Mercedes-Benz 280 SE Coupé 3.5 by BV Collector Car Auctions
- November 5, 2019
- Posted by Georgios Ketsatis
In 1959, Mercedes-Benz‘ series W111 was the successor of the large ponton-models. It also was the technical base for all models of Mercedes until the end of the 1960s. The new series came up with a passive safety unknown until then, and as one of the first cars at all had a solid passenger cabin and specific crush zones.
In course of the opening of the Mercedes-Benz Museum on February 24, 1961, Mercedes-Benz presented the 220 SEb/C the coupé version of the W111-series. Different from the sedan, the coupé had significantly less distinctive tail fins, and the body in total was less high and more elegant. Also, the 220 SEb/C was Mercedes-Benz’ first model with standard disc brakes at the front axle.
These large, luxurious coupés and convertibles had a four times higher demand for manual work than the sedan. Together with the discontinued 600-series, these were Mercedes-Benz’ last models produced manually to that extent. This meant a high quality, but also very high cost which is why a 1970 280 SE 3.5 Automatic Coupé listed for 33,465 DM was remarkably more expensive than a 280 SL Pagoda which was available for 26,640 DM.
The series of the W111 coupés and convertibles was crowned in September 1969 with the completely new developed 3.5-litres V8 engine with 200 PS (147 kW), a significantly more powerful version than the 280 SE and 300 SE models from before.
The new V8 was tagged by its power as well as by its smoothness. It made the new top model perform like a sportscar. The new models got a facelift, too – the grille was lowered and widened by seven centimeters, and the bonnet became more flat towards the front. This characteristic mark made people call it “Flachkuehler / low radiator”, a nickname used until today. Another change was made to the bumpers by adding rubber strips. The formerly veneered instrument housing was now covered with leather. From the outside, the eight-cylinders could not be distinguished from the facelifted six-cylinders which also were delivered with the lower radiator now.
This car has a very special history. Being one of the first exemplars at all, the car’s documents say that it has been built in late 1969 as “company car for Mr. Wychodil”. At that time, Arnold Wychodil was member of the executive board of Daimler-Benz and responsible for export. He was, amongst others, in charge of founding Mercedes-Benz North America and had much influence in the company.
Built as company car for a member of the executive board, the car was equipped with all the desirable options, which is unusual and rare with a German delivery.
As options, the car left the factory with (among others):
- Electrical sliding roof
- Air conditioning
- Four electric windows
- Rear axle with limited-slip differential
- Automatic gearbox
- Radio with automatic antenna
- Center arm rest
Plus, this special exemplar was equipped with additional options by the test department, as is stated in detail in the according production order.
For testing and later release for serial production, a car phone Becker AT400 together with a Becker radio Mexico or Becker radio phone respectively was installed. A source indicates that the phone alone cost 7,000 DM. For comparison: In 1970, a VW Beetle cost 5,459 DM and a Beetle Convertible 7,490 DM. As of 1971, a monthly fee of 270 DM added. At that time, a car phone was a tremendously pricey and thus exclusive thing.
Also, the car obtained a central locking system – a first for a car of the W111 series.
The phone and the central locking system were deinstalled in the course of time. The original steering wheel automatic gearbox was changed against a middle automatic gearbox as it was available for the 280 SE 3.9, too. Whether this happened during the use as company car or later is not known to us.
Since 2001, the car is with the actual German owner who had it comprehensively restored in a reknowned workshop in 2011-2012. The car is in a very good and very neat condition.
- Pricing : € 150.000,00
- Company car of Daimler-Benz Head of Export Arnold Wychodil
- German delivery
- Very well optioned ex-factory incl. sliding roof, electric windows and air conditioning
- Prototype for the installation of a Becker car phone and central locking system
- beautiful original color combination of medium blue metallic and leather parchment
- Comprehensively restored 2011-2012
- Since 18 years with actual owner
- current assessment by Dipl. Ing. Klaus Kukuk
Report by bv-auctions.com