1969 Mercedes-Benz 280SE Cabriolet

The graceful and stylish Mercedes-Benz W111 “SE” served as the company’s flagship production model from the 1960s and into the early 1970s. The four-seat coupes and cabriolets outlived their sedan stablemates by several years, thanks mainly to the timeless, sophisticated styling by the great designer Paul Bracq. These cars were meticulously assembled and hand-finished to a very high standard in the legendary Werk Sindelfingen using the finest materials and fittings available. The W111 offered quality, luxury, and style on par with automobiles like the vastly more expensive Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow while delivering the refinement and engineering excellence that Mercedes-Benz buyers expected.

The superb 1969 280SE Cabriolet offered here is presented in the beautiful and rarely seen original colors of light ivory over cognac leather trim with a dark brown top. The subject of a nut-and-bolt restoration, this desirable and elegant cabriolet was finished to concours quality standards and has seen light and careful use since it was restored. The factory data cards confirm this is the correct original color scheme, and the quality of paintwork and detailing is outstanding. The body’s subtle feature lines are crisp, and panel alignment is precise and true to factory standards. Exterior brightwork is in good order, with some light fading noted in a few areas but otherwise displaying excellent fit. Wheels are the proper 14-inch steels fitted color-keyed wheel covers and correct narrow-band whitewall radials.

The gorgeous interior is a particular highlight of this car. Richly appointed in factory-correct Cognac leather, it has been beautifully maintained since its restoration. The seats feature the correct patterns and perforated centers, and they appear exceptionally well kept. Tan carpets are tidy and neatly installed. The soft top is fully lined and insulated and covered in the correct shade of dark brown German canvas (code 746). Original VDO instruments sit in a beautifully restored dash featuring superb woodwork and leather covering. Equipment includes optional Behr air conditioning, a column-shift automatic transmission, and a nicely integrated, modern AM/FM/AUX stereo with period styling. Accompanying the sale are service records, original VIN-stamped manuals, data cards, and the warranty plate.

Powering this car is the original, numbers-matching, 2,778 cc inline-six with Bosch mechanical fuel injection. The engine was reportedly rebuilt at the time of the restoration, and the presentation is excellent, displaying correct finishes, paint colors, and restored yellow cad-plated hardware. The undercarriage is also very tidy and well-detailed with proper satin black finishing and re-created assembly markings. It runs and drives as expected of a high-level restoration, with the solidity and refinement expected of a Mercedes-Benz of this era.

Mercedes-Benz produced just over 1,300 280 SE Cabrios between 1967 and 1971, and they stand among the most desirable postwar models this side of a 300 SL. This marvelous example benefits attentive care in the hands of its most recent owner and remains in outstanding order throughout. It is well suited to enjoy on club events and regional concours while offering all of the effortless performance expected from these eminently gratifying driver’s cars.


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