In 1968, the “New Generation” of upscale Mercedes-Benz models (S-Class) debuted. These carefully refined five-passenger automobiles continued a tradition of handcrafted quality and superior engineering, while their formal styling remains a design benchmark. The Cabriolet’s padded folding top required 16 hours of hand labor to complete, while its chassis featured advanced design and structural reinforcements providing immense rigidity and safety.
Introduced in 1970, the Mercedes 280SE 3.5 Cabriolet was identical to the standard 280SE Cabriolet, with the exception of its all-new, powerful and smooth 3.5-liter V-8. Referred to as the ‘engine of tomorrow’ by Mercedes, it produced 230 bhp, featured aluminum-alloy cylinder heads, each with a single overhead camshaft, a cast-iron block, Bosch electronic fuel injection and transistorized ignition. Acceleration was strong at 0 to 60 mph in less than 10 seconds. Only 1,232 3.5-liter V-8 Cabriolets were produced between 1969 and 1971. Apart from Mercedes’ top-line 600 series, this car was the company’s flagship model, priced at a heady $14,509 when new.
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