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Image Left 1970 280SL
 

1971 Mercedes-Benz 280 news, pictures, specifications, and information

Roadster
 
The first 'S-Class' Mercedes arrived in 1968, the 280S and 280SE. The 280 saloons were large, full size saloons which offered comfort and luxury to five occupants. Built on a 108-inch wheelbase, the new S-Class saloons were known for their quality workmanship, leather interiors with wood trim, full equipment, and power.

Although the 280 was initially powered by a 2.8-liter six, Mercedes added a V8 engine 280Se to the range. The 280SE 3.5 has a 3.5-liter V8 and came with automatic transmission and power steering. These beautiful sedans came in a variety of coachwork with this particular automobile being a very rare coupe. The 280Se 3.5 would reach a top speed of 125 mph and offered effortless high-speed cruising coupled with supple ride comfort.

The Mercedes-Benz 280 SE was produced from November 1967 through September 1972. The fuel injection overhead cam 3.5-liter 8-cylinder engine produced 200 hp and was capable of a maximum speed of 127 mph. The 280 was available in a Sedan, Coupe and Convertible.

The 280 SE coupe and convertible was introduced at the Frankfort Auto Show in 1969. The 280 is noted for its luxurious leather upholstery and elegant wood interior trim. 3,270 examples of the coupes were built. This particular example is especially rare as it is totally un-restored and a tribute to the fine products Mercedes-Benz has always produced.
Coupe
Chassis Num: 111-026-12-001634
 
The production of the 280SE 3.5 Coupes & Cabriolets (March, 1969 to July, 1971) was 4,502 units (est. 3,270 coupes and 1,232 cabriolets). The last four digits of the serial numbers ran consecutively without regard to which model was built. All USA sales were titled as 1971 models and sold beginning in the summer of 1970. There were 801 280SE 3.5 Cabriolets and 808 280Se Cabriolets sold here. This car was built and shipped in June 1970 to the United States and originally sold in the Philadelphia area. It was purchased by the current owner in May, 1972 in Chagrin Falls, Ohio with 22,000 miles on the odometer. The car was repainted in April 1983 by Koepke Motor Sales of Lakewood, Ohio in astral silver #735. The exterior chrome, all the glass except the windshield, and the entire interior is original. The side moulding, bumper guards, stainless exhaust, and replacement rear axle leveler spring have been added by the current owner. The current mileage is 107,000 miles.
Roadster
Chassis Num: 113044-12-021663
 
Known as the 'pagoda roof' SL, the W113 featured a removable hardtop with a unique roofline that was lower in the middle than on the sides. Introduced in 1967, the 280SL was the third iteration of the W113, following the 230SL and 250SL. The new number denoted the car's 2.8-liter straight six, SOHC engine, which produced 168 horsepower and 177 lb ft of torque. The W113 was quiet a bit more mild-mannered than the 300SL that preceded it, but the new cars independent rear suspension was an improvement upon the swing-axle suspension.
Convertible
Chassis Num: 11102712001242
 
High bid of $74,000 at 2004 RM Auctions. (did not sell)
Sold for $143,000 at 2010 RM Auctions.
The Mercedes-Benz 280SE 3.5 Cabriolet was introduced in 1970, and was identical to the standard 280SE Cabriolet except for the engine. The standard inline six-cylinder unit was replaced with an all-new 3.5-liter V8 that boosted power by more than 25 percent. It was a smooth and powerful engine with an over-square combustion chamber, aluminum alloy cylinder heads, a cast iron block and featuring Bosch electronic fuel injection as well as transistorized ignition. The engine produced 230 horsepower and could carry the 280 SE 3.5 to 60 mph in less than 10 seconds.

The 280SE 3.5 was fitted with many amenities including power steering, power brakes, stereo, radio, air conditioning, electric windows and an automatic transmission. There was seating for five passengers in the genuine leather interior. In total, there were just 4,502 examples in both coupe and cabriolet form, sold between 1969 and 1971. Selling at $14,509 in 1971, their exclusivity was guaranteed.

This example was purchased by the current owner in the mid-2000s. It was given a restoration around the mid-1990s and has remained in excellent condition throughout. It currently shows 79,000 miles. It is finished in navy blue with a light tan convertible top.

In 2010, this Mercedes-Benz was offered for sale at RM Auctions 'Automobiles of Amelia Island' sale in Amelia Island, Florida. The car was estimated to sell for $120,000-$140,000. As bidding came to a close, the car has been sold for the sum of $143,000, inclusive of buyer's premium.

By Daniel Vaughan | May 2013
Coupe
 
The 1971 W113 280 SL was the last of the 'pagoda' series - named after the profile of the detachable hardtop available for the car - which started in 1963 (with the 230 SL, and then 250 SL) following the famous 300 SL of gullwing fame, and the 190 SL. The Paul Bracq design well suited the car which had morphed from the ultra-high performance of the 300 SL and cruise style of the 190 SL to a comfortable position somewhere in the middle of the two. The 280 SL was powered by a 170 horsepower, 2.8-liter six, with both auto and manual transmission as options.
Coupe
Chassis Num: 111.026.12.000001
Engine Num: 116.980.12.000003
 
Sold for $77,000 at 2013 RM Auctions.
For 1965 through 1972, the large luxury line of Mercedes-Benz were the W108 and 109 models. They replaced the Heckflosse or 'fintail' W111/112 cars and initially used the overhead-cam straight six in several sizes. The car's nomenclature were 250 S, 250 Se, and 300 SE, depending on the engine. In 1967, a 2,778 cubic-centimeter 'M13' engine gave rise to 280 S and 280 SE model designations. By 1969, however, it was recognized that there was a lack of a V8 engine in the U.S. market, so a 3.5-liter power-plant, designated M116, was developed. The power-plant had a cast iron block for rigidity, economy, and better sound damping. It had cross-flow wedge cylinder heads with rocker-operated valves driven by a single overhead camshaft per bank. The cams were chain-driven to help extend the life of the engine. The engine initially displaced 3499cc, but was followed by a 4520cc 'big block' M1117 version in 1971.

The new W108 model was designated 280 SE 3.5 to distinguish it from its six-cylinder counterpart. Production began in August of 1969 and continued through July of 1971. During the 24 month total production run, there were 3,270 coupes and 1,232 cabriolets. The 1971-1972 cars with larger engine were designated 280 SE 4.5.

This Mercedes-Benz 280 SE 3.5 Coupe left the Mercedes-Benz factory on August 26th of 1969. It has chassis sequence number 0001 which gives it the pride as being 'car number one.' It has metric instrumentation which suggests it was intended for the European market. It was first title in the United States in 1971, designated as that year's model, and it still remains so today. For 1973, until purchased by Mr. O'Quinn in 2005, it resided in California. It is believed that the car has had just three owners from new.

The car has been repainted in the original Daimler-Benz 571 Red Poly color. It has had a new windshield, door and trunk gaskets. The engine and transmission were rebuilt around 5,000 miles ago. The engine is the 3499cc single overhead cam V8 power-plant offering nearly 200 horsepower. There is a four-speed automatic and four-wheel power-assisted hydraulic disc brakes.

By Daniel Vaughan | Oct 2013
Roadster
Chassis Num: 113.044.12.021820
Engine Num: 130.983.12.014720
 
Sold for $121,000 at 2013 Gooding & Company.
The Mercedes-Benz 280 SL was introduced in 1968 and was a refinement of the six-cylinder, two-seat coupe/roadsters launched in 1963 as a replacement for the 300 SL and the 190 SL. The car rested on a 94.5-inch wheelbase unibody chassis with all-independent suspension, and its M130 2.8-liter overhead camshaft six featuring a seven-main bearing crankshaft. In US form, the 280 SL offered 160 horsepower and enough torque to carry the car to a top speed of about 120 mph. Most examples were given an automatic, though some were equipped with the optional ZF manual setup. Over the four-year production span, about 23,885 examples of the 280 SL were produced, with more than half delivered to the United States market. 830 examples were sold in American in 1971.

This US-specification 280 SL has recently been given a complete nut-and-bolt restoration by an East Coast Mercedes-Benz specialist. It is finished in its original color scheme of Dark Olive (DB291H) with Parchment MB Tex interior, Dark Green canvas top, and color-coordinated German square-weave carpets. It is equipped with an automatic transmission (Option 420), power steering (option 422), a Becker Europa stereo radio (Option 518), Goodyear radial tires, color-matched hubcaps, bumper guards (Option 441), and a correct Mercedes-Benz brand battery.

The odometer shows 67,402 miles.

By Daniel Vaughan | May 2013
Roadster
 
The 280 SE models were similar in size to their 6-cylinder sedan series mates, but powered by a fuel injected, 3.5-liter, 230 horsepower V8. A full restoration has just been completed on this attractive convertible coupe. It recently won a 'Best in Show' at the 2007 Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix, where Mercedes-Benz was the featured marque.
Roadster
 
The 280SE 3.5-liter cars were Mercedes-Benz's first V8-powered sports cars. A combination of elegant styling coupled with effortless performance made them highly desirable and they were every bit as prestigious as their competitors. From the outset, these German automobiles emphasized quality and the cars featured a new interior with more wood and leather upholstery as the standard. The 3.5-liter V8 engine was highly advanced, with electronic fuel injection and transistor ignition.

This automobile has 32,000 original miles and is unrestored with the exception of new paint which was completed in April 2007. This automobile has had two owners since new and was originally purchased from Hassan Motors in Cincinnati, OH. The current owner has owned this automobile for 35 ye ars.
Convertible
Chassis Num: 110271201432
 
Sold for $121,000 at 2007 RM Auctions.
This 1971 Mercedes-Benz 280 SE 3.5 Cabriolet was offered for sale at the 2007 RM Auctions held in Amelia Island, Florida. The car was offered without reserve and estimated to sell between $95,000 - $135,000. It is powered by a 3499cc overhead cam fuel-injected V8 engine capable of producing 230 horsepower. There is a three-speed floor-shift automatic gearbox and four-wheel disc brakes.

The 3.5-liter version of the 280SE was first introduced in 1970. It was similar to the base 280SE, but given a performance boost thanks to the potent power-plant. It was hailed by the company as a smooth and powerful engine. Zero to sixty was accomplished in less than ten seconds. From 1969 through 1971, only 4502 examples of these cars were produced, in both coupe and convertible body styles. They carried a base price of $14,509 in 1971.

The car was given amenities such as power steering, electric windows, automatic gearbox, air conditioning, radio/stereo, and power brakes as standard equipment.

In 2004, this car was given a bare-metal re-spay in its original color of signal Red. In 2005, the leather interior was replaced and the car was treated to a mechanical service. It has traveled less than 85,000 miles since new.

At auction, the car was sold for $121,000.

By Daniel Vaughan | Feb 2011
Sedan
Chassis Num: 11102612002381
 
Sold for $44,000 at 2008 Russo & Steele.
This 1971 Mercedes-Benz 280SE was offered for sale at the 2007 Christies auction of 'Exceptional Motor Cars at the Monterey Jet Center.' It is finished in Metallic green with a Palomino tan leather interior. It is powered by a V8 engine with single overhead camshafts and capable of producing 200 horsepower. There is an automatic transmission and servo-assisted disc brakes on all four corners.

The 2.80SE series was an important model for the Mercedes-Benz marque, one of the reasons being it was the first V8 powered sports car for the company. It coupled elegant styling with excellent performance. Keeping with Mercedes-Benz tradition, they were constructed to a high degree of quality featuring a new interior with more wood and leather upholstery as standard equipment.

This example is a two owner car and spent most of its life in Texas. It is equipped with a factory sunroof, air conditioning, Becker AM/FM radio, and power windows. The front interior is completely new and has received a mechanical tune-up and cosmetic detailing.

The car was estimated to sell for $45,000 - $55,000. Sadly, it failed to find an interested buyer willing to satisfy the cars reserve and was left unsold.

By Daniel Vaughan | Oct 2007
Convertible
Chassis Num: 11102712003798
Engine Num: 115980-12-003055
 
Sold for $123,200 at 2010 Gooding & Company.
Much of the early life of this vehicle was spent in the southern United States. It has had only four owners since new. In the late 1970s, the car was purchased by its second owner.

It was originally fitted with whitewall tires. Other options included a Behr air conditioner, Becker radio, burl wood dashboard and center floor shift.

This car has been given a limited amount of restoration work, including a repaint in its original cream color and re-chroming of the front and rear bumpers. The chocolate leather has been professionally re-upholstered and the odometer reads just under 47,000 miles.

In 2010, this 3.5 Convertible was offered for sale at the Gooding & Company Auction held in Amelia Island, Florida. The car was expected to sell for $125,000 - $150,000. As bidding came to a close, the car had been sold for the sum of $123,200, inclusive of buyer's premium.

By Daniel Vaughan | Apr 2010
Convertible
Chassis Num: 111.027.12.002687
Engine Num: 118.980.12.002396
 
Sold for $297,000 at 2014 RM Auctions.
This Tobacco Brown example is an original United States-specification example, with 25 years of single Southern California ownership and low mileage. The car was given a no-expense-spared, ground-up restoration with the interior finished in Saddle leather. The car has a floor-shifted automatic transmission, power windows, a factory radio, and factory air conditioning.
Convertible
Chassis Num: 111.027.12.002841
Engine Num: 118.980.12.002543
 
Sold for $335,500 at 2014 RM Auctions.
The current owner acquired this Mercedes-Benz 280 SE 3.5 Cabriolet from Dr. Frank Spellman in 1997. Under the care of its newest owner, the car was refreshed by Mercedes-Benz specialists Gordon Beck, who detailed the engine compartment, installed new old stock 300 chrome wheel arch moldings. Bob Hatch fabricated and installed a new Haartz cloth top. Apart from this work, the car is completely original and has been driven just 56,000 miles since new. It is finished in Anthracite Grey Metallic, has a rare factory console compartment, a limited-slip differential, and a rare canvas bag for its leather boot. There is an original tool roll, jack, wheel chock, owner's manual and parts manual, along with the original sales brochure and factory press releases with photos.
By Daniel Vaughan | Apr 2014
Convertible
 
Mercedes-Benz collectors often refer to their cars with the chassis code; in this case, the car is frequently referred to as a W111. This code was given to Mercedes-Benz top-range vehicles produced from 1959 to 1971, which included sedans, coupes and cabriolets. The W111 was initially attributed only to six-cylinder cars with 2.2-liter engines; luxury versions with larger engines were called W112, and the entry-level vehicles with 4-cylinder engines were called W110. All three versions were built on identical chassis.

The W111 was introduced in 1959 with fintails. The design however, focused on passenger comfort and safety: Bela Barenyi pioneered passive safety with front and rear crumple zones that would absorb kinetic energy from impact.

The 280SE 3.5 coupe and cabriolet were the final models in this series, being produced from November 1969 through July 1971. This car has a 3.5-liter V8 making 200 horsepower at 5,800 RPM, a top speed of 130 mph and a 0-100 mph time of 9.5 seconds. To fit this larger engine, the front grille was widened and bumpers were modified. The tail lamps also changed to a flatter and cleaner design.

When new, it sold for three times the price of a Cadillac. This car is just one of 1,232 produced, making it quite rare. Air conditioning and automatic transmission make it a comfortable, easy ride.
The well-known German Manufacturer chose to continue in the tradition of sporty open Grand Tourismo's, or ‘Roadsters' by Mercedes Benz, in their release of the 1960's product range. Mercedes decided to inaugurate a whole new range of sports/SL models in the 1960's following the successful launch of earlier SL models. The origins of the Mercedes race cars began in the early 1950's.

They began with the 230SL in 1963, and the last model to enter to lineup was the 280SL in 1967. Part of the new SL generation to be introduced to the market in 1963, the Mercedes 280 SL, 350 and 450 SL was well known under the nickname 'Pagode'. Successor to both the 190 SL and the legendary 300 SL (the 'gullwing' model, the 'Pagode' was built from the year 1963 until 1971, the year the new SL generation was launched.

The SL's shared the same 'W 113' chassis, the ‘W' standing for 'Wagen', as well as many features and various parts in common. The last W 113 280 SL Roadster lasted for only a mere eight months from July 1970 until March 1971 before making way for the W107 series of vehicles.

The SL stands for 'Sport Light', or in German, Sport Leicht. The Gullwing was given its name due to the two doors swung up along the roof line, and the open doors took on the appearance of a seagull in flight.

The nickname 'Pagoda' was a reference to the shape of the hardtop roof. Reminiscent of the shape of a Japanese style Pagoda, the roof center is slightly lower than the side. Eventually, these were raised slightly to allow easier entry and exit, the side of the roof soon allowed for larger side windows, as well as increasing the roof strength. The 280 SL came with a flexible variation of tops, soft top, removable hardtop, or the option of both. Unofficially called the 'Californian', the option was available to order with only the removable hardtop and no soft top. Another popular available feature was ordering the hardtop roof in a different color than the body.

Mercedes-Benz achieved a timeless design with slick and proper lines, and it has been in this shape that the SL was sold for over twenty years. Much like the earlier models, the 280SL showcased an exquisitely proportioned sports body with two comfortable seats, and standard equipped with a soft-top which could be neatly stowed away under a lid fully integrated in the car. The SL also had the option of a distinctive hardtop ‘Pagoda' roof that could easily be fitted to the car in a matter of moments, with the soft-top down in place. Another popular option was the addition of a third, sideways facing seat.

The 280SL was manufactured from 1968 until 1971, and a total of 23,885 units were produced during its production run. The SL was available in both 2-door Roadster and 2-door Coupe options. Producing 143 units in 1967, the SL soared in popularity, and by 1969, the most productive year, banked at 8,047 units manufactured and produced. A total of 12,924 models were available in the U.S. and 18,681 were exported models.

Bigger, wider and heavier than its predecessor, the new generation of SL was still the perfect car considering driving-comfort, road-holding and construction. Buys had the option of various engines, including a V8 with either 3.5 or 4.5 liter cylinder, or a six-cylinder engine with a capacity of 2.8 liter. Utilizing a 2778cc, six-cylinder engine, the 280SL had a seven bearing crankshaft. Most models came with automatic transmission and had an engine that featured fuel injection. The Mercedes 280SL could achieve a top speed of 121 mph, and could reach 0-60mph in 9.3 seconds.

The engine in the 280 SL had a mechanical Bosch fuel injection system, a cast alloy valve cover, and a single overhead camshaft.

In January, 1968, the 280 SL underwent various changes and updates that included the number plate moving from the firewall to the front door jamb. The firewall insulation pad material also was updated from coarse to smooth. Hardtop front handles were made separate, and the mirror on the passenger sun visor was omitted. Elastic became the new material on door pockets rather than solid. The floor covering also changed from rubber mats to synthetic carpet. In April of 1970, the optional rear axe rations were discontinued.

The USA 280 SL's versions in 1971 shared standard features that included a tachometer, four wheel disk brakes with power booster, three point seat belts, manual windows, wood console box between the two front bucket seats, and much more.

Highly desirable when first launched, the 'SL' models still remain as much sought-after classics to this day. Unfortunately some critics believed the styling of the SL was boxy, and bit of a disappointment due to the 'pagoda'-styled optional hardtop. Though not as powerful as the 300 SL, or as curvaceous as the 190 SL, the 280 SL was well-balanced, and slightly delicate. Thirty years later, many parts for these models are still available from Mercedes Benz. Though expensive, they are in stock. A perfectly balanced vehicle, the Mercedes 280SL is a vehicle with a quiet confidence, with truly no competition.

By Jessica Donaldson
With its status today as a classic continually rising, the Mercedes-Benz 280 was truly a beautiful vehicle. Though not as shapely and voluptuous as the 190 SL, or as powerful as the 300 SL, the 280 was both practical and nimble, while the styling is a fine example of well-balanced design.

Produced from 1967 until 1971, the Mercedes 280 SL was the most popular SL on the classic car market. With a total of 23,885 units produced during its production span, the 280 SL is considered the most popular due to its perfected development of the vehicle, along with an engine that suits this SL series best. Though the 280 SL is slightly overweight, has a bit sluggish handling, and a relatively soft suspension configuration, the larger engine does translate into a higher straight line speed and better acceleration.

Showcased in 1963 during the Geneva auto show, the 230 SL, which was based on the 220 SE sedan was first of the SL series to be introduced. A series of luxury vehicles that were introduced by Mercedes-Benz from the late 1950's were dubbed ‘Fintail', though never officially designated as such. The nickname was a result of the distinctive rear-end, with small tail fins. Following in the tradition set by the 1960's product range of sporty open Grand Tourismo's, (referred to as Roadsters by Mercedes Benz) the 230-280 SL series featured a 'pagoda'-styled optional hardtop. This feature was eventually criticized for making the design seem boxy and was seen as a bit of a disappointment at the time. The middle surface of the 'hanging' style roof was lower than the edges of the doors and it was this distinctive look that characterized the SL-series as the ‘pagoda' model.

Near the end of 1966, a larger engine was fitted, which made it the 250 SL, a much more modern unit from the 250 S sedan. The 280 SL model was created in the 1968 model year by once again enlarging the engine. Continuing to be produced until 1971, the 280 SL was eventually replaced by the new 350 SL model. Over time, the SL series has transitioned from an elegant and sporty line, to more large luxurious models, without a youthful appeal anymore.

Designed by Paul Bracq with great attention to detail, unfortunately at first the styling of the 280 SL was not appreciated by the general public. Customers considered the vehicle to be too slow to be a sportscar, and too small to be impressive, and it seemed to be a scaled down version of the saloon car models. Today, this design is considered to be one of the first examples of modern corporate styling, which today is quite popular.

Inside the 280 SL, the dashboard was constructed very similar to those in the saloon car models. This vehicle was designed with the aim of speeding through the autoban, or cruising around the city, rather than being a sports car. Leather upholstery was an optional feature, while the interior was finished with standard vinyl. Wood veneer was used on the console between the chairs, and along the top of the dashboard being the windscreen, which was seen as a remarkable feature.

The 2+2 model model allowed for an additional small row of seats placed behind the front seats, but only small children could sit there due to the lack of leg room. Ergonomically formed bucket seats were placed in the front, and the frame of the front window was strengthened so it do as a roll-over bar, but only in combination with a fitted hardtop. The head designer of Mercedes-Benz development of the time, Béla Barényi was credited with the Pagoda-style hardtop patented design that could endure a 1,000 kg load without deforming.

Disappearing completely into the boot of the vehicle, the folding roof was closed and covered by a metal lid. The 2+2 version lacked the folding roof, and the extra row of seats took over the additional space that was created. Luggage space could be found by folding down the back rest of the 2+2 model.
More aerodynamic than the hardtop, the convertible could reach about 4 kph more than the hardtop version, which was considered slightly odd.

A total of 23,885 vehicles were constructed with the 2.8 liter engine, while a total of 19,831 units of the 230 SL were sold. Considered to be the rarest, the 250 SL produced only 5,186 models.

The new SL-series was introduced in 1963 with a straight 6-cylinder engine with a displacement rate of 2306 cc, which delivered 150 hp at 500 rpm. In December of 1966, this engine was replaced by a new 2436 cc unit which still turned out 150 hp. This new engine featured a crankshaft engine with seven bearings rather than four. The following year, again in December, a 2778 cc engine was fitted, which now produced 170 hp at 5750 rpm. Mainly to improve torque, these engine revisions were synchronous to the engine changes in the mid-range sedan line. With top speed remaining near the same, the range fell between 185 to 195 kph. All engines shared a mechanical fuel injection system.

She 280 SL measured 428.5 cm in length, 176 cm in width, and 132 cm in height with the hardtop. The first 230 SL's weighed 1295 kg, and the last 280 SL weighed in at 1360 kg. The 280 SL was considered to be quite heavy for a sports car. The top speed and acceleration didn't win many points with Mercedes-Benz customers, but a comfortable high cruising speed could be maintained for a long amount of driving time. This made the 280 SL an ideal vehicle for the Autobahn-express.

The second most popular SL of the series is the 230 SL, the original model. Today, a 230 SL in excellent condition, this classic can produce up to twice the original purchase price.
Today, the SL-series from the 1960's is becoming much more popular on the classic car market, as its fans remains stretched throughout the world. These fans stay united in local clubs that keep a close contact with each other. The market value of the classic vehicles is subsequently on its way up.

By Jessica Donaldson
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Arrow Right 1971 Mercedes-Benz models
Mercedes-Benz 300 SEL

Collectible: A Gathering of the Exceptional and Captivating
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Average Auction Sale: $76,960

 
Mercedes-Benz: 1971-1980
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December 201335,835 
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Image Left 1970 280SL
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