Mercedes Benz 280 SE 3.5 Coupe W111

ER Classics Desktop 2022

Mercedes-Benz has always had a special place for coupes and convertibles in the history of Mercedes-Benz. They developed as a constant within the history of Das Haus. For more than 10 years, the Baureihe W111 was the ideal basis for the Opera Coupé, which saw the light of day in 1961 and was built until 1971.

Paul Bracq's design has been improved and refined year after year. And over the years, the manufacturer provided this respectable coupé - as well as the convertible variant - with increasingly powerful and larger engines. Last weekend one of the last built W111 coupés was auctioned on Amelia Island: a beautiful 280 SE with the 3.5 liter V8 M116.980 block. And beautifully preserved life experience.

The 280 SE 3.5 was the highlight of this generation of Mercedes-Benz coupes. Both motor and equipment technical, the 1969 cylinder W8 Coupé presented in November 111 caught the eye. We already mentioned the power source. Facilities like the Becker Europa Radio and air conditioning were special at the end of the sixties and underlined a luxurious and rich character.

When you find this indication on the back of the Opera Coupé you know: this is the latest version. And the best. Image: RM Sotheby's
When you find this indication on the back of the Opera Coupé you know: this is the latest version. And probably the best. Image: RM Sotheby's

The most mature Opera Coupé

The Opera Coupé of the last years of construction was also characterized by the application of the wider Flachkühler grille. It was in line with the front of other Mercedes-Benz models. The coupé also stood out for other reasons. It represented the highest standard of build quality. Nothing was left to chance. This was reflected in the high production costs, of which Mercedes-Benz decided in 1971 not to use them for the Opera Coupé and convertible. This W111 Coupé with V8 power source was the most mature variant. At the same time, it was precisely thanks to the heavy V8 versions that the technical and cosmetic limits of the development possibilities of the model became visible and tangible.

A beautiful concept outdates

In the early 3.499s, despite his beautiful lines, he started to look outdated. The driving characteristics were also respectable. But also in its evolution - given the old concept in combination with the heavy 111 cc power source - there was no more development rack. Until the end of its production period, it was nevertheless appreciated by the rich, and the convertible variant was a welcome guest at high society in, for example, the film industry. Ultimately, 3.270 coupés and 1.232 convertibles were sold of the latter and particularly high-quality Mercedes WXNUMX version.

Very high quality and tasteful. The interior of the auctioned 280 SE 3.5 Coupé reveals pure quality. Image: RM Sotheby's
Very high quality and tasteful. The interior of the auctioned 280 SE 3.5 Coupé reveals pure quality. Image: RM Sotheby's

Proper form of restoration maintains authenticity

The coupé in the photos was awarded first prize in a regional MBCA competition for its originality. It had, according to RM Sotheby's, which auctioned the car in 2016 - the authenticity that is often lost in restorations. The patina on the beautiful wood and the beautiful leather testified, according to the auction house, of “character retention”.

Slightly modified copy

During its noble life, the Opera Coupé was provided with its current classic silver-colored finish, which combines beautifully with the originally blue-tinted interior. The replacement of the trunk mat by a Niemöller copy also fulfills the phenomenon of 'an eye for detail'. Original books, tools and a detailed file with historical documents accompany the coupé, which, in imitation of its open brother, is increasingly appreciated.

Also read:
- 2015 focuses on milestones for the Mercedes-Benz Sindelfingen plant
- Mercedes Benz W114 / W115. More than half a century young.
- Mercedes-Benz S-Class W116 (1972-1980)
- Mercedes 220 SE Coupé 1963. A symbol of wealth
- Mercedes-Benz 300 SEL 6.3 Pininfarina. UNIQUE!


Give a reaction
  1. Fantastic car. have had one from Texas, USA, between 2011 and 2017, all the trimmings. Only what often in the garage for a ditch and a dat that cost a few thousand euros ... very comfortable car but it must be well maintained and many parts must be replaced on time (otherwise it will not pass the MOT in Belgium) . I do miss him now, my compartment. First time I hear about an opera compartment. 🙂

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