On a trip to Germany in 2005 we came across this 280SE 3.5 cabriolet. The
story behind how we found it goes like this.
We were due to fly out at 9.30pm that night after 12 days in Germany, so by
mid afternoon it was time to head off to Frankfurt check in our car and say
goodbye to Germany. We had a great trip but little did we know it was about
to get a whole heap better. If you can remember back to
Newsletter No.91 where I had the first
instalment of this saga you will remember that we visited a supplier of New
Old Stock Mercedes-Benz parts.
Well, while waiting to see the owner, we were patiently waiting in his
office where he had a selection of magazines. We picked up what appeared to
be a German version of Unique cars and preceded to thumb through it. Even
though it was in German you could get the general idea of what was going
on. Anyway at the back of the magazine was a small add for a W111 280SE 3.5
cabriolet. Now this is a rare and desirable car, especially when it is RHD
and only done 54000kms! (which turned out to be miles) So to cut a long
story short, we tried for ten days to contact the owner and had all but
given up hope, when on the way back to the airport we get a call from him!
All is lost, we think, as we are 50kms from Frankfurt with no time left to
spare. But you will never guess what. The owner lives 50kms on the other
side of the Frankfurt airport and will bring the car to show us at the
airport. Some things are just meant to happen.
The history of the car was that it was sold to the Nigerian government in
1970 and was used for official business. It was twice returned to Germany
for servicing. Now any of you who know world history will know that Nigeria
fell into a political heap in the early 70's. Somehow the car was sold to
the same guy we brought it from and smuggled back to Germany. As it was RHD
the new owner drove it very little. Whilst the car does have some minor
cosmetic faults it is in amazingly original condition. Negotiations to buy
the car have taken over 6 months and it has only recently been placed in a
container and is on its way to Australia.
Of all the W111 cabriolets the 3.5 version is by far the rarest in RHD
format. There were only 71 RHD vehicles made and only 7 were officially
imported to Australia. You may remember that we had one advertised in
No.80 . So this is a super desirable vehicle for anybody's collection.
The car now has a local owner here in Australia who uses it on a regular
basis. We have only had to do some minor cosmetic work on it to preserve it
rather than restore it.
- We have replaced all the rubber seals to keep the water and dust out.
- Refinished the timber work to protect it from the sun damage and rot.
- treat the original leather to nourish it and stop cracking.
-Minor mechanical overhaul including brakes and diff assembly.