Author Topic: 1971 - Need expert opinion  (Read 415 times)

afsullivan

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1971 - Need expert opinion
« on: November 17, 2020, 19:00:36 »
I need help. I'm looking at buying a California-based 1971 280SL and trying to actually authenticate that it's a '71. According to the VIN it was produced in May 1970. The car has had 2 owners and both CA DMV registrations say it's a 1971, however the emission control plate says 1970. The seller does not have the data card, and because she is older she doesn't want to go through the process to get it. According to what's on this website's technical manual, the VIN makes it a 1971. "1971 Model Year began with registration date of October 1, 1970 plus serial number 113044-018506"  This VIN is 113044-018541, which would make it the 35th car produced for 1971 model year correct?  How do I make absolutely sure this car is a 1971 Pagoda? Need to know ASAP thanks. Alan
« Last Edit: November 17, 2020, 19:37:23 by afsullivan »

JamesL

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Re: 1971 - Need expert opinion
« Reply #1 on: November 17, 2020, 19:21:22 »
What difference does it make? Made in May 1970, shipped, slow boat, to Cal, and registered as a 71. Unless of course the little old lady is pulling a fast one with some re-plating going on.

Mine is a 1970, but built Oct 69 and it makes no odds either way on a 50 year old car.

If it were being sold as “ one of the last “, I’d understand. But surely, condition/price far far outweigh whether it’s actually what you US folk call a ‘71MY or ‘70MY as the differences should be minimal. Unless the differences between the plates make you think it’ll be worth a load less/be a hassle should you sell it on. By which time, you’d have the birth certificate and can point to the Ca DMV for any errors ?

Could the emissions plate be based on it being a (May) 70MY  (changing emissions regs?) despite it being first registered in 71 as someone drove it off the forecourt?
James L
RHD 280 in DB906 with cognac leather

afsullivan

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Re: 1971 - Need expert opinion
« Reply #2 on: November 17, 2020, 19:33:47 »
Thank you James, good points all

doitwright

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Re: 1971 - Need expert opinion
« Reply #3 on: November 17, 2020, 21:56:08 »
71’s came with a rear window defrost with the control switch in the center console just below the ashtray.
Frank Koronkiewicz
Willowbrook, Illinois

1970 280SL Originally Light Ivory - Now Anthracite Gray Metallic

Leester

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Re: 1971 - Need expert opinion
« Reply #4 on: November 18, 2020, 01:34:10 »
Agree with James - gotta watch those little ole ladies. Also agree that condition and price are more important than model year, unless, of course its more important to you to have a car titled as a 1971 or perhaps the seller wants a premium for it being titled as a '71.

Seriously though, my car is 11304410 019633, a July 1970 build titled as a 1971 for what its worth. And it has the rear window defrost for the hardtop.

The BBB seems to indicate that emissions were the same for 70 and 71 at least in most if not all cases where it matters. And since the car was built in 1970 it would make sense to use a 1970 emissions tag.

I don't consider myself an expert when it comes to these things but as James says, and as you already know, the car was built in 1970 and first titled in 1971.

Let us all know if you buy the car and good luck with it.
Lee Backus
1963 220SE Cabriolet
1970 280SL (reassembling - hopefully soon)
1978 450SL (disassembled for paint)
1985 500SEC

Jack Jones

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Re: 1971 - Need expert opinion
« Reply #5 on: November 18, 2020, 02:48:44 »
Vehicles were titled in the year they were sold at that time. My 1970 280SL serial #113044-10-20356 was built in August 1970 and was sold when it reached the dealership. All cars of that era deal with the same issue and the reason VIN numbers are required for correct parts procurement. 
« Last Edit: November 18, 2020, 03:00:27 by Jack Jones »
Jack Jones                                                                                                   
1970 280SL 4 Speed
1984 280SL 5 Speed

MikeSimon

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Re: 1971 - Need expert opinion
« Reply #6 on: November 18, 2020, 13:26:36 »
Model Year vs. Calendar Year. Basically an issue only in the U.S. Most countries in Europe identify a vehicle by the year it was built. My car, originally sold in Germany, was produced in late November 1970, delivered and first registered on December 16, 1970. In Germany it was identified as a 1970 280SL. That is what all the original paperwork says. Here in the U.S. it would be considered a 1971 280 SL. Serial number 22774.
The reason that issue exists at all is that most car manufacturers introduce changes to a model right after summer shutdown. They use the downtime to make changes to the supply and production line. As you can imagine, that varies greatly by whatever manufacturer that is.
I don't know the details of the differences between a "1970 model" and a "1971 model" - if there are any. Interesting that the rear window heater in the hardtop is  supposed to be one. My car has it. Emissions would be another identifier, if the official requirements changed in any country between 1970 and 1971.
We bought a 1993 Jeep Grand Cherokee for my wife new in November of 1992. In January of 1993, Jeep came out with the 1994 model!!!! After owning the car for 6 weeks, my wife's brand new Jeep was an "old" model.
1970/71 280SL Automatic
Sandy Beige
Parchment Leather
Power Steering
Automatic
Hardtop
Heated Tinted Rear Window
German specs
3rd owner

mmizesko

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Re: 1971 - Need expert opinion
« Reply #7 on: November 18, 2020, 15:05:06 »
Frank is correct.  Even if the hardtop is missing, the switch behind the ashtray and the dongle on the drivers side (LHD) B pillar is under a flap in the upholstery.  The water reservoir is also made of a yellow plastic instead of the black painted brass.

Mike Mizesko
1970 280SL 291H Dark Olive

mrfatboy

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Re: 1971 - Need expert opinion
« Reply #8 on: November 18, 2020, 15:21:14 »
I believe the yellow plastic coolant tank was used between Aug 70 to about the first week Nov 70. The the black brass tank was then used again until the last pagoda.

The OP states the car he is looking at is a May 70 build. It should have the black brass tank.
1969 280sl (Aug 1968 build)
Signal Red
4 Speed

Jonny B

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Re: 1971 - Need expert opinion
« Reply #9 on: November 18, 2020, 15:54:00 »
Check the list of changes in Pagoda World 25, started at VIN 20458 through 22306.
« Last Edit: November 19, 2020, 16:18:03 by Jonny B »
Jonny B
1967 250 SL Auto, DB 568
1970 280 SL Auto, DB 904

MikeSimon

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Re: 1971 - Need expert opinion
« Reply #10 on: November 18, 2020, 17:52:00 »
I believe the yellow plastic coolant tank was used between Aug 70 to about the first week Nov 70. The the black brass tank was then used again until the last pagoda.

The OP states the car he is looking at is a May 70 build. It should have the black brass tank.

I can confirm that. The tank in my car is not plastic but painted black metal.
1970/71 280SL Automatic
Sandy Beige
Parchment Leather
Power Steering
Automatic
Hardtop
Heated Tinted Rear Window
German specs
3rd owner