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1971 Mercedes-Benz 280SE 3.5 Cabriolet

Last of the Hand-Built Cabriolets. Behr A/C, Floor Shift, Just 40,000 Miles Indicated, Original Interior.

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Price $375,000
VIN 111027.12.003241
Exterior Color Beige
Interior Color Black Leather
Mileage 40508 Miles
Engine 3.5 Liter V8 no. 116980.12.002685
Transmission Automatic Floor Shift
Status Hidden
Stock FJ2107


NOTE: This car is not currently at Fantasy Junction but can be viewed by appointment.




1971 Mercedes Benz 280SE 3.5 Cabriolet
s/n 111027.12.003241
Engine no. 116980.12.002685
Beige with Brown Leather Interior

Among the finest luxury cars today, Mercedes-Benz stands as one of the premier innovators in both performance and luxury. Decades of racing achievement and luxury refinement combined in their offerings and matured dramatically as US market growth encouraged new models that further endeared the brand to both new and dedicated customers. Introduced in late 1969 as a prestige model, the V8-powered W111-Series 280SE 3.5 replaced the dated and underpowered inline six. Offered in both coupe and convertible form, the 280SE was immediately appealing to wealthy customers seeking quality workmanship and bespoke accessories in an automobile, but uninterested in the purposeful and expensive 600 series.

The last of the truly hand-built Mercedes-Benz cars, the body was restyled with a clean and unified grille, carrying both tradition and freshness to the new look. Under the hood technical advancements included a Bosch fuel-injected, 200bhp overhead-cam V8 with 211 foot-pounds of torque designed to deliver reliable and spirited performance. Period reviews included a notable characterization, “having a ‘hot-rod’- like persona with a lovely exhaust snarl” – a trait that would become characteristic of many future Mercedes-Benz offerings. Performance boasted 0-60 times under 10 seconds and top speeds in excess of 125 mph. Large vacuum-assisted 4 wheel disc brakes and comfortable handling (attributed to its coil-sprung independent suspension), and a 4-speed automatic transmission were just a few of the many superb engineering features in the 280SE.

Sindelfingen produced just 1,232 V8 convertibles, making them extremely rare and highly sought after by collectors and enthusiasts today. Both the open and closed versions of the 3.5 were offered with luxury options including electric seat back controls, choice of Becker radios, customer-ordered paint and interior trim colors; all of which added up to an astonishing $13,000.00 price when new.

This wonderful 280SE 3.5 Cabriolet was completed at the Stuttgart-based Mercedes-Benz factory essentially as it appears today. Delivered new to the US market finished in Light Beige (DB181) over Dark Brown Leather interior, it was also equipped with the desirable floor mounted 4-speed gear-shift, two-tone horn, Becker radio, front armrest, Behr Air Conditioning system, and a brown folding fabric convertible top.

This particular car was first sold to a New Jersey based Mercedes-Benz dealership. The car sold later to a meticulous Pennsylvania collector, Harry Scaggs, who began carefully disassembling the car in hopes of performing a restoration. Due to his declining health he was unable to complete the project, selling the car to Karl Bekemeier. The car arrived with the engine and the mechanical components rebuilt, but partially assembled. The wood and chrome remained mostly original and showed only slight patina. The car received a meticulous repaint in the original Light Beige, however the leather and carpets were mercifully left original and freshened up properly. By the time Mr. Bekemeier finished the car it was only showing 39,000 miles; a figure believed to have been original. After remaining unused for over 20 years, Mr. Bekemeier finally enjoyed the car, taking it to a few shows, putting roughly 350 miles on it, until it passed to the current owner. Today the miles shown, 40,508, are believed to be original.

The paint is in excellent condition overall with superb gloss and high quality finishing in all areas. The paint was applied with care to all inner surfaces, edges, corners, and trim. The doors shut with German precision, as does the hood and trunk showing excellent closures and fine gapping. All chrome appears in very good to excellent condition with only minor evidence of patina, much of which appears to be factory original. Of note are the excellent rubber trim on both front and rear bumpers, showing deep black color with no fading or excessive marks. All lenses, lighting, and glass are in excellent condition with just slight marks on the windshield due to road use. The convertible top is beautifully tailored with a clear and taut rear window. The exterior has a stately presence in both condition and stance, enhanced by the excellent, smooth body lines and beautifully applied paint.

The interior is refreshing both for originality and the remarkable condition. Truly a tribute to the care given from previous and current owners, it also stands as a testimony to Mercedes-Benz demands for the finest materials and assembly quality, which endures today as it left the factory. The leather seats are supple and nicely preserved with excellent sheen and sound padding. Carpeting is very nicely preserved as well, showing no significant wear marks, just subtle indications of use in the driver’s footwell. The steering wheel is nicely preserved with a beautiful padded center and chrome horn ring. The dash remains again wonderfully preserved with excellent wood, clear lacquer, and splendidly detailed instrumentation throughout. This 280SE 3.5 Cabriolet retains the desirable floor shift automatic transmission and other factory-installed options as ordered.

The car starts easily and idles smoothly, and has recently completed a 300-mile drive without incident. Driving manners are wonderful in every respect. The composed nature of this car, though stately in scale, is remarkable due in part to the ride engineering, advanced brakes, and suspension. Mechanically the car performs as one might expect with a bit of a surprise hiding underneath the hood as one presses the accelerator and delights in the immediate but composed power delivery. Comfortable for four passengers and room for a fifth in the rear seat, ample trunk space for outings, golf bags, or long distance travel, this cabriolet brings a great deal of enjoyment to any owner. The undercarriage continues to delight with originality and cleanliness not often seen in cars of this age. There is no evidence of any structural compromises to the car and all components appear as originally intended from the factory. Of particular note are the meticulously maintained finishes throughout the undercarriage - simply quite spectacular. The car is offered with a complete set of factory tools, jacking equipment, a spare set of floor mats, top boot cover, and assorted reference materials.

Presented in its original color combination of Light Beige and brown interior with a dark brown top, this 3.5 Cabriolet is a suitable and sophisticated open-touring car of luxury distinction. Capable of competing in classic car events and shows, this 280SE offers enthusiasts a truly comfortable open luxury car with commanding presence, superb engineering, and elegant features.


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Fantasy Junction +1 510 653 7555 Emeryville, California 94608 USA

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