The 1959-1971 Mercedes-Benz Coupe and Cabriolet were long-lived replacements for the early-'50s 300S/Sc coupe and cabriolet. As per Mercedes’ practice, they were announced about a year behind their new-design "S-class" sedan parent (internally designated W111/112).

The basic design included a mildly wrapped windshield, straight-through fenderlines, and shortish rear deck (bereft of the sedans' initial tailfins). This design would endure through five single-overhead-cam engines -- four sixes and a valedictory V-8 -- offering progressively more horsepower. The typical period M-B chassis, with low-pivot rear swing-axles, was also unchanged throughout the period, but the late 300s and V-8 models had air suspension. All the engines used Bosch mechanical fuel injection (hence "E," Ein-spritzung, injection) except for the the V-8, which used Bosch's then-new D-Jetronic electronic system.

Interiors featured carefully applied quality materials, including leather on some models, and sufficient, if not spacious, accommodations for four. The Coupe was a true pillarless hardtop. The open-air Cabriolet, on the other hand, had a fully lined folding top in the German cabriolet manner -- and was thus rather bulky when lowered.

Oddly, the 1959- 1971 Coupe and Cabriolet had no direct successors, though the junior "New Generation" coupes of 1968-76 carried on the tradition. The V-8 280SE 3.5 is the best collector choice for performance, refinement and, possibly, future dollar return.

Pluses of the 1959-1971 Mercedes-Benz Coupe and Cabriolet:

  • Nice styling (still looks good)
  • Mechanicals as for the more numerous counterpart sedans
  • Mercedes-Benz construction, quality, snob appeal
  • Key mechanical parts still available
  • Good club support

Minuses of the 1959-1971 Mercedes-Benz Coupe and Cabriolet:

  • Some body parts now scarce
  • Weighty, so mileage nothing special
  • Swing-axle handling woes
  • Sixes rather "clattery"

Production of the 1959-1971 Mercedes-Benz Coupe and Cabriolet:

  • 220SE: 16,902 (1959-65)
  • 250SE: 6,213 (1965-68)
  • 300SE: 3,127 (1962-67)
  • 280SE: 5,187 (1967-71)
  • 280SE 3.5: 4,502 (1969-71)

Specifications of the 1959-1971 Mercedes-Benz Coupe and Cabriolet:
Wheelbase, inches: 108.0
Length, inches: 192.0
Weight, pounds: 3,330-3,650
Price, new: $8,900-$14,500 (U.S.)

Engines for the 1959-1971 Mercedes-Benz Coupe and Cabriolet:

TypeSize
Horsepower
Years
ohc I-6
2,195 cc (134 cid)120/1341959-1965
ohc I-62,496 cc (152 cid)150/1701965-1968
ohc I-62,996 cc (182 cid)160/1851962-1965
ohc I-62,996 cc (182 cid)170/1951965-1967
ohc I-62,778 cc (170 cid)160/1801967-1971
ohc V-8
3,499 cc (213 cid)200/2301969-1971

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