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Wood trim has been used in Mercedes interiors from quite early on. Wood trim was an important interior component. Wood was first used as part of the body structure itself and later, as steel and other materials became more common, wood became a decorative feature to give an elegant, handmade look to the interior of the carriage styling of the older cars.

Wood has fallen out of favor in recent times. A hint of wood's past is preserved by the surface wood grain decoration on plastic and other space age materials used in some of today's vehicles. Real wood is no longer in general use in vehicles as wood requires maintenance and refinishing, and wood trim is relatively costly to produce and install.

Wood in W113 Pagodas

Wood trim is found along the rear edge of the hard top and along the front edge of the dash. A wooden cover is used over the front center radio speaker and wood forms the center console box set between the front seats.

Wood Finish

Pagoda wood trim is near a medium oak color in many cars today. There are some who believe the original color was a medium dark Mahogany color but all agree that the finish was satin, not glossy. This is in contrast to the wood trim in other Mercedes of the 1960's. Some of the sedans, for example, had wood trim with a high gloss finish.

Removing W113 Dash Wood for Refinishing or Replacement

Right-side Dash Trim: Remove the glove box. Shine some light in the empty space to find the blue plastic hex nuts under the trim. Remove as many as you can find and reach. There are 3 Hex nuts for each of the long wood pieces. You might need to remove the padding on the A-pillar.

Left-side Dash Trim: The left side is more difficult. You must remove the tachometer and speedometer to access the nuts holding the trim. The detail here is for a Left Hand Drive car.

Start by removing the insulation panel below the steering wheel. Have a small flashlight (torch) ready. Push the left seat to the rear. Rest your head on the brake pedal, facing up. Very uncomfortable! Some suggest removing the steering wheel. This may give more room but the trim can be removed while the steering wheel is in place.

Removing the Tach (Rev Counter): look for the round thumbscrew that holds the tachometer to the dash. Remember where and how everything is put together. Remove the thumbscrew. Remove the cable from the tach. Remove the electrical wire. Set the tach aside.

DO NOT REMOVE THE CENTER GAUGES! A thin metal tube is attached to the back of the center cluster. This tube carries oil from the engine to the oil pressure gauge. If the tube is loosened or removed, oil will spill to the floor of the car. Leave the tube attached.

Remove Speedometer: work your way around the gauges to remove the speedometer which also has a thumbscrew, cable, and electrical wire.

Now you will have access to the blue plastic nuts holding the left trim piece. Remove them. Cover the top of the dash to prevent scratches then carefully remove the wood.

Refinishing Wood Trim

Once out of the car, the wood trim can be carefully sanded, stripped, and patched. The original color might be seen on an unexposed part of the center console box.

A common treatment is to have the surface smooth and free of cracks and holes then apply a stain of the preferred color followed by several very light coats of urethane or lacquer thinner. Light coats prevent drips and runs.

Some restorers use very fine steel wool, others use very fine grit sandpaper between each finish coat. Some apply 30 or more coats although fewer coats seem to work quite nicely.

An alternative is to send the pieces to a professional restorer. Restorers often advertise in auto collector magazines. A local furniture restorer might also be able to refinish the trim.

If the wood is missing or seriously damaged, sets of wood trim may be available from professional restorers, parts dealers, internet websites, and some internet auction sites.

MIGHT-AS-WELLS: An excellent time to send the speedometer and tachometer out for reconditioning. Don't forget to replace the light bulbs.

If your radio, clock, cigar lighter, or heater levers are broken, now might be a good time to take care of them.

Re-installation of the Dash Trim

Reinstall is the reverse. Fitting the left side wood trim back against the windshield without scratching the dash top can require a bit of careful pushing and coaxing. Be sure to have the dash top covered as the wood trim might cut the dash top while being put back.

After the trim is back in, put back the blue holders and the gauge connections, then admire the nice looking trim.

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