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1962 Mercedes-Benz 300Se

1962 Mercedes-Benz 300Se The mid-range Mercedes-Benz ‘fintail’ saloons of 1959 were joined by very elegant four-seater coupes and convertibles in 1961. At first there was just one engine, the fuel-injected 2195cc six with 120bhp, but in 1962 Mercedes-Benz topped off the saloon, coupe and cabriolet ranges with a 2996cc, 170bhp six with a choice of manual or automatic gearboxes. Disc brakes were fitted all round and the cars were equipped with air suspension derived from that in the 600 limousine. These 300SE models were twice the price of the 220SE, so inevitably production was limited.

A new range of W108 saloons appeared in 1965 and the fantail saloons were phased out, but the coupe and cabriolet models remained in production. The new 2496cc seven-bearing straight-six engine from the W108 250SE saloon was fitted from 1965 to 1968, and then the 2778cc 280SE engine took over until 1971. Both cars were fitted with all-disc brakes and the latest development of the Mercedes swing-axle rear suspension, while power assisted steering and an automatic gearbox were options.

The most exciting car in this revised range came in 1969, when Mercedes’ new 3.5-litre V8 engine (also used in the long-wheelbase W109 saloon and soon destined for the SL sports car) was fitted to produce the confusingly named 280SE 3.5. With 200bhp on tap, the V8-engined cars were capable of 125mph (201km/h).

Few cars can match the elegance of these 1960s coupes and convertibles, and even fewer can remain unruffled while providing the kind of performance available thanks to the efficient Mercedes straight-six and v8 engines. It’s no wonder that these remain some of the most sought-after post-war Mercedes-Benz models of all.

1962 Mercedes-Benz 300Se

Engine: 2996cc in-line six
Bore x stroke: 85 x 88mm
Valvegear: Single overhead camshaft
Fuel system: Bosch fuel injection
Power: 157bhp at 5000rpm
Suspension: Front: double wishbones with air springs and anti-roll bar; rear: swing axles with air springs and anti-roll bar
Wheels: 5.5 x 13in steel wheels
Brakes: disc brakes all round
Top Speed: 109mph (175km/h)

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