Author Topic: characteristic 'indents' on body - beside chrome bezel for headlamps  (Read 3813 times)

Pete Franklin

  • Full Member
  • Junior Level
  • *
  • Ireland, Munster, Limerick
  • Posts: 18
Hello,
Does anyone know the dimensions or placement of the characteristic indents beside the chrome bezel at headlamps. I'm sure this has been answered many times, but I can't seem to find it!
Thanks all,
Peter
230SL RHD
280SL RHD
300SE Cabriolet RHD

JamesL

  • Full Member
  • Platinum
  • ******
  • United Kingdom, London, London
  • Posts: 3534
Have a search for "notches"

The consensus seems to be that they're a mark of "originality" that everyone now knows about so any restorer puts them in anyway...
They were put there by hand and IIRC, seemingly not consistent in terms of depth or length, even between headlights on the same car depending on how Hans was feeling that afternoon
James L
Oct69 RHD 280 in DB906 with cognac leather

Jordan

  • Full Member
  • Platinum
  • ******
  • Canada, ON, Jordan
  • Posts: 1403
I believe the inside notch lines up with the notch on the headlight chrome bezel.  You can see how the outside seam also lines up with the chrome bezel notch.  As stated they are different lengths and depths.  Do a search and you should find lots of pictures to give you an idea.  They were often sanded off when the front end was repainted.
Marcus
66 230SL  Euro 4 speed

MikeSimon

  • Full Member
  • Platinum
  • ******
  • USA, OH, North Royalton
  • Posts: 2423
The original "fender notches" are made of lead/tin and were applied by hand before the body finish. That's why they are so inconsistent. IMHO they are greatly overrated.
1970/71 280SL Automatic
Sandy Beige
Parchment Leather
Power Steering
Automatic
Hardtop
Heated Tinted Rear Window
German specs
3rd owner

Pete Franklin

  • Full Member
  • Junior Level
  • *
  • Ireland, Munster, Limerick
  • Posts: 18
Great insight - and thanks a lot guys. Definite consensus is 'inconsistency' in dimensions - which is great to know in itself.
230SL RHD
280SL RHD
300SE Cabriolet RHD

zoegrlh

  • Full Member
  • Gold
  • *****
  • USA, VA, Williamsburg
  • Posts: 730
  • Beauty from top BCW
The notches were placed there in the factory. They were put there as guides for front end replacement of grill after a front end damage.   Are used to line up the front end lines.
Robert Hyatt
Williamsburg, VA.

W113, 1970 280SL, Red leather 242 on Silver Gray Met. 180, 4-speed stick, Euro spec, restored
R172 2012 SLK350, Black Premium leather 801 on Mars Red 590, 7-speed auto
W211, 2007 E320 Bluetec, Cashmere MB Tex 144 on Arctic White 650, 7 speed auto

Pete Franklin

  • Full Member
  • Junior Level
  • *
  • Ireland, Munster, Limerick
  • Posts: 18
Thanks Robert - appreciate the interesting detail there. Regards, Peter
230SL RHD
280SL RHD
300SE Cabriolet RHD

MikeSimon

  • Full Member
  • Platinum
  • ******
  • USA, OH, North Royalton
  • Posts: 2423
The notches were placed there in the factory. They were put there as guides for front end replacement of grill after a front end damage.   Are used to line up the front end lines.

Interesting statement. So far, I always thought they were just cosmetic features to line up with the notch on the headlight bezel... ???
1970/71 280SL Automatic
Sandy Beige
Parchment Leather
Power Steering
Automatic
Hardtop
Heated Tinted Rear Window
German specs
3rd owner

lreppond

  • Full Member
  • Gold
  • *****
  • USA, CA, San Leandro
  • Posts: 624
Interesting statement. So far, I always thought they were just cosmetic features to line up with the notch on the headlight bezel... ???

My understanding is the same. Cosmetic so right and left headlamp bezels were interchangeable.  I’ve never heard of them being there as a device to align the front end in case of replacement?  I’m not even sure how that would work? 
~Len

1971 280 SL
576G red/251 Beige
4 speed manual
Family owned since new (father —> son)

JamesL

  • Full Member
  • Platinum
  • ******
  • United Kingdom, London, London
  • Posts: 3534
I am sure Stickandrudderman posted a picture of such a device, or maybe that was just for headlight bowls... (off to the search function)
James L
Oct69 RHD 280 in DB906 with cognac leather

cfm65@me.com

  • Associate Member
  • Gold
  • *****
  • Mossel Bay, South Africa
  • Posts: 705
Re: characteristic 'indents' on body - beside chrome bezel for headlamps
« Reply #10 on: December 09, 2022, 14:49:19 »
Pete,
You might be lucky and still find them there. I am quite sure that it would not have been hammered out by a panel beater.
I believe that most of the missing notches were covered/ filled with body filler, during the last 50 odd years.  Mine were.
Regards
Chris
28 Ford Model A Pickup
29 Chevy Phaeton
67 E Type FHC
67 250SL 5 speed
83 911SC
2015 VW T5 California Pop Top

MikeSimon

  • Full Member
  • Platinum
  • ******
  • USA, OH, North Royalton
  • Posts: 2423
Re: characteristic 'indents' on body - beside chrome bezel for headlamps
« Reply #11 on: December 09, 2022, 15:42:00 »
The notches are created by applying tin/lead and will disappear during a body prep (sanding) for a repaint.
1970/71 280SL Automatic
Sandy Beige
Parchment Leather
Power Steering
Automatic
Hardtop
Heated Tinted Rear Window
German specs
3rd owner

Pete Franklin

  • Full Member
  • Junior Level
  • *
  • Ireland, Munster, Limerick
  • Posts: 18
Re: characteristic 'indents' on body - beside chrome bezel for headlamps
« Reply #12 on: December 09, 2022, 15:43:44 »
Thanks Chris - and all,
Body shop carefully looking for evidence of these at the moment. It would be really nice to expose these again.
Appreciate the insight!
Regards,
Peter
230SL RHD
280SL RHD
300SE Cabriolet RHD

Tomnistuff

  • Full Member
  • Gold
  • *****
  • Canada, Qc, Levis
  • Posts: 935
Re: characteristic 'indents' on body - beside chrome bezel for headlamps
« Reply #13 on: December 09, 2022, 16:32:08 »
It is likely that the original shape of the sheet metal where the notches were intended to be was stamped smooth by the factory and below the extrapolated surface indicated by the headlight surround.  Then the lead filler was a total "add" of material to make the notches.  When my restoration was being done, I gave my body guy several photos of those notches from other cars to indicate notch shape and a dimension (now forgotten) to indicate notch length.  He had the profiles of the outboard stamped notches to provide depth of the notches and the headlight chrome cover to provide the exact position.  He enjoyed the artistic aspect of the job and I was very happy, although he probably thought I was being too particular about something he didn't even know was supposed to be there.  He used some type of filler with which he was experienced - not lead.
Tom Kizer
Apparently late 1966 230SL 4-spd manual (Italian Version)
Owned since 1987 and wrapping up a full rotisserie restoration/modernization.
Was: Papyrus White 717G with Turquoise MBtex 112 and Kinderseat
Is: Dark Blue 332G with Dark Blue Leather (5300, I think)

lowpad

  • Full Member
  • Senior
  • ***
  • USA, CT, New Preston
  • Posts: 225
Re: characteristic 'indents' on body - beside chrome bezel for headlamps
« Reply #14 on: December 09, 2022, 22:55:13 »
I always find it amusing that the BaT pundits conflate missing fender notches with replacement fenders. In that context, I found, like many others, that my notches were somehow sanded down when my car was repainted -- I can see them in the body-in-white, but somehow they didn't survive.
1966 230SL (6/66 build)
French export
4-speed manual
158 Exterior / 040 Hardtop
2001 SLK230
1996 Porsche 993
1991 Acura NSX

John Betsch - "SADIE"

  • Pagoda SL Board
  • Silver
  • ****
  • USA, NY, SOUTHOLD
  • Posts: 363
Re: characteristic 'indents' on body - beside chrome bezel for headlamps
« Reply #15 on: December 09, 2022, 23:32:17 »
It seems that indents or notches will always and forever be a discussion of authenticity.  If not there, it implies your car is not up-to-par. 

My car, a Germany model that was repainted forty years ago by a very reputable Karosseriebau in Uhldingen-Muhlhofen, and who also is noted participant in numerous "oldtimertreffen" does not have the noted notches.

Apparently, there was not so much ado back then as it is now.

jb
« Last Edit: December 10, 2022, 13:12:47 by John Betsch - "SADIE" »
JB; 1965 German market SL, Rot Met 571, Summary Code 213 Interior

jKrashnburn

  • Full Member
  • Junior Level
  • *
  • Canada, Alberta, Edmonton
  • Posts: 23
    • Krashnburn
Re: characteristic 'indents' on body - " Innies" and "Outies"
« Reply #16 on: December 10, 2022, 00:18:56 »
Perhaps time to abandon the existence of notches as an indication of authenticity however I'm curious and confused. My online travels in Pagoda territory reveal that while most notches can be described as "indents" photos of some cars show markers best described as "bumps" as they protrude above the adjacent fender surface.
As the notches on the chrome bezel are indented my guess is that originally the OEM had indented notches to match those on the bezel.
Two questions:
........(1) Does the "bump" type marker have any ties to authenticity?
........(2) Typically there are descriptions of using lead/tin to create the notch which implies a "bump" rather than an "indent". "Filler" is not required to create an "indent". It would seem that some owners doing restorations have gone to great lengths  to recreate a "bump". The rationale escapes me as I would think making a dent would be a relatively simple procedure - and perhaps more authentic?

Thoughts?


 
 
John
1957 190SL 8500074 (RIP?)
1968 280SL 11304410006390 (RIP?)
1969 280SL 113044120011428 - Light Beige/Cognac

MikeSimon

  • Full Member
  • Platinum
  • ******
  • USA, OH, North Royalton
  • Posts: 2423
Re: characteristic 'indents' on body - beside chrome bezel for headlamps
« Reply #17 on: December 11, 2022, 13:41:09 »
Semantics! The area on the inner fender is a raised bump to match the raised bump on the headlight surround. It is not a notch nor an indent. To reproduce it, one can apply lead/tin to the raw fender sheet metal or even use bondo (yikes). It is commonly a sign people look for to see if the car was repainted. If the paint in that area was untouched, they are there. If they are not here, there was some surface prep applied which removed them. If they are there, they are either there still from the factory or they were reproduced. The whole discussion about their presence is as superfluous as arguing whether your Pagoda still has the original air in its tires.
1970/71 280SL Automatic
Sandy Beige
Parchment Leather
Power Steering
Automatic
Hardtop
Heated Tinted Rear Window
German specs
3rd owner

Pete Franklin

  • Full Member
  • Junior Level
  • *
  • Ireland, Munster, Limerick
  • Posts: 18
Re: characteristic 'indents' on body - beside chrome bezel for headlamps
« Reply #18 on: December 20, 2022, 18:54:30 »
Thank you all - your input has given me a much better understanding.
Very much appreciated.
230SL RHD
280SL RHD
300SE Cabriolet RHD

teahead

  • Associate Member
  • Gold
  • *****
  • USA, WA, Des Moines
  • Posts: 781
  • aka "Rob"
Re: characteristic 'indents' on body - beside chrome bezel for headlamps
« Reply #19 on: December 20, 2022, 22:11:51 »
If you're going to repaint your car, why NOT put the "notches" in there?

However, lack of notches does not necessarily mean front end replacement.  ALso look for VIN on hood, and the factory-looking spot welds on the inner fender.

1970 280SL auto, AC - aka "Edelweiss"

john.mancini

  • Full Member
  • Gold
  • *****
  • USA: Nokomis, FL and Chatham, MA
  • Posts: 634
Re: characteristic 'indents' on body - beside chrome bezel for headlamps
« Reply #20 on: December 27, 2022, 03:43:21 »
Inner fender welds, headlight "notches", and a matching numbers bonnet or hood, are all great signs that your W113 did not suffer from previous front end accident or rust damage. I have always considered these important factors when buying a Pagoda. Just my opinion.
John
68 280SL 906 Blue 4-sp
69 280SL 906 Blue
70 280SL 904 Blue
70 280SL 571 Red
70 280SL 040 Black 4-sp
66 230SL 162 Blue/Grey 
68 280SL 568 Red 4-sp
69 280SL 304 Horizon Blue
65 230SL 519 Red 4-sp
83 911SC
98 911 cab
56 Ford F100
08 RS60
62 Corvette Fuelie
66 GT350H
67 GT350
70 LT1 conv

Benz Dr.

  • Vendor
  • Platinum
  • ******
  • Canada, ON, Port Lambton
  • Posts: 7181
  • Benz Dr.
Re: characteristic 'indents' on body - beside chrome bezel for headlamps
« Reply #21 on: December 27, 2022, 08:45:17 »
Inner fender welds, headlight "notches", and a matching numbers bonnet or hood, are all great signs that your W113 did not suffer from previous front end accident or rust damage. I have always considered these important factors when buying a Pagoda. Just my opinion.

I guess that's the way it is now but when did that happen? 10 or even 5 years ago few cared or even knew about this, but now it's the holly grail while almost ignoring the general condition of the car in favour of things that won't make your car drive better. On  a number one, 300K perfect car? Sure, I can see where things like this matter, but on a regular number 3 car, not so much.
1966 230SL 5 speed, LSD, header pipes, 300SE distributor, ported, polished and balanced, AKA  ''The Red Rocket ''
Dan Caron's SL Barn

1970  3.5 Coupe
1961  190SL
1985   300CD  Turbo Coupe
1981  300SD
2013  GMC  Sierra
1965  230SL
1967 250SL
1970 280SL
1988 560SEC

Davek1

  • Full Member
  • Regular
  • **
  • United Kingdom, England, Wells
  • Posts: 99
Re: characteristic 'indents' on body - beside chrome bezel for headlamps
« Reply #22 on: December 27, 2022, 12:15:43 »
I have a really goods original car, no rust, no accident damage. My notches were fillered over some 15yrs ago, so I still have the notches but are covered with filler. Its nice to see them on original cars but there are far more important things to look for when buying an unrestored car. If I was to ever have any paint work done in this area I would like to reinstate them but in my opinion (for what ever it is worth) there are far more important things to look for

Jordan

  • Full Member
  • Platinum
  • ******
  • Canada, ON, Jordan
  • Posts: 1403
Re: characteristic 'indents' on body - beside chrome bezel for headlamps
« Reply #23 on: December 27, 2022, 13:12:29 »
I have a really goods original car, no rust, no accident damage. My notches were fillered over some 15yrs ago, so I still have the notches but are covered with filler. Its nice to see them on original cars but there are far more important things to look for when buying an unrestored car. If I was to ever have any paint work done in this area I would like to reinstate them but in my opinion (for what ever it is worth) there are far more important things to look for

Perhaps it is time to stop calling them notches. A notch is an indent, which they certainly are not.  They are a raised surface put there to help align the headlight chrome surround.  So I don't know how you can cover a raised surface with filler, unless you feather it out and that would be very noticeable.  More than likely they were sanded off, which is why you don't see them any more.

As others have stated, I don't understand the obsession with these bumps.  If they are missing it is very easy to put them back in place so they are certainly not an indication of authenticity.
Marcus
66 230SL  Euro 4 speed

Mike Hughes

  • Full Member
  • Platinum
  • ******
  • USA, VA, Blue Grass
  • Posts: 1730
Re: characteristic 'indents' on body - beside chrome bezel for headlamps
« Reply #24 on: December 27, 2022, 13:56:30 »
The chrome headlight doors have identical raised edges that align with the swage line that begins at the headlamp door on each front fender, continues on the door and disappears near the rear of the rear fender.  There are no right or left headlight doors, so the vestigial swage line commonly called a "notch" was introduced onto the opposite surface of the headlamp radius on the fender to correspond to the raised edge of the headlamp door so it would not look out of place.

. . . More than likely they were sanded off, which is why you don't see them any more.

As others have stated, I don't understand the obsession with these bumps.  If they are missing it is very easy to put them back in place so they are certainly not an indication of authenticity.

Perhaps, rather than a sign of authenticity, one should regard them as a sign of knowledgeable attention to detail when examining a restored or repainted Pagoda body shell.  When the notches are missing, it may very well be taken as a sign that someone didn't know, or didn't care, that they should exist.  Conversely, when they are there, it might be taken as a sign that those responsible took the time and care that they be properly reproduced and thus may have been more likely to have taken the appropriate time and care with other details as well.

In retrospect, it is probably a blessing that the bean counters at Mercedes-Benz thought it appropriate to produce a single headlamp door frame for the W113.  As dear as they are already these days, can you imagine how dear they might be if we had to look for unique right and left-hand doors today?
- Mike Hughes  -ô¿ô-
  1966 230SL Auto P/S
  Havana Brown (408)
  Light Beige (181)
  Cream M-B Tex (121)