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1971 Mercedes-Benz 280SE 3.5 Cabriolet Conversion

Genuine 8-Cylinder 3.5, Professionally Converted from Coupe Using Many Factory Parts. A Driving Experience Indistinguishable from an Original, and an Incredible Value.

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VIN 111.026-12-003556
Exterior Color Silver
Interior Color Black Leather
Mileage 110801 Miles
Engine 3.5 Liter 8-Cylinder
Transmission Automatic
Status Sold
Stock FJ2278


1971 Mercedes Benz 280SE 3.5 Cabriolet Conversion
s/n 111.026-12-003556
Silver with Black Leather Interior

After more than a century of innovation, great design, and superlative performance, the Mercedes-Benz 280SE 3.5 Convertible remains among the most sought-after and collectible cars today. The last of the handbuilt classic, upright grille, full-sized Mercedes 2-door design, these elegant convertibles arrived in the US market offering comfortable open-air motoring with ample room for friends or family members, and spacious trunk space, making them ideal for long tours or visits to shore homes. Derived from the W111 platform, these exceptional road cars featured the latest technical advances including coil-sprung independent suspension all around, power steering, four-wheel power disc brakes, a host of contemporary convenience features and, offered first in 1969, the remarkable fuel-injected overhead cam 3.5 liter V8 engine. In addition to the performance and comfort Mercedes-Benz offered in all their cars, they further pioneered innovative unibody construction, refining their cars with built in crumple zones, padded steering wheel and dashboard components, and three-point safety belts.

Technical features and superb engineering certainly made the 280SE Convertible a remarkable car, however the truly extraordinary qualities were realized in the attention to detail and hand made craftsmanship afforded to each of these cars. Robustly built and elegantly appointed, the contemporary press praised the 280SE as one of the finest offerings for the time. Ultimately these astronomically high priced and handmade cars would be very last of this landmark automobile built in such a bespoke manner.

This particular example was purchased from Fantasy Junction in 2001 from by the current owner, a Northern California enthusiast and multiple car collector with decades of history collecting and driving his cars. The car began life as a factory original 3.5 V8 Hardtop serving the previous owner until approximately the mid 1980s when award winning coachbuilder and famed metal fabricator Steve Moal converted the car to factory convertible specifications. In conversations with Moal, he recalls having performed the work with all factory parts supplied by Oakland, California Mercedes-Benz dealership, European Motors. A brand new factory top including factory mechanism and top bows, latches and correct rubber were purchased along with factory floor stiffeners. Having purchased the car with 88,802 miles, the current owner fastidiously documented each service and repair invoice, recording all mileage accounting for the current 110,801 miles currently showing on the odometer.

During current ownership considerable effort was extended to ensure the car was cosmetically maintained to a high level of presentation and all systems were operating properly. Beginning in 2001, the A/C system was professionally converted to R134, a major engine service was performed, and new brakes installed at 89,000 miles. A newer set of cast wheels were also installed, along with a new SureFit top and new SureFit front leather seat covers professionally installed. Selective paint work was also performed to maintain a consistent finish. Over the past 18 years, the car has been regularly serviced with frequent oil changes, new spark plugs, new radiator, new starter, belts, new water pump, and new tires, installed at 107,389 miles. A new battery was installed in 2014 with recent extensive services performed at 109,000 miles including a new fuel pump, a $2500.00 major brake service, new motor mounts and transmission mounts, and power window repairs. In 2018 with 110,699 miles, a $3,500.00 service was performed including an oil change, new fan clutch, new rear brake pads, new steering box, a new hood insulation pad, and the heater levers were repaired.

Today this 280SE Cabriolet presents very nicely with glossy metallic paint displaying a handsome luster throughout. The paint was applied with care to all inner surfaces, edges, corners, and trim, with only minor blemishes evident in a few small areas accompanied by a few minor chips acquired over the years of careful ownership. The doors shut confidently, with an excellent snap, while the hood and trunk lids show reasonably good panel gaps. The chrome bumpers and trim are in excellent condition, showing only minor imperfections in the thin grille bars when viewed up close. Both front and rear bumper rubber are in very nice condition showing no excessive marks or warpage. All lenses, lighting, and glass are in excellent condition with no significant chips on the windshield. The convertible top is beautifully tailored, tight, and clean with a clear and taut rear window. The top boot cover is in nice condition snapping tightly to the rear deck. Close inspection to the cover reveals two small holes and some edge piping wear. The wheels are nicely finished, capped by bright wheel arch trim showing minor imperfections in the driver’s side trim (original wheel opening trim is included). The silver metallic exterior, contrasted by the black top and black leather interior evokes a stately presence, elegantly conveying the highly refined and enduring luxury convertible design.

The interior is beautifully finished using correct and high quality materials, displaying excellent fit and finish. The front leather seats are supple and nicely bolstered with excellent sheen and proper piping lines, nicely matching the rear seats. The carpeting is in very nice condition, showing no significant wear marks, tight fitting, properly stitched edge-beading, and just a hint of use in the driver’s footwell. The steering wheel is beautifully presented with no separations in the rim, nicely padded center horn pad, and a smooth chrome horn ring. The dash is quite nice showing excellent and rare burled walnut wood, over the more typically seen zebrano. Clear lacquer and splendidly detailed instrumentation adorn the beautifully finished dashboard throughout, with a portion of the wood trim along the base of the windshield edge slightly lifting and slightly fading. Door panels and rear seating continue the theme of excellence with great fit, tight presentation, and smooth finish. All switches, knobs, and various controls operate smoothly with excellent cosmetic presentation including the recently serviced heater control levers. The converted A/C system is not currently blowing cold, although the owner states it has consistently performed as needed. The trunk is very nicely finished with correct materials, spare tire, and proper tools.

Under the hood, the engine compartment and engine have been properly maintained and serviced showing correct factory finishes and proper hardware. Clearly tended to by professionals paying close attention to correct Mercedes-Benz parts and service guidelines, the engine appears well finished and correctly appointed. Though not detailed for show or display, the engine presents a very honest combination of original features and properly maintained components.

The car starts easily, delivering a very smooth idle with no smoke or excessive noise. Driving manners are wonderful in every respect. The composed, stately presence is reflected the superb ride engineering, advanced brakes, and suspension Mercedes-Benz delivered in their vehicles. Mechanically the car performs as one might expect, offering smooth and ample power delivery, while impressively accelerating when demands are made on the potent 3.5 liter engine. When leisurely touring, the smooth shifting, easy handling, and confident braking reveal a superb driving experience. The undercarriage and chassis components are well maintained, clean and properly presented. The car is offered with a factory owner’s manual, tools, jacking equipment, top boot cover, original type wheels (not pictured) and wheel covers, wheel opening trim, and records for services performed since 2001.

Understandably collectable due to their rarity, quality, and elegance, prices for factory 280 SE 3.5 convertibles continue to rise and command attention from astute collectors. Offered at a fraction of the price of a factory convertible, this is a great opportunity to acquire of one of the finest luxury cars built by Mercedes-Benz, further enhanced by the professional conversion performed by legendary Moal Coachworks. Beautifully presented and ready for enjoyable open air driving, this Mercedes-Benz 280SE 3.5 Convertible will transport passengers with incomparable style and performance mile after enjoyable mile.


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

The above vehicle information is complete and accurate to the best of our knowledge at the time it is posted to this website. Corrections or additional information is always appreciated. All advertised prices exclude government fees and taxes, any finance charges, any dealer document preparation charge, and any emission testing charge. Vehicles are subject to prior sale. All advertised to be true but not guaranteed. We assume no liability for errors or omissions.

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