Ad of the week: 280SE W111

This weeks ad features a double page ad featuring the 280SE Cabriolet W111 to the pre war 540K.   The choice of the desert scene is rather odd for these type of cars, and the picture feature the American model with the strange front running lights.

Mercedes 280SE W111 PictureMercedes 280SE W111 Text only

If you were a prince in the 1930’s, you might have owned a Mercedes-Benz 540K.   Today, you can drive an even finer convertible – for $11,000 less.

Mercedes-Benz built its classic 540K Cabriolet (background) with all the delicate speed of an oyster constructing a pearl.

During the entire four year life of the model, 1936 through 1939, only 406 cars left the plant.

But these cars, snapped up by the rich and royal for the equivalent of $23,000 today, were enough to make the 540K a legend – the epitome of motoring splendour in the era.

Even now, miniature 540Ks adorn the shelves of modellers, and originals are the envy of aficionados at concours d’elegance the world over.

The latest Mercedes-Benz luxury convertible is at the left. The 280SE. While modern technology has spurred production to a heady nine cars a week, helping shave the price to a mere $12,000, the car is a worthy successor to the 540K in every way.

If you could strip away the body, you’d find a chassis startlingly different from that of any convertible or sedan built in America.

The innards of an Indianapolis racing machine would come closer. You’d spot all-independent suspension, for matchless agility and roadholding. Massive, four-wheel disc brakes, for heroic stopping power. And an obedient steering system that blesses yhou with precise “Feel-of-the-road” control.

Of course, all Mercedes-Benz motor cars, even those under $5,000, have those same performance features.

But the Convertible is also a masterpiece of workmanship.

The body cannot be unbolted from the frame, as with a conventional car, because they are welded into one rigid, rattle-thwarting unit.

Hands in soft gloves caress the body to detect bumps and burrs, and smooth them away. Vital seams are soldered and buffed to oblivion.

Probing with stethoscopes, engineers have winnowed out harmonic vibrations in the drive train. Seat springs are actually tuned to the car’s suspension movements – to cancel out thousands of tiny, tiring tremors every mile.

Of course, all Mercedes-Benz motor cars, even those under $5,000 are build this way too.

So what makes the convertible worth $12,000? Finicky details, frankly. Like the exquisite leather that lines the car. Glove Box, underside of the dash, and all.

Like the handmade fabric top, so thick it houses a courtesy lamp, so padded it muffles rod noise better than most hard tops, so taut it refuses to flutter at turnpike speeds.

Like the trim of knurled walnut root, macassar or other rare woods.

For all the amenities of the Convertible, char with your dealer.

And, while you’re in the showroom, examine some other models. You may be surprised at what a splendid Mercedes-Benz you can get – even for a less princely sum.

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