1971 Mercedes-Benz 280SE 3.5
Sold! "First in Class Winner" at the San Marino Motor Classic 2017
Introduced in 1970, the Mercedes 280SE 3.5 Coupe was fitted with a powerful V-8 engine and was 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.
Mercedes produced a total of only 3,270 coupes and 1,232 cabriolets of the 3.5 between 1969 and 1971 (although the model years were 1970 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 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 comprehend the difference between the two.
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 ”. Quality speed and performance to match the quality of life with this model.
The three-year restoration was worth every moment when looking at an absolute total ground up restoration of a superb rust and accident-free body. This is one of the most beautiful restorations done to this European delivery floor-shift automatic coupe that can be seen today. With a factory sunroof and with Behr air conditioning this car was finished with every detail well thought out and executed. The car was purchased in Huntington Beach in 2013, and was completed in May 2017 in time to earn “First in Class” at the San Marino Motor Classic earlier this month.
The color combination of this luxury model could not better suited. Finished in factory silver-blue metallic with parchment leather interior and burlwood to compliment the sophisticated timeless feel. This was quite a thorough nut and bolt restoration, with many items totally rebuilt and replaced that are often overlooked (i.e., the red aero-equip a/c hoses which were virtually impossible to find) - anything that could have been bought new from the Mercedes-Benz Classic Center was purchased for this beautiful, costly and time consuming restoration. The care put into this restoration and the elegance of this model elevates it beyond the cars of today. (The cost to restore a coupe is about as much as it is for a cabriolet!).
Every craftsman involved in the restoration were of the highest quality and trusted specialists in the field. The show quality chrome was completed by Graves Plating, while the wood was done by Madera Concepts. Of course, the project was all overseen by one of the top marque specialists. While the bundt wheels were available in 1970 (and were recently obtained from the MB factory in Germany), they were not technically an option on the 3.5, although I'm sure any MB dealer would have accommodated a customer's request (FYI - good to know for judging purposes). However, the new OEM hubcaps that are painted in the matching color come with the car as well. Every square inch of this car was perfectly restored back to its original condition. The pictures (200+) taken during this undertaking speak for themselves. (The steering wheel and pad were changed over to the ivory/white just after these photos were taken as well as a few other minor corrections and tweaks!).
200+ Photos of the Restoration: (copy and paste the link below into the URL)