Author Topic: 1971 280SL  (Read 2410 times)

1132021benz

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1971 280SL
« on: October 14, 2023, 14:34:35 »
I thought it might be time to share a photo of my Pagoda, as I have been enjoying and using the forum for quite a while.  This is my third pagoda, and I actually never thought I would own another one, due to the increases in pricing and overall cost of restoration. I first saw this car in 2007 where it had sat in a barn since 1999.  The owner had bought it from the original purchaser in 1997, had driven it for a couple of years, and then lost interest due to changes in his profession that led him to be away from home for long periods of time. He finally agreed to let it go in 2021, and I got the call that he was ready to sell.

Like many of you on this forum, I purchased a car thinking to myself, that I would just drive it, and improve it as I went. Again, as many of you are probably thinking while reading this, that is essentially a non-starter for a car that has been sitting for 22 years. 

The car had no rust whatsoever, and came from Connecticut originally, finding its way to Vermont with the second owner. I was fortunate enough to find an amazing group of people who have the talent to fully restore the car, but sympathetically, trying to preserve as much as possible of the original car, but doing things right when it came to putting it back together, using nothing but OEM parts, either new old stock or good used, as well as all the correct fasteners, clamps, hoses, etc.

The end result is simply amazing. Having replaced every single piece of rubber, and every single piece that could wear in the suspension is a revelation. One really understands how these cars felt when they were brand, new, and just how superior they were to anything else out there, in terms of drivability, the wonderful noise that they make, and sheer aesthetic, beauty.

I look forward to seeing you all out there on the road someday, perhaps, at one of our events, or perhaps, just in passing. I wish all of you well, and keep enjoying these wonderful cars that we love so much.




tockuly

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Re: 1971 280SL
« Reply #1 on: January 08, 2024, 04:20:10 »
What did you use to correctly identify “factory original” in terms of finish? I’m doing a 1971 280 SL and I haven’t been able to locate any sort of restoration manual that clearly identifies factory fit and finish. Any thoughts from someone who has been there?
70 280 SL
56 Chevy Pickup - Restomod

dirkbalter

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Re: 1971 280SL
« Reply #2 on: January 08, 2024, 15:05:56 »
What did you use to correctly identify “factory original” in terms of finish? I’m doing a 1971 280 SL and I haven’t been able to locate any sort of restoration manual that clearly identifies factory fit and finish. Any thoughts from someone who has been there?

You are at the right place. This forum is better than any restauration manual. You can find (almost) anything you need to know here. Keep searching or ask questions.
Dirk
66 230 SL
70 280 SEL
53 CHEVY 3100
18 C300 COUPE
05 HD FLSTNI

rwmastel

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Re: 1971 280SL
« Reply #3 on: January 08, 2024, 19:48:57 »
I would assume "factory finish" means adhering to the original colors, materials, options specified on the data card.  Do you mean something different?  Maybe start a discussion in the General Discussion forum or the Questions on Originality forum with your questions.
Rodd

Did you search the forum before asking?
2017 C43 AMG
2006 Wrangler Rubicon
1966 230SL

zoegrlh

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Re: 1971 280SL
« Reply #4 on: January 09, 2024, 14:38:55 »
Nice looking, you did the right thing by replacing all the rubber, that’s a must. And you wanted to feel how the car would ride if it was back in 1970. Another thing to consider would be to change out the shocks to and to change out the horsehair seat cushions to new horsehair cushions, these two replacements will give you a greater feeling of how the ride would be if in 1970.
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

1132021benz

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Re: 1971 280SL
« Reply #5 on: March 20, 2024, 23:33:10 »
Thank you all for your comments – when I suggested factory original, I don’t mean to imply that I’m an expert, but this is my third W 113 and I also had a W111 Cabriolet, and a W107. I’ve made it my business to try to understand and read absolutely everything that I can about pagodas and what is correct and not. I also have the help of a really amazing restoration shop that specialized in 356s and 911, who fully understood the challenges of restoring a classic German car. As regards everything else, I did replace the seat padding, the dash pad, and all the carpets. Gernold was an incredible help.  Sympathetic restoration, as what I did was essentially everything that should be replaced, and or rebuilt, as well as repainting the car and it’s correct, original color, redoing the interior in incorrect interior, materials and color, going into the engine bay and correcting all of the flaws that had found their way into there over the years.  Some of the chrome was pitted, as it was not in an ideal storage place, and I elected to replace a lot of it with original great condition used parts. Restoring a pagoda that has sat in the barn for 23 years is not for the faint of heart, nor would I recommend that anyone do it if I was asked. However, I saw this car so many years ago, and I desperately wanted to rescue it – it is now mine, and I brought it back to better than new. Turns out that when it was parked it had a slightly blown head gasket, so the latest is that I had to replace the head, coolant had severely damaged it beyond repair.  I am also incredibly lucky to have a Mercedes mechanic who worked at the local Mercedes dealership from 1973 to 2021 and who is an old friend due to the cars that I’ve had over the years. He is the one who has done all of the mechanical, and when I tell you that this car drives like a new car, I mean it. by the way, the underside is done also. This is a great SL, and hopefully I will run into some of you in the future so that you can see it for yourselves. Next step is to replace the windshield this spring at Gernold’s in Arundel – he is holding onto a windshield and trim for me and I need to make the trek from Vermont to Maine in order to accomplish this task. Sounds like a good idea in the near future.  The long and the short of it is I’ve loved these cars since I was a boy. I truly believe that the pagoda SL is truly one of the most beautiful and fantastic all around cars out there, and that they completely obliterated any competition when they were first introduced in 1963 – beauty and grace is relevant to this day.

1132021benz

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Re: 1971 280SL
« Reply #6 on: March 20, 2024, 23:36:02 »
By the way, George at Authentic Classics has been an incredible friend throughout this process, words cannot express the gratitude that I feel for his help.

lreppond

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Re: 1971 280SL
« Reply #7 on: March 23, 2024, 01:40:23 »
I think you’ve gone about this the right way.  Yes, it’s expensive but you either do it right or why bother.  Finding a great mechanic is key.   

I took my car in earlier this week for some routine maintenance and a lot of little jobs.  I picked it up this afternoon.  I drove it home in the middle of peak commuter traffic and rain.   Like yours, the engine, transmission, steering, braking systems are redone and have new rubber on seals, gaskets, doors, trunk, etc. Everything is OEM with much attention has been paid to how the car was originally delivered.   What I realized while driving home was what an outstanding car it is.  At 53 years old, it’s tight, powerful, smooth running and supremely comfortable. Even in commuter traffic, I got thumbs up and waves. 

My only regret is that my dad is no longer with us.  I know he’d be thrilled to see what has become of his beloved SL.   
~Len

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

Starchild

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Re: 1971 280SL
« Reply #8 on: March 24, 2024, 09:33:11 »
W1132021, Love the navy blue, a favorite color.  Don't get to see that color very often on a w113.   Did you install new horsehair pads on the seats? Do you remember where they may have been purchased?   I have the original MB tex that is in great shape and looks brand new and want to keep it on the car.  Would like new horsehair pads( which is not really horsehair) but am afraid the MBtex won't make the journey off the seat and back on again with out a disaster. Want to keep the car as  original  as possible but would like the comfort of a new pad. Passenger seat pad is exxcellent. Wonder if anyone else has removed a fifty four year old MBtex seat cover and reinstalled it without splits or a tear?

Cees Klumper

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Re: 1971 280SL
« Reply #9 on: March 24, 2024, 14:08:53 »
If the MB tex is really in good condition, it should be able to be de- and re-installed without a problem.

A few years ago the original MB tex on my passenger seat began to spontaneously develop splits/tears, and I decided to replace both. It was of course odd that this only happened on the passenger side.
Cees Klumper
1969 Mercedes 280 SL automatic
1968 Ford Mustang 302 V8
1961 Alfa Romeo Giulietta Sprint Coupe 1600
1962 FIAT 1500S OSCA convertible
1972 Lancia Fulvia Coupe 1.3
1983 Porsche 944 2.5
1990 Ford Bronco II

Alex D

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Re: 1971 280SL
« Reply #10 on: March 24, 2024, 18:07:30 »
Just had my horse hair pads replaced using the original 57 year old MB tex turquoise colored seat covers.  Shop told me that the secret is once the seat covers are off they put them in the heat booth at 120 deg for 3 hours to slowly warm them to get them flexible.  Once you take them out of the heat booth they are flexible enough you have 10 minutes to get them on seats otherwise they start to cool and get stiff and will not be able to get them on.  Once the warm seat covers are on, they will cool and the have a perfect tight fit. They do one seat a time, while the other seat cover is still in the heat booth. 

By heat booth I mean they paint cars and when done painting a car they put the car in a heat booth to cure the paint.  Any paint shop or some other establishment that would have something to slowly heat the covers would be ideal, doubt your oven at home would be big enough.  It's the 10 minutes to get one set of seat covers on is the key.
Alex D
1967 250 SL
Original 140K mi
181 Light Beige, with  112 Turquoise Interior

Mike Hughes

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Re: 1971 280SL
« Reply #11 on: March 26, 2024, 00:07:13 »
That is a great idea for working with aged Tex.

Does this mean that your 250 is close to being back in action?
- Mike Hughes  -ô¿ô-
  1966 230SL Auto P/S
  Havana Brown (408)
  Light Beige (181)
  Cream M-B Tex (121)

Starchild

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Re: 1971 280SL
« Reply #12 on: March 26, 2024, 05:57:16 »
I wouldn't even think of removing and reinstalling the seat covers myself. I see a lot of new seat covers on cars that don't seem to fit like the originals.  Lots of wrinkles at the sides of the bolsters.

  Would that 130 degree heat have any effect on the longevity of the MB tex?

zoegrlh

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Re: 1971 280SL
« Reply #13 on: March 28, 2024, 13:13:56 »
I don’t think the heat will shorten the life of MBTex. It’s a great material. Our have to heat leather too when struggling to replace dashboard pieces. You should be ok to do this project DIY. And it’s great to hear that Alex will be back in his SL soon.
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