My 1965 250SE Cabriolet

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c107

and 111/126
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I’ve been the owner of this car for about the last ten years.
Basically for those not familiar with the model, the 220SE coupe came out in 1961, at the Geneva motor show where it was somewhat eclipsed by the Jaguar E-Type. A shame as it’s probably Mercedes most attractive post war design and was penned by Paul Bracq.

In 1962 the came out with the 220SE cabriolet, which while based on the coupe was significantly changed. So much so that cars that have been chopped are a floppy mess and best avoided.

In 62 they also came out with the range topping w112 300SE coupe and cabriolet with the all alloy m189 engine.

In September 65, the 220SE was replaced by the 250SE with the new seven bearing M129 engine. The cars were also updated to keep in line with the 108 but kept the 111/112 designation.

at the start of 68, the 250SE was replaced by the 280SE and just before the interiors were updated including dropping the wooden instrument cluster binnicle, the elaborate head rests and the two piece alloy wheels.

The 300SE was dropped around this time.

Finally in late 69, the last model, the 280SE 3.5 was launched. They also modernised the design by flattening the grille. The 280SE six cylinder kept on as well in left hand drive markets.

The 280SE 3.5 is the one the collectors now want although personally I would prefer a 300SE.

My car is a 10/65 production 250SE. As they only made 26 in Right hand drive, I have always assumed mine was the first RHD.

My car was originally ordered by the prominent Australian diplomat, Brian Clarence Hill. He picked up the car in Stuttgart and took it to his diplomatic posting in Geneva.

It was owned by the Hill family until the early 2000s and then sold, when it was restored.

IMG_5632.JPGIMG_5639.JPGIMG_5648.JPGIMG_5619.JPG
 
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Styria

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I have seen Bryce's car when I had the opportunity to examine it in full detail. There is no doubt that the Cabriolets of the '60s are just simply a beautiful and stunning car. Perpetual elegance comes to mind, rarely bettered by not too many other cars of that period. Certainly not even a Rover Coupe can even come close, and there were other cars as well that could match it for style - some of the Italians certainly, and perhaps also an Alvis TF (?) 21, but where the Mercedes had the edge was in quality Engineering, superb suspension behaviour (better than anything else around at the time) as well as utter reliability. Perhaps I shouldn't forget, but the S3 Bentley Continental would have to be the most desirable.

It is heartening to know that Bryce's car is in good hands as far as the accident repairs are concerned. I have had the opportunity to examine his Cabriolet in some details, and it is easy to see why it is just about nigh perfect. The paint, the upholstery are just about perfect. All body rubbers are like new, but more importantly, everything is perfect and fits well. I can only think of Peter Swatosch' 220SECoupe that,s probably on a par with Bryce's car, but it is not a Convertible so in overall desirability, the Cab wins by a short half head.

Much fanfare is made of the 3.5 litre Coupe is the most desirable, if not the best. I have driven all variants, and certainly worked on in detail on a 220SE Convertible, restored fully a 300SE Coupe completely, and also quite detailed work on a manual 3.5 litre Manual Coupe. The best, and most desirable, has to go to the 220 model with its magnificent timber embellishments, particularly the Instrument binnacle which is certainly a feature of Bryce's Convertile, but unfortunately absent in the V8 model which makes do with a vinyl dash and binnacle. The Manual 3.5 featured a fifties' Gearbox ratios, with extra low first and second, and a huge gap to third - in my opinion, a not really happy nor suitable conveyance from a driving point of view. When comparing suspension characteristics and comfort, there was nothing that the steel spring cars could not handle better than the Air Suspension set- up of the 300SE Coupe. Yes, Bryce is very lucky to call his Convertible his own. Regards. Styria

BTW, the best looking was the 220SE convertible, with a magnificent Metallic Light Bonze, and a fawn coloured Soft Top. Absolutely magnificent. I do have a couple of photos, and will try and find them.
 
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c107

c107

and 111/126
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Yes its hard to work out which is the best 111.

220 and 250 have the early features styria describes. Wooden instrument cluster, nicer interior fittings etc. There is little to separate 220 and 250 other than the engine. Some 250 engines had problems when they were new, although these would be rectified by now.

280 is a bit of a hybrid in that it has the nicer tall grille but lost the wooden instrument cluster, one piece wheel trims, Boring headrests (after the first year) etc. But you're more likely to find nice options on a 280 than a 220/250.

300 is the king of the hill, but the engine is cripplingly expensive to work on if you're not doing it yourself. The air suspension is well regarded but again expensive.

280 3.5 in my view the worst looking but likely to be specified up highly. And its the one the investors want.

I'm quite happy with my 250, as it has the early features but with a bit more power. shame they didn't do a 280 with all the early features though.

on my car, ready for trim re-assembly
2021-06-09 14.42.53.jpg
 

Michel

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Looking good.
Were you happy with the final result?
 

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