Publicly displayed for the first time at the Frankfurt Auto Show in 1967, Mercedes-Benz's fifteen 'New Generation' models went on sale the following January. But although the fuel-injected 280 SE saloon shared its bodyshell with the 'New Generation' 280 S, the 280 SE Coupé and Convertible retained the elegant looks of the outgoing 250 SE that had debuted back in 1959 on the 220 SE, designed by Paul Bracq. The 2,778cc overhead-camshaft six-cylinder Type M130 engine though, was all new. In fuel-injected 'SE' form the seven-bearing M130 produced 160bhp at 5,500rpm, an output sufficient to propel the manual transmission model to 118mph with the automatic, an increasingly popular choice, not far behind. Just as important in an age when automobile induced atmospheric pollution was becoming a hot political issue, was the fact that the M130 brought with it improved fuel economy and more efficient emissions control. The suspension was essentially the same as that of the equivalent saloon model, albeit reconfigured for a lower ride height, with braking courtesy of discs all round. Plush and well appointed, the interiors featured a leather-covered dashboard, (usually) leather upholstery, Becker radio, and round speedometer and rev counter flanking vertically stacked gauges. The thickly padded convertible top was manually operated, while air conditioning, electric windows, central locking and power assisted steering were among the several options listed. Production of the 280 SE Coupé and Convertible totalled a little over 5,000 units between 1968 and 1972 when production ceased, and today these timelessly elegant Grand Tourers are keenly sought after by connoisseurs of fine automobiles.
The left-hand drive example offered here was first registered in the UK in October 2009 to Mr Allan Lee of Bexhill-on-Sea, East Sussex, its only previous owner in this country. 'MUF 870F' is most handsomely finished in silver with cream leather interior, and has the desirable four-speed manual transmission. The car is described by the private vendor as in generally good condition, although the seats would benefit from re-upholstering. Accompanying documentation consists of a V5C registration document, MoT certificate valid until 15th September 2015, and a quantity of invoices (mainly for parts) dating from Mr Lee's period of ownership.