1970 Mercedes-Benz 280 SE 3.5 Cabriolet (W111)

Highlights


  • Dry-driven and dry-stored when not in use
  • Expertly converted to Cabriolet from a Coupe
  • UK registered - Registration mark 'TUJ 467H'
  • Low mileage

The Appeal


Who doesn’t love a convertible? True roofless aficionados know there are many reasons for having one on your driveway but, bragging rights aside, most are sensory. Exposed as you are to nature’s elements, there is a the heightened sense of motion, the rush of passing scenery, the fragrance of fresh, open air as dappled shade flickers over your Ray-Bans. Bliss!

With summer looming large, now is the time to bag a roofless example of one of Mercedes’ finest open top cruisers – an early 70’s 280 SE convertible, particularly in this 3.5-litre V8 guise.


The History and Paperwork


  • Sympathetic convertible conversion.
  • UK V5 Registration Certificate
  • Data Card from Mercedes-Benz (to be supplied by vendor)

The data plate of this stately cruiser reveals that its life started out as a Coupe (as detailed on the data plate with suffix W111-026. Factory-built Cabriolets had the suffix of W111-027). At some unknown point in its history, the Coupe body shell was converted to the more sought-after convertible body style. The conversion is of such a high standard that the car was at some recent point sold through the Beverley Hills Car Club in California (where it is still listed under ‘sold stock’).

The build of this well-travelled LHD 280 SE 3.5 was completed in 1970 at the Mercedes’ Sindelfingen plant near Stuttgart. It currently wears Dubai plates from where it was recently imported.

The V5 certificate accompanies the car together with a data card from Mercedes-Benz that the vendor is sourcing.

The Interior


  • Fully original.
  • Elegant tan leather of the period.
  • Condition commensurate with age and mileage.

The original interior is in very good condition and belies both its 72,000 miles and half-century existence. There are swathes of elegant tan leather adorning the front furniture which follows through to the rear of the cabin and door cards.

As with the wood-veneered dashboard and centre console, the door cards, sun visors, carpets and other soft furnishings present in very good condition. Furthermore, the custodian reports that all the instruments, switchgear and backlights work as originally intended. The tuning and volume knobs on the radio parted ways with the car some time ago, but would not be difficult to replace.

Sliding into the driver’s seat, you’re transported back to the early 1970s and if Alice Cooper’s ‘School’s Out’ was to become your earworm, our understanding would be complete!

The Exterior 


  • Brightwork in good order throughout.
  • Requires some TLC to elevate its standard.

The good condition of the interior continues by-and-large to the exterior of this German boulevard cruiser. However, the exterior is in need of some TLC and detailing to elevate this car to a higher standard.

The original factory-fitted hubcaps are in very good condition and the wheels are shod with a good set of Maxxis MA-1 rubber all round – including the spare housed in the boot. At the front, the head light lenses are clear and the indicator reflector lenses show no hint of fogging often associated with a car of this age. The same may be said for the rear light clusters.

The brightwork around the car is in good condition with considerably less pitting to the chrome work as may normally be expected on a car of this vintage. A cursory glance down each flank shows no evidence of collision damage and all apertures open and close as well as the day it was assembled. In addition, the black retractable soft top fitted during its conversion is in excellent condition.

There are a number of small blemishes to the exterior of the car, four pictures of which are contained in the accompanying photo gallery.

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The Mechanics


  • Low mileage for its 50 years.
  • 3.5-litre V8 pulls strongly.
  • Custodian reports all mechanicals to be in good order.

At the photo location, this handsome convertible was frequently repositioned to obtain the best of the challenging light at this time of year. The car started first and every time and settled into an appreciative and throaty burble that only a well-tuned V8 can deliver. It drew admiring glances and was the subject of several phone pics.

When repositioning, the four-speed column-shift automatic transmission connected smoothly – including reverse – with drive engaging with no drama and requiring just a light feathering of the revs to get underway.

The current custodian reports the car to be in very good mechanical condition with steering, brakes, engine, drivetrain and running gear performing as well as their respective German engineers intended over half a century ago.

Like the immediately visible parts of this car, the underside and lower sills present in good order with a degree of natural oxidation that may reasonably be expected on a car of this age and mileage.


Summary


Robust engineering, durable materials and clinical build quality go a long way to making these early 1970 SEs a good choice for those who like to travel in style without the uncompromising nature of other open-top classics of the era.

Powered by a strong 3,499cc V8 engine, the car can still hold its own on modern roads. In the all-too-brief time we spent in and around the car, it was easy to comprehend the passion that continues unabated for true roofless motoring – especially when presented with such elegance, style and sheer class as this Mercedes 280 SE 3.5 Cabriolet conversion.

There is little reason to doubt that TUJ 467H will serve its new owner well for many years to come and, hopefully, not just on Sundays.

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Vehicle specification
  • Year 1972
  • Make Mercedes
  • Model 280 SE (W111)
  • Colour Black
  • Odometer 72,600 Miles
  • Engine size 3499
Auction Details
  • Seller Type Trade
  • Location Middlesex
  • Country United Kingdom
Bidding history
12 bids from 9 bidders
  • henry.r•••• £91,000 06/05/22
  • stevens•••• £89,000 06/05/22
  • The Fat•••• £87,500 06/05/22
  • andrest•••• £84,000 06/05/22
  • watson.•••• £83,000 06/05/22
  • andrest•••• £81,000 06/05/22
  • [email protected]•••• £80,000 29/04/22
  • [email protected]•••• £50,000 29/04/22
  • Raiders•••• £20,000 29/04/22
  • [email protected]•••• £8,000 29/04/22

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