The early 1960s marked a period of sweeping changes for the Mercedes-Benz model lines, ushered in by the new “W11” Sedan introduced for 1961. Styled by fast-rising designer Paul Bracq and featuring top-quality materials and construction throughout, the new W11 body design was highly influential, and its basic styling served as the template for Stuttgart’s premium-level coupes and convertibles for the next decade.
The upscale 220SEb Coupe and Cabriolet body design was further refined and shorn of retrograde tailfins with a more appealing and modern fender line, and the concept reached its peak with the new 300SE Coupe and Cabriolet, which debuted to critical acclaim at the 32nd Geneva Motor Show in March 1962. As the new, top-of-the-line, two-door, four-seat models from Mercedes-Benz, the 300SE raised the bar for performance, style and exclusivity.
Designated ‘‘W112’’ to further differentiate them above the rest of the Mercedes-Benz model lines, the 300SE Coupe and Cabriolet featured additional—yet tasteful—trim, including a full-length chrome strip nestled within the character line along each side, plus brightly trimmed wheel arches. Interiors received additional beautifully finished wooden accents.
The Bosch fuel-injected M 189 IV inline 6-cylinder light-alloy engine initially delivered 160 BHP, raised to 170 BHP in 1964. Varying with the rear-axle ratio selected, 300SE performance included Autobahn-worthy top speeds of 110 to 120 MPH. Standard features included a 4-speed automatic gearbox, power steering, self-leveling pneumatic front and rear suspension, and advanced dual-circuit brakes with discs all around.
Costing nearly $13,000 new and approaching the price of a contemporary Bentley, the 300SE Coupe and Cabriolet were produced in limited numbers with extensive hand work and meticulous finishing from 1962 through 1967, with just 3,127 built in all, including 2,419 Coupes. Despite low production, these cars have enjoyed wide use in movies and TV shows since new, and they continue to be sought-after for their uncanny blend of quality, sophistication, understated elegance and renowned driving dynamics.
Just 710 “W112”-generation cars were built in all for 1965, including this beautifully presented 300SE Coupe showing 7,557 miles on the odometer. Powered by the renowned 3.0L/170 HP inline 6-cylinder engine with Bosch fuel injection mated to a 4-speed automatic transmission, this 300SE also features the model’s standard pneumatic self-leveling rear suspension. Mercedes-Benz’s classical “high grille” frontal styling and preferred European-style headlights provide visual appeal, and the distinctive Medium Blue paint finish is complemented by black leather upholstery and rich wood-grain accents inside. Amenities include power steering and brakes, heat and defrost, and a Becker Mexico AM/FM radio with power antenna. Smart collectors know the 300SE exemplifies the classic Mercedes-Benz experience, and this incredibly low-mileage example from 1965 is a top-of-the-line classic Mercedes-Benz for the true connoisseur.