1968 Mercedes-Benz 280SE Convertible

The Mercedes-Benz W111 Cabriolet is one of the finest and best performing GT cars of the era. Handsome and luxurious, the glamorous cabriolet and its elegant coupe sibling offered style, luxury, performance and reliability in a typically robust package. These two-door variants shared a basic platform and drivetrain with the four-door “Heckflosse” sedans, but they were offered with a very different styling treatment. While the sedans had upright styling along with somewhat awkward tail fins that were clearly pandering to the American market, the coupe and cabrio were more modern, more subdued and much more timeless in appearance. The styling of the 280SE 2-door inspired that of the Heckflosse’s replacement, the W108, and the 2-door W111 outlasted its befinned counterpart by several years. Engines ranged from the smallbore 2.2 liter, through the powerful 2.8 liter inline-six and even a 3.5 liter V8. Today’s enthusiasts appreciate all versions of the W111 Coupe and Cabriolet for their very modern road manners, exceptional build quality and the understated elegance. Many of the world’s most esteemed automobile collectors keep a W111 280SE because of its unflappable nature and outstanding drivability to go with the classic good looks. If ever there was a prestigious classic car that belies its age and could be used on a regular basis, it is the Mercedes Benz W111 280SE.

This beautiful, well-restored example has had just three owners from new and presents in a very elegant color combination of off-white over tan leather with a chocolate brown cloth convertible top. The original Canadian owner, Ms. Holly Maxwell took delivery of this car in 1968 and kept it in her possession for 30 years before finally selling the car to a German enthusiast in the late 1990s. The second owner returned the car to Europe, where he commissioned a comprehensive, but sympathetic restoration in the early 2000s. It seems the car was in very good order to begin with, as there are some areas which still appear to be untouched. In 2007 it was sold to its most recent owner, still remaining in excellent condition, fully sorted and ready for enjoyment. The white paint is of a very high quality, with precise, consistent shut lines and alignment, just as it should be with these well-built automobiles. The extensive brightwork is in similarly fine order – straight, complete and with high quality plating from front to rear. The 280SE cabriolet is a wonderful place to spend an afternoon of relaxed motoring and this example is sure to cosset both driver and occupants in fresh tan leather, high quality German carpet and plenty of standard equipment. According to the Mercedes-Benz Certificate of Authenticity, this example came equipped with electric windows, folding armrest, a Becker Mexico stereo, and a tan leather top boot, which remain with the car today.

When the restoration was performed, great attention was paid under the hood where the 2.8 liter, mechanically fuel-injected inline-six resides. The engine bay is very clean and tidy, with correct finishes on the engine and ancillaries, as well as mainly correct hose clamps and other various fittings. Included in the sale is the original first aid kit, correct original tool roll, original books and manuals and a copy of the Mercedes Classic Center Certificate of Authenticity.

Few cars of the period perform as well and as reliably as the wonderful W111s. The open coachwork, elegant colors, high quality restoration and good provenance further enhance this example’s already high desirability.

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