1971 Mercedes-Benz 280SE 3.5
Introduced for 1970, the Mercedes 280SE 3.5 Coupe was fitted with a powerful V-8 engine. Referred to as the 'engine of tomorrow' by Mercedes, they put much of their effort into making the engine both powerful and smooth. Featuring electronic fuel injection and transistorized ignition, the power output was a robust 230hp. And no American car of that time could match the new Mercedes' mix of engineering, design, performance and quality.
In a review of the car in the September 1970 issue of Car & Driver they said “You'd have to say that sustained high speeds are just about the name of the game with the Mercedes-Benz. We went out Interstate 80 a solid 20 miles, and returned, and ran all the way flat-out (well, maybe lifting just a touch for the long, sweeping turns.) Zoom! Out, and then (zoom!) back. and the car never gave any indication that it was doing anything strenuous. There was no rise in water temperature; no drop in oil pressure. That was a fairly convincing demonstration of high-speed capability, with the speedometer (which proved to be quite accurate) reading up around 125–127 mph on the level. Impressive, too, for the quietness at those speeds ”.
Mercedes produced a total of only 3,270 coupes and 1,232 cabriolets of the 3.5 between 1969 and 1971. Other than the 600 Grand this was said to be Mercedes' flagship model, made to compete with the Rolls Royce Corniche (and priced within $500). At around $14,000 with options (almost everything came standard on the North American version), it was priced at almost twice that of a 280SL roadster. You really have to drive one of these unique cars to be able to describe the difference between the two.
This very original 52,000 mile 3.5 coupe has the same beautiful color combination that was displayed in the sales brochure for the car in 1970, dark red paint (542G) with cognac leather interior. And it is complimented with beautiful burlwood on the dash and “A” pillars.
The cognac leather interior is original and has the “proper patina” as one would expect on a car of this caliber. The chrome really tells the story of the car. (To re-plate chrome to look like this you would have to pay about $25,000). Personally, I have never witnessed original chrome of this condition on any other 3.5.
The previous owner of this car had it in Arizona for approximately 15 years, and it is believed to have been in CA prior to that. I have had a few of these 3.5 coupes (including top award winners) and yet nothing quite compares to the way this car feels and drives.