280SE 3.5 Cabriolet
Engine: 3,499cc SOHC V8 with Bosch electronic fuel injection and transistorized ignition
Horsepower: 200 bhp at 5,800 RPM
Torque: 148 ft-lbs at 6,300 RPM
Transmission: 4-speed automatic transmission
A Little History
Completed at the Mercedes-Benz’s Stuttgart factory in June of 1971, this 280SE 3.5 Cabriolet was prepared for the US market, and finished in DB462 Tunis Beige over a Cognac leather interior.
The 280SE 3.5 was good for cruising speeds up near 125mph, with 60mph reachable in 9.5 seconds, a substantial improvement on the six-cylinder version’s figures. The 3.5-liter version of the 280SE typifies the resurgence of larger-engined Mercedes-Benz models that began in the late 1960s.
“If you feel obligated to ask about the price you not only will never understand the car, you have branded yourself incapable of ever appreciating its virtues even if someone gave you one”. Car & Driver, September 1970, on the Mercedes-Benz 280SE 3.5.
With an over-square design with a cast-iron block, aluminum cylinder heads each with a single overhead camshaft, Bosch electronic fuel injection and transistorized ignition, the new 280SE 3.5-liter V8 engine meant cruising speeds u near 125mph.
The 280SE Coupe and Cabriolet kept the coachwork that had debuted back in 1959 on the 220SE and, as befitted top-of-the-range luxury models, came equipped with automatic transmissions, air conditioning, power windows and stereo radio as standard.
The 280SE 3.5 was to be the final model to feature this much admired body style, and today these last-of-the-line top quality classics are highly sought after by discerning collectors.
Jay Leno has been known to wax poetic about his own 1971 280SE 3.5 Coupe.