1971 Mercedes-Benz 280 SE 3.5 Cabriolet
Built by Mercedes-Benz in May of 1971 this 3.5 was purchased new at Beverly Hills Mercedes later that year. The car's first owner would keep the car for the next 31 years servicing it regularly and keeping extraordinary care of the car, as documented in over 20 years of service records and hand written notes. Highlights include the 3.5 receiving a complete engine rebuild in November of 1988 at 108,591 miles that included pistons, valves, and rebuilt heads. In 1991 the transmission was replaced at 112,489 miles. Dozens of records refer to routine maintenance on the suspension, brakes, air conditioning, electrical, and other systems.
The next owner, also from Southern California, obtained the car in 2002 and would keep the car as the valuable collectable it had become. Driving it less than 5,000 miles and keeping the car well stored and maintained, he would continue the careful stewardship of this beautiful Mercedes until 2015.
Since arriving at Canepa the 3.5 has been completely revived mechanically and cosmetically. We started with fashioning a completely new and correct interior that included leather seats, door panels, dash, carpet and trunk panels. Instead of settling for off-the-shelf replacement leather, we took pieces of the original leather and sent them to a multitude of leather experts to see who could reproduce the leather just as the factory made it. The result is breathtaking, and you would be hard pressed to tell the original leather from the new by sight, feel, or even smell. A brand new top was made and installed with all new padding and headliner, again paying close attention to the correctness of the fabrics used.
If there was any question as to the appearance or function of any element of the car it was immediately addressed. The gauges and clock were removed and restored. All original chrome mouldings in the greenhouse area were removed and rechromed. Weather seals were replaced all around the car. All of the interior wood trim that had suffered from UV exposure was refinished. New tires were fitted and the hubcaps were restored, polished and repainted. We serviced, repaired, or restored all mechanical systems as needed including the engine, suspension, steering, brakes, AC, electrical, transmission, and differential.
Canepa has made an investment of over $125,000 in almost 800 hours of meticulous mechanical and cosmetic work to make this car one of the finest 280 SE 3.5 Convertibles extant.