-hp 3.5-liter V-8. mated to a 4 speed automatic. It is unusual for a two door cabriolet to be a true four seater

The 280 SE 3.5 is the first Mercedes post-War coupé with more than 3 liter engine. The design changes sought to modernize an  aging design with a lower, wider grille, front and rear bumpers with rubber rub strips; flatter rear lenses and all around cleaner design. The 280 SE 3.5 was the top of the design range.

I need to check with my buddy to see if his dad still has it. These cars have appreciated significantly in recent years, and the lovely spring cruiser below sold for $248k earlier this year.



Source: Bring A Trailer

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