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The 3.5-litre version of the 280SE typifies the resurgence of larger-engined Mercedes-Benz models that began in the late 1960s and early 1970s, when the progressive easing of fiscal constraints, which had dissuaded customers from buying cars with large capacity engines, encouraged the German manufacturer to offer bigger, more potent power units. Thus, the ultra-luxurious 280SE Coupé/Cabriolet and 300SEL saloon were the models chosen by Mercedes-Benz to launch its magnificent new 3.5-litre V8 engine in 1969. An over-square design featuring a cast-iron block and aluminium alloy cylinder heads, each equipped with a single overhead camshaft, this all-new, state-of-the-art power unit produced 200bhp courtesy of Bosch electronic fuel injection and transistorised ignition. Thus equipped, the Coupé/Cabriolet was good for 125mph with 60mph whispering by in 9.5 seconds, a substantial improvement on the six-cylinder version's figures. Although the equivalent SEL Saloon used the 'New Generation' bodyshell, the Coupé and Cabriolet kept the elegant coachwork that had debuted back in 1959 on the 220SE and, as befitted top-of-the-range luxury models came equipped with automatic transmission, air conditioning, power windows and stereo radio as standard. Significantly, the 280SE 3.5 was to be the final model to feature this long-established and much-admired body style, and today these last-of-the-line classics are highly sought after by discerning Mercedes-Benz collectors. But it’s not just their rarity that makes them so desirable since they also represent some of the quickest Mercedes of that era. The most prestigious of the 280SE Coupé and Cabriolet variants is the 3.5 litre V8 model made for just two years from 1969 to 1971, the majority of these in left-hand drive. Offered here is a beautifully original, UK supplied, RHD 1971 280SE Coupé delivered new to Highgate London in August 1971 to a Marie McDonald Mc Laughlin Gibb better known by her stage name Lulu and the then wife of Maurice Gibb of the Bee Gees. She is internationally identified with hits such as ’Shout’, 'To Sir with Love’, and Eurovision success with ' Boom Bang-a-Bang'’. She also sang the title song to the James Bond movie ‘’The man with the Golden Gun’’. Without doubt a sixties (and seventies) pop icon, she was awarded an OBE in 2000 by the Queen and is now known as Lulu Kennedy-Cairns OBE. She kept this Coupé for approximately three years with the second owner, an Arabian businessman domiciled in London, selling it to its present owner, our vendor who has cherished and enjoyed ownership of this significant Mercedes for nearly thirty-eight years. At the time, around Christmas 1981, whilst living in the fashionable West End he noticed the Coupé advertised in the Sunday Times by the exuberant motor trader John Lewis of Heathmans Row/ Kings Road Chelsea. Whilst in our vendor's ownership, a renowned collector of all things Mercedes, the 280SE has been maintained to an excellent standard. Only two respected marque specialists have cared for it throughout his thirty-eight-year ownership. Initially, service work was carried out by Schmitt Automobiles in St John's Wood. After a trip to Germany to have the Behr air conditioning fitted, as per factory installations, Die Autoschmiede undertook a restoration of the underside including both sills and then attended to the steering, ensuring this elegant coupe drives faultlessly today It is still fitted with the original sunroof and with its Becker Mexico radio cassette player and we imagine that Mrs Marie Gibb would frequently have popped in a ' Saturday Night Fever' cassette to listen to her husband Maurice and his brothers. Motor tax exempt and with a full MOT, this three owner car is a very usable example of a timeless classic with the cachet of sixties icon ownership. NB. Our vendor advises us that the air conditioning may need recommissioning.
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