1. 1970 Mercedes-Benz 280SE Cabriolet

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Lot Number
6
1970 Mercedes-Benz 280SE Cabriolet
Scottsdale Auction

ESTIMATE: $150,000 - $200,000
CHASSIS NO: 11102512004367
• Rare “Low Grille” version of an unqualified Mercedes-Benz classic
• Ground-up professional restoration completed in 2009
• Exceptional presentation, striking colors, detailed inside and out
• Well-equipped with Blaupunkt radio, Behr air-conditioning, power windows

2,778 cc SOHC, inline six-cylinder engine with Bosch mechanical fuel injection, 180 HP at 5,750 RPM, four-speed automatic gearbox, independent front suspension with double wishbones, coil springs and stabilizer bar, independent rear suspension with swing axles, radius arms and coil springs, and four-wheel, power-assisted hydraulic disc brakes; wheelbase: 108.3"


Debuting for 1965, the new Mercedes-Benz W108 series heralded the arrival of the high-end S-Class models from Stuttgart. First offered in ‘250’ form with a robust 2.5-litre six-cylinder powerplant, the uprated 2.8-litre 280 specification entered production for 1968. In addition to their excellent engineering features at their very core, the S-Class W108 models also represented the upper-level manifestations of Mercedes’ conservatively styled, yet handsome “New Generation” styling theme by young French designer Paul Bracq. As one of the greatest driving forces of 20th Century industrial design, Bracq’s achievements could easily fill volumes, including Mercedes’ 220 SEb Coupe and Cabriolet, the distinctive “Pagoda” SL models, iconic Mercedes-Benz 600 and 600 Pullman limousine, France’s world-famous TGV high-speed trains, and many more world-changing transportation products. In keeping with time-honored tradition for all Mercedes-Benz products, an emphasis on largely hand-built quality further defined the W108 line.

Among the W108 models produced, the Coupe and Cabriolet were the style and image leaders for those who “made it,” or were already well on their way to success. In particular, the 280 SE Cabriolet’s interior appointments were a magnificent combination of rich, top-quality leather upholstery, magnificent burled wood, and the ever-tasteful and selective application of bright chrome accents. Standard passenger amenities included air-conditioning, a stereo radio, and power-operated windows. All this luxury and craftsmanship was based upon an advanced unitized body/chassis structure with industry-leading, built-in safety features including front and rear crumple zones. Ample power delivery from the 180-horsepower, 2.8-litre ‘six’ – shared with the 280 SL – was enhanced with revised Bosch fuel injection, and both four-speed automatic and five-speed manual gearboxes were available from 1969. Predictably, period magazine road tests praised the refined W108 models, particularly the dashing 280 SE Cabriolet, which remains an great favorite among today’s collectors who like to drive and enjoy their cars.

A further refinement of the exterior was penned by Bracq in 1967, with a lower and wider grille design. A prototype “Low Grille” 280 SE Cabriolet was first unveiled at the 1968 Brussels Motor Show, creating a sensation with its understated aura of glamour and refinement. While production numbers vary by the source quoted, the “Low Grille” cars are rare and extremely desirable among today’s knowledgeable collectors and marque enthusiasts. However, comparatively few remain today.
Striking in Tobacco Brown over tan leather upholstery, this splendid “Low Grille” 1970 Mercedes-Benz 280 SE Cabriolet received a high-dollar ground-up restoration that was completed in 2009 by Classic Car Restorations. Featuring a glossy paint finish and fully detailed inside and out, this 280 SE Cabriolet is well-equipped with a Blaupunkt ‘Tucson’ radio unit with cassette player, in addition to Mercedes’ excellent four-speed automatic gearbox, Behr air-conditioning, power windows, floor mats, and a set of period style 195/70 R14 radial tires. Only an approximate 63,000 miles are indicated on the odometer and the consignor reports the vehicle is a great-driving example. Sparingly used and properly kept since restoration, this 1970 Mercedes-Benz 280 SE Cabriolet is an outstanding example of one of Stuttgart’s best models, steeped in incomparable heritage, advertised when new as, “…a proud descendant of a long line of distinguished Mercedes-Benz cars. Magnificent machines like the supercharged 540K of the 1930s, and the classically simple 300 S Cabriolet of the ‘50s.”

1970 Mercedes-Benz 280SE Cabriolet
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