1971 Mercedes-Benz 280SE 3.5 Coupe


Following the outbreak of the First World War in 1914, Europe’s car industry was decimated. In Germany both Daimler and Benz went back to producing cars post-war, however, times were tough. A merger between Daimler and Benz would ensure that both companies survived and following a technical co-operation agreement in 1924, the companies formally merged on the 1st July 1926. Mercedes-Benz was born!
Subsequently, Mercedes-Benz went on to build some of the greatest cars of all time. The cars from Stuttgart bearing the three-pointed star all had one thing in common . . . they were renowned for their technical innovation, build quality, luxury and performance.

In 1951 Mercedes-Benz introduced the Type W187 220 Series cars, which was the first model to be powered by a six cylinder engine post World War II. This model was a great success and built in relatively big numbers. In the 1950’s Mercedes-Benz produced one of the greatest cars of all time – the iconic 300SL Gullwing and 300SL Roadster. Whilst fabulous sporting cars, they were very expensive and generally sold to the rich and famous. The Type W186 and Type W189 300 series four door luxury tourers were built alongside the Type W198 300SL Gullwing and Roadster and they were indeed fabulous cars in their own right, though still very expensive. Mercedes-Benz wanted to build full sized luxury cars that were ‘more affordable’ than the Type W186 and Type W189 300 series cars, so the Ponton range of cars (Type W120/W121/W105/W180/W128) filled that void nicely. In 1959 Mercedes-Benz introduced the Type W111 as a successor to the very successful Ponton. The Type W111 was built as a sedan, coupe and convertible with many different engine configurations. The sedans were sold in big numbers all over the world, however, as has been the tradition with Mercedes-Benz the two door and convertible cars were built in far smaller numbers and carried a significant price premium. The majority of the Type W111 models were powered by a 6 cylinder engine of varying capacity, ranging from 2195cc (220 series) through to 2778cc (280 series). In 1969 Mercedes-Benz introduced a new 3499cc V8 engine which they fitted to the Type W111 coupes and cabriolets.

The Mercedes-Benz 280SE 3.5 Coupe and Mercedes-Benz 280SE 3.5 Cabriolet were the two flagship models of the range back in the day and only 3270 coupes and 1232 cabriolets were built, the majority of which were left hand drive. We understand that only 245 factory right hand drive Mercedes-Benz 280SE 3.5 Coupes were built. The majority of these cars were sold new in the UK and only a small number found their way to Australia.

Today these cars are highly sought after by enthusiasts and collectors, yet they remain relatively affordable.

Oldtimer Australia is delighted to offer for sale an Australian delivered, factory right hand drive 1970 Mercedes-Benz 280SE 3.5 Coupe.

This car was ordered on the 27th October 1970 and delivered to its first owner, Mrs BJ Back of 5 Bangalla St, Warrawee . NSW, 2074 on 17th of June 1971. Interestingly the car was ordered through Brewo Motors Pty Limited. In Rabaul, Papua New Guinea but delivered new into Sydney Australia.

The data card on file confirms a build date of the 30th March 1971 and it was finished in anthracite grey (173G) with a parchment leather (254) interior. The car was delivered with the following options: automatic transmission, floor shift (420), instruments in English (461), outside rear view mirror on right (502), paint repair kit (525), steering wheel, ivory coloured (551), version for Australia (625), spare wheel (669) and a high capacity battery (677).

The Backs were working in Papua New Guinea (PNG) and immediately shipped their new Mercedes-Benz to Madang, a northern coastal town in PNG in 1971. The service book notes the first two services were carried out by Brewo Motors in Medang on the 8th September 1971 (at 510 miles) and the 31st May 1972 (at 2134 miles). The car returned to Australia on the 19th May 1973. The Back’s were incredibly fastidious with their car and this Mercedes-Benz has a fully stamped service book from day one. The car was serviced by various Mercedes-Benz specialists in Sydney from 1973 to 1996 and the in Brisbane from 1996. The car was retained in single ownership for an incredible 40 years before being acquired by its current owner in 2011. The current owner, who is well known in the Mercedes-Benz community in Brisbane, is also very fastidious and he has continued to meticulously maintain this car to the highest standard. In his 9 years of ownership the car has been maintained by respected classic Mercedes-Benz specialists in south east Queensland.

This extensively original car remains in wonderfully preserved condition and is a credit to its current and previous owners.

Today this lovely Mercedes-Benz 280SE 3.5 Coupe presents and drives beautifully. The paint looks to be extensively original and in excellent condition. The depth of colour remains strong and the paint work has a high gloss. There are some small blemishes evident and there’s no doubt the car has had paint touch ups over the years, but it is incredibly well kept. The panel gaps are excellent and the car is as clean and original underneath as it is on top. The doors shut on this car as crisply as they would have done back in 1971! All of the exterior trim, chrome, lenses and glass are in very good condition throughout. The interior is also wonderfully preserved and in fabulous original condition. Both front seats had some leather repairs around 5 years ago, but you would not pick it. In mid 2019 both front seats were re-foamed. Today the leather is ‘just like your favourite leather jacket’, showing just the right amount of patina. All of the upholstery is in very good condition with no rips or tears. The steering wheel, instruments and controls also present exceptionally well. Importantly, the instruments and gauges are all in working order and the timber is in beautiful condition, which just sets off the interior nicely. The engine bay is also very original, clean and well presented. The boot looks to have been hardly used and there is a boot mat, spare wheel, tool kit, jack and a first aid kit.

This car starts very easily and the engine is incredibly smooth, even when cold. This lovely old Mercedes-Benz has the desirable four speed floor shift transmission, so select ‘drive’ and away you go. The car just goes about its business in a very businesslike yet very relaxed manner. The ride is incredibly smooth and the car just glides along the road without any fuss. The power steering is perfectly balanced – it’s not too light and it’s not too heavy. You turn the steering wheel and the car just follows in the direction you want it to go. Similarly, apply the brakes and the car pulls up in a very considered manner. With the V8 under the bonnet you know you’ve got plenty of power on top when you need it. The air conditioning system was recently overhauled and it blows ice cold air ensuring this car could quite easily be used as a daily driver or just a fabulous weekend cruiser.

The car has won numerous awards at Mercedes-Benz car club concours d’elegances and other classic car shows.

Accompanying the car is the original book set (including the fully stamped service book from new through until today! There are also an owner’s manual, parts manual. dealer network booklet and the original cruise control tag!), a factory data card, numerous historical documents and invoices.

Today the odometer reads 18,208 miles. The service book confirms the car has travelled 218,208 miles, however, you wouldn’t believe that to be true given the condition and presentation of the car.

The Mercedes-Benz Type W111 coupes are timelessly elegant cars, however, a 280SE 3.5 Coupe with the V8 engine under the bonnet is the one to have. These cars engage all the senses and are an absolute delight to drive.

Any Mercedes-Benz 280SE 3.5 Coupe is a ‘cool car’ and a well sorted example is ‘all class’! This example is all that and more, it is ‘something special’ . . . and as they say, a car is only original once!


– An Australian delivered, factory right hand drive example.
– An incredible time capsule, with extensively original paint and trim.
– ‘Matching numbers’ as confirmed by the factory data card.
– A FABULOUS and original colour combination of anthracite grey with a parchment interior.
– Books, including a fully stamped service book from new, tools, jack and unused first aid kit.
– Only two owners from new, the first for forty years through until 2011.




  • -
  • Mercedes-Benz 280SE 3.5 Coupe
  • 1971
  • Coupe
  • Auto
  • 17594 miles
  • 3499cc


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