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1966 Mercedes-Benz 300SE Cabriolet


Immaculate example of the rarest of the big 1960s Mercedes cabriolets. Careful, local ownership throughout its life has yielded a truly striking example.


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    Ride Quality Motors is thrilled to have the opportunity to offer for sale an extremely rare Mercedes-Benz 300SE Manual Transmission Convertible. Utilizing an adapted version of the 300SL’s storied engine and a two-position ride air suspension, the 300SE was truly the pinnacle of the Mercedes luxury line through much of the 1960s. Only 708 300SE Convertibles were built between 1961 and 1967, and it’s believed that fewer than 100 of those car were Series II models (built between August, 1965 & December, 1967) using the improved and more powerful M189.987 engine. Furthermore, because a steering column-mounted automatic transmission was standard, only a small fraction of these cars came with the “42/4” option coded manual transmission, making this car an exceedingly rare example, indeed.

    This car was purchased new by Ed Ames, a Hollywood actor and singer best known as “Mingo”, Fess Parker’s sidekick in the popular 1960’s TV show Daniel Boone. He also had a long singing career, both as a solo artist and earlier as part of “The Ames Brothers”, with whom he had a string of hits in the 1950’s. Ames bought the car in 1967 in celebration of his single “My Cup Runneth Over” reaching #8 in the U.S. charts, and he kept it until 2005 when he sold the car to the second owner, whom we are currently representing in this sale.

    Through the 1980s Ames resided primarily in Los Angeles, later moving into the Santa Ynez Valley north of Santa Barbara. Consequently, this car has always been in arid California climates and when purchased from Mr. Ames in 2005, the car exhibited only minor evidence of rust. This was completely and professionally repaired in 2005 when the current owner went through and reconditioned the car at a cost of $18,000. In addition to the rust repair, the following repairs were performed:

    – Professionally repainted in its original deep navy blue finish.
    – Seats professionally recovered in the correct leather.
    – German “Finetuft” velour carpeting was installed.
    – New convertible top was installed.
    – Bellows replaced.
    – New air suspension leveling valves.
    – New AC compressor and charge.
    – Engine reconditioned.

    The exterior is in exceptional condition, the navy blue finish deep and lustrous, with only minor of imperfections. An extremely soft dime-sized ding sits on the driver side light column and there is an equally soft dings on the passenger side. One will also find the rare rock chip on the front valence, and there is a larger chip (1/4”) in the seam of the trunk. All of these imperfections are exceedingly minor and none of them showed up in the pictures. They are of the “touch-up” variety and do not in any way detract from the overall appearance of the car. The color-matched original hub-caps are in fantastic shape, but bear typically minor paint chips. All of the body chrome is also in exceptional condition, with the exception of the bumpers, which, although completely presentable for nearly all situations, should be re-chromed if the car is to be used for competition. All of the gaps are correct and fit

    The interior is equally unblemished, with flawless new leather covering the original seats. All of the seats, carpets, convertible top headliner, dash and interior panels are like new and all of the fixtures are present. The wood paneling on the dash is in incredible original condition, however minor cracking is appearing on the instrument cluster. The original radio has sadly been lost in Mr. Ames’ storage, however the owner has unobtrusively installed a modern CD player in the glove-box, leaving the normal position in the dash covered by an insert. All of the glass is perfect and the convertible top is brand new and functions properly.

    Still powered by its original engine, the car has 144k original miles and runs famously, due in part to extensive repairs during it’s reconditioning in 2005. Starting up immediately and idling smoothly, the car slides into gear without effort and the legendary engine pulling strongly through each of the gears. All of the bellows and air suspension leveling valves have been replaced, giving the car its trademark soft, floating ride quality that firms up when necessary, minimizing body lean in corners. The car drives and stops straight and true – the drive as good or better than any other W111 or W112 we’ve come across.

    To reiterate: Only 708 of these gorgeous convertibles were ever produced, fewer than the 280 SE 3.5 and even than the 300SL with whom it shares its power-plant. Moreover, only 100 Series II convertibles were produced, and only a fraction of them were manual transmission optioned cars, making this an extremely rare opportunity to own one of the most exclusive luxury convertibles ever built. With continued appreciation a guarantee, if you’ve been looking for an exceptional “Heckflosse” convertible, this car deserves your serious attention.

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