Lot 327

Dare to Dream Collection

1971 Mercedes-Benz 280 SE 3.5 Cabriolet


$268,800 USD | Sold

Canada | Toronto, Ontario



Chassis No.
Canadian Registration
  • Wonderful example of one of Mercedes-Benz’s final hand-built models, desirably equipped with floor-shift automatic transmission
  • Finished in correct Tobacco Brown over beige upholstery with a dark brown fabric top
  • Documented by a data card copy, as well as service and restoration invoices
Please note, this lot is registered in Canada and import duty will be applicable to all countries outside of Canada, including the United States. RM Sotheby’s will assist buyers with importation and for residents of the USA, in obtaining a US title.

Introduced in the fall of 1969, the Mercedes-Benz 280 SE 3.5 combined the classic styling of earlier W111 models with a more streamlined rear end and an all-new, 200-horsepower V-8 engine featuring Bosch D-Jetronic electronic fuel injection. On the cabriolet, a power-operated, multilayer top—said to have required more than 16 hours of hand labor to complete—featured a headliner to fully conceal the framework. Only 13 cars were finished per week, with Mercedes-Benz producing just 1,232 examples of the Cabriolet from 1969 through 1971. These would be the marque’s final truly hand-built automobiles.

The 3.5 Cabriolet offered here is a United States version wearing a charming older restoration in its correct Tobacco Brown. Per a copy of its data card, the car was furnished with power steering, limited slip-differential, instruments in miles, driver’s side outside rearview mirror, a Becker Europa radio, paint-coat preservation, automatic antenna, folding front arm rest, Behr air conditioner, power windows, white wall tires, and heat-insulating glass. Notably, it was also equipped from the factory with the desirable floor shifter for the automatic transmission.

Following its arrival on American shores, the car’s subsequent history is unknown until April 1992, when the car was purchased from a Deerfield Beach, Florida-based couple by Patrick Madormo of nearby Highland Beach, Florida. Madormo then commissioned Harbor Auto Restorations of Pompano Beach, Florida for an extensive repaint in its correct Tobacco Brown as well as an engine-out service and detailing. A file of restoration invoices and photographs document the exceptional level of detail bestowed upon this cabriolet. After completion, the car moved to California, where it enjoyed pampered use before its acquisition by the Dare to Dream Collection in 2000. Since coming into the collection, the car has enjoyed two decades plus of compassionate care and gentle use; this included time spent in sunny South Florida, the perfect locale for such a fine cabriolet.

As one of the most desirable vehicles of the early 1970s, this 280 SE 3.5—with its enduring design and exquisite craftsmanship—will never go out of style, making it a choice acquisition for collectors seeking a sophisticated and capable luxury convertible.