Mercedes 280CE Is French Owner’s Dream Come True
Like Florent Marvier, Baptiste Supan is also an art piece maker in Bordeaux, France, and his car is a 1973 Mercedes W114 280CE coupe. Ever since he could drive, a 280CE been his dream car, and now he can’t imagine himself with anything else. He loves driving it and upon reaching any destination, he’s always disappointed to stop driving.
Q: Can you tell us a little about your car?
A: My Mercedes-Benz is a 1973 W114 280CE coupe with a 5-speed manual gearbox. The odometer reads 367,000 kilometers (228,000 miles), and the 6-cylinder engine runs perfectly.
Q: How did you come to own this car?
A: Ever since I was old enough to drive, I’ve dreamt of driving this model. I worked with someone who had this car for five years, but it was his precious treasure, and he couldn’t imagine selling it.
Last winter, I finally came to him at the right time, because we saw eye to eye. He knew I loved the car, so he sold it to me for very little money. Now that my dream has come true, I cannot imagine myself with any other car. It is easy to repair and easy to drive.
Q: Do you do the mechanical work on the car yourself?
A: At the beginning, it was hard to make it run properly because I wanted to do everything myself. My father (who is also a big fan of old Mercedes) helped me a lot, and I’ve finally achieved a nice, clean, and subtle 6-cylinder sound as if the car was new. My father always told me that electronic parts in a car are useless. With a jealous expression on his face, he said it was easy and pleasant to repair my Mercedes, (even though he understood that it had electronic injection).
During this upcoming winter, I’m going to sand the rust, protect, and paint the body (in the same color it is now), as well as restore the driver’s seat. I would like to add some stuff like a turntable and little aesthetic parts which are home designed. I really like to do everything myself, because it is a quick and permanent way to learn how it should be done. Also, it is a real satisfaction to know every part and piece of my car.
Q: How often do you drive your Mercedes?
A: I drive the car almost every day, but since it was designed to go fast and far, I drive it mostly with friends on the weekends to see different places and landscapes in France.
Q: What is this car like to drive?
A: It is really easy to drive. It is pretty big and heavy, so I don’t feel the bumps in the road, and when I get up to 40 miles per hour, I don’t feel the speed, either. The car responds immediately, and it doesn’t matter if the road is in a climb, because the car’s acceleration is strong. When I drive my Mercedes, I feel laid-back and immortal—cars move out of my way, and I am always disappointed whenever I see that I’ve already reached my destination.
Q: What is your ideal drive in the 280CE?
A: It would be during a hot summer on little roads in the Alps to St. Tropez by the sea.
Q: What is your favorite thing about the car?
A: I love the little triangular front window that pivots to bring air from the outside. This, combined with the fact that when I open both front and rear windows, the door frame disappears, so when I do this, it feels almost like I’m driving a convertible.
Photography by David Marvier for Petrolicious