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.
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In the early 3.499s, despite his beautiful lines, he started to look outdated.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.
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.
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