• Year of manufacture 
  • Chassis number 
    111026 12 000145
  • Engine number 
    116980 12 000133
  • Lot number 
  • Reference number 
  • Condition 
  • Location
  • Exterior colour 


1970 Mercedes-Benz 280 SE 3.5 Coupé
Chassis no. 111026 12 000145
Engine no. 116980 12 000133

'Exclusive' is a much bandied-about word in the classic car world, but it is a most apt description of the Mercedes-Benz 280 SE 3.5. Why? Because at $13,500 in 1970 its price was not only $3,500 more than that of the equivalent Mercedes-Benz sedan but also more than double that of a Cadillac Deville Coupé! Commonplace it was not.

The 3.5-litre version of the 280 SE typifies the resurgence of larger-engined Mercedes-Benz models that began in the late 1960s and early 1970s, when the progressive easing of fiscal constraints, which had dissuaded customers from buying cars with large capacity engines, encouraged the German manufacturer to offer bigger, more potent power units. Thus the ultra-luxurious 280 SE Coupé/Cabriolet and 300 SEL saloon were the models chosen by Mercedes-Benz to launch its magnificent new 3.5-litre V8 engine in September 1969. An over-square design featuring a cast-iron block and aluminium-alloy cylinder heads, each equipped with a single overhead camshaft, this all-new, state-of-the-art power unit produced 200bhp courtesy of Bosch electronic fuel injection and transistorised ignition.

The new V8 engine had particularly smooth-running characteristics and endowed the 280 SEs with performance superior to that of many out-and-out sports cars. Thus equipped, the Coupé/Cabriolet was good for 125mph (200km/h) with 60mph (97km/h) reachable in 9.5 seconds, a substantial improvement on the six-cylinder version's figures. As befitted top-of-the-range luxury models, the 280 SE 3.5 Coupé and Cabriolet came equipped with automatic transmission, power windows, and a stereo radio as standard.

Although the equivalent SEL saloon used the 'New Generation' bodyshell, the 280 SE Coupé and Cabriolet kept the elegant coachwork that had debuted back in 1960/1961 on the 220 SE. Nevertheless, there had been some refinements made: the radiator shell was lower and wider, with a correspondingly flatter front end to the bonnet, a characteristic that has led to enthusiasts referring to these face-lifted cars as 'flat radiator' models, while the bumpers were now fitted with rubber strips. Significantly, the 280 SE 3.5 was to be the final model featuring this long-established and much-admired body style. It was truly Mercedes-Benz's flagship model, representing status, luxury and reliability. Today these last-of-the-line classics are highly sought after by discerning Mercedes-Benz collectors.

Most elegantly finished in the original colour combination of beige grey (beigegrau) with bamboo (bambus) coloured leather interior, this beautifully presented Mercedes-Benz incorporates a host of desirable options including a Becker Grand Prix radio; central armrests front and rear; heated rear screen; additional spotlights; automatic transmission; electric sliding sunroof; and electric windows.

As per the Mercedes-Benz data card (copy on file), the car was sold new via the Munich based dealer (code 226) but its first custodian was a medical doctor based in Vienna. The doctor owned the Mercedes from new until 1989 when the car was sold to its second Austrian owner, who would keep it until 2012 (copies of Austrian registration documents are on file). In 2012 the car was sold via a German dealer to its first German owner, who in turn sold it to the current vendor, a very well-respected collector of fine cars based in Munich. Clearly this car has been looked after all its life, and recent expenditure includes the following:

• 2017: comprehensive service by Mercedes-Benz in Munich including a comprehensive brake service; repair of the power-assisted steering; cooling circuit overhaul; installing new engine mounts; check and repair of heating and ventilation system, etc for a total of €14,600
• 2018: overhaul of the automatic gearbox and further smaller repairs, again at Mercedes-Benz Munich €5,530
• 2018: installing safety belts at CarTech Knowledge, Ismaning near Munich €2,000
• 2020: dry ice blasting and repair of some rust on wheel arches including paint, again at CarTech €5,150
• 2021: service with some minor repairs at CarTech €3,050

So a total of more than €30,000 has been spent on the car since 2017. This stunning Coupé is offered with German registration documents; copies of the aforementioned invoices; Mercedes-Benz factory data card; and the previous Austrian registration document. A rare chance to purchase a European delivered, matching numbers/colours top-of-the-range 280 SE 3.5 Coupé that has been properly looked after.

Bonhams 1793
101 New Bond Street
United Kingdom
Contact Person Kontaktperson
First name 
Bonhams Collectors’ Car department