Restoration of a Mercedes 280SL W113
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You may recognize this 280SL from our Mercedes Benz page.  It was sold and we are currently restoring it for a client. These photographs show us the very solid and original state of the car before beginning the restoration.  It is absolutely rust free.  All the factory spot welds are there and the panel gaps are correct.  It also has many of the originality indicators that we look for.

Before the acquisition of any vehicle, first it must pass the three page (300 point) Motoring Investments inspection.  A complete and well documented inspection is vital to insure that one is beginning with a good base.  This is crucial to insure the best final product.  We document all phases of our restorations from initial inspection and disassembly to refinishing, rebuilding and reassembly.  This report should become part of the car's history file and is important to its future value.


What looks like rust above is in fact old glue.


During the disassembly process, our technicians are constantly inspecting and making notes for the restoration.
Way too often, we see incorrect screws inserted into the wrong areas or some other evidence that the car has been
worked on by someone unfamiliar with the model.   In this case, when we inspected the car we noticed all
original looking hardware throughout the car.  Sheet metal and machine screws are in the correct areas. Along with different
colored paint dabbed on some bolts and screws (the factory technicians applied spots of paint on certain areas that
met inspection or had specific torque ratings.

Click on any photo to view the larger version.

After our diagnostic tests, the engine and engine bay is ready for disassembly.  We test all components and document the condition to assure that all is in proper working order when finished.  In the photos above, we show the engine and engine bay in its pre-disassembly state.  Notice the middle photo above of the battery area.  It is very common to see discoloration in this area or even holes underneath the battery tray.  This car is an exception, upon full disassembly we discovered a very solid battery tray area (left two photos below).

The engine and engine bay before disassembly.


Above are pictures of the engine pulled out from the
car. Note:  removing the exhaust manifolds and
 other peripheral parts facilitates engine removal.


The below picture displays the inner fender wall.

A close look at the above picture shows that the body color paint was applied to the inner fender after the rubber plugs were installed. There is only primer under where the plugs sat.  The plugs were just painted over.  Note that most of these rubber plugs today do not show the body color paint since the plugs originally had a coating of wax that the paint did not stick to. The spot welds and seam sealer are all present and look correct.


The Motoring Investments inspection report for the undercarriage is very detailed.  It is imperative to begin the
restoration process with the most solid example you can find. Below are some of the most important
areas to inspect before the acquisition of a 280SL.

A complete look at the undercarriage will show you any issues the car may be hiding.  With the car up on the hoist, we inspect and document the condition of everything from the floor pans to the bumper brackets. The photo above shows what a rust-free Pagoda typically from a warm, dry U.S. state will look like.  The factory sprayed a rough texture undercoat on top of the primered metal which was usually a beige color.  The undercoating was then brushed in at many of the seams.  On top of this was usually a waxy substance, root beer brown in color.  Sometimes the center of the floorboard was only thinly undercoated or not at all, just showing the gray primer.  After years of driving like on this car road grim accumulates hiding the color of the undercoat.  If you find black tar-like undercoat here it was added post factory. 


The transmission mounting plates like the one seen in the photo just below were given a light coat of body color paint.

Click on any photo to see the larger version.

The above photo with the trailing
arms still in place. Below picture shows the arms
are removed and we further inspect for any
missing/broken undercoating or seam sealer.

The above and below pictures are of the rear
shelf and shocks area with the rear end
removed from the car.

These areas are prone to corrosion. Notice this car
is a great example to restore. All factory
undercoating is still present and every where
you look, absolutely NO RUST.

The left and right pictures display the rear
of the car. The left picture show the wheel
well behind the rear wheels. This area is prone
to corrosion usually from road moisture or
other elements. Notice this area is
dry and displays a uniformed layer
of undercoating.

The picture to the right displays the floor
underneath the gas tank.

Above is the photos of the trunk floor. This is one
of the most susceptible areas to rust or
corrosion. Notice this trunk floor is absolutely rust
free and even displays its factory correct satin
black finish.

Click on any photo to see the larger version.

Transmission mounting plate -
if you look close you can see the body #
between the two bolts at the bottom.


After cleaning the original color of the factory
undercoat is seen plus traces of the brown
waxy coat. Also note the color-splotch code
for the coil spring tension.


The row of "dots" indicate factory spot welds
along a pinch seam.
With the front suspension removed, we repaired
a small crack at the horn bracket.

The pictures below are of the front suspension freshly sand blasted and powder coated to match the factory satin black.

The exhaust manifolds above are sent out to be coated in an aerospace high grade ceramic finish. This process lowers the
temperature in the engine bay and extends the life of neighboring components.

The parts back from de-burring and tumbling
with a ceramic media.


These pictures display the interior after
disassembly. Notice the waffle pattern floor
insulation in the picture above. This insulation is
factory correct and was installed as a insulation
or sound deadening material.  The above photos
also display the interior floor boards and their
exceptional and original condition.


If you look closely at these pictures to the left,
right and below, you will see traces of satin black
paint sprayed on the seat pedestals and around the
rear shelf area. The factory did this to hide the
body color in the cockpit.

The above row displays pictures
 of the dash disassembly.
All switches, knobs, lever and connections
are documented and checked for serviceability.
We disassemble the dash and
replace all heater temperature sliders
along with properly lubricate all cables
and connectors.
With the dash board apart and all
other misc. trim, we can further inspect
all areas of the rebuild.


You can also see the satin black brushed
on around speaker grill and etc...

These pictures above highlight the protection
level the factory set in place long ago.
After removing the plastic liner to the door panel,
we have a more accessible view to all
working mechanisms for further inspection.
Above: Notice the plastic liner that was glued on
from factory to limit the outside elements
from entering the cabin.
A close up view at the masking tape that
Mercedes Benz used for
that extra layer of protection.

Mercedes used this material to safeguard the paint.
 Adding to the tradition of engineering
to only the finest standards.

From behind the front chrome grill
to the backside
of the door panel chrome trim.
We document the placement and extent
of this material. We then duplicate it to reflect
the standards all Pagodas were born to.

The pictures below highlight the interior details,
and how they all come together to match up.
From the backside of door panels,
to kick panels and glove box undersides.
All interior panels match.
Below is a close up at the backsides
of the door panels.
The pictures below shows just how much
caulking the factory used to finish assembly
of the hard tops.

The color code was marked with grease
pencil under the rear shelf covering.
The body number is visible
on the bottom side of the hard top.

The factory applied caulking to every step as they assembled the hard top. From under all the chrome, to in between the
channel guides. We carefully heat up and remove all the caulking along with the chrome from the hard top.

The factory painted the backside of the chrome bumpers. Here we see the paint color is a light beige.
This process helped with corrosion prevention.

The detailed pictures above and below are of some chrome interior parts.
The fresh air vents and flaps are completely disassembled and re-plated.
The velvet lining on the backside of some interior trim is cleaned and reapplied to protect the
new interior dash panels.
The fresh air vents before
A close up picture of the fresh air
vent units from the backside.

The ashtray chrome bezel is attached
with three small tabs. Our advise is to gently
heat up the tabs when
disassembling the ashtray.

A close up picture of the fresh air vent and flaps before the re-plating process. Notice the small round tabs on
the ends of the vent flaps. Any chrome build up must be filed down to fit back into the holder.

Pictures of the new oil pump, new cylinder head, and new pistons.
We double check all clearances and surfaces before mating the
cylinder head to the block.
New gears, new intake and exhaust valves

Above are some pictures of the engine before we disassembled and started the full rebuild.
Below are all the pictures during the engine rebuilding process.
The right and left pictures shown
of the fuel injectors, before and after.


The water pump and side plates,
before and after.


Here are pictures of the body during the paint process.
The pictures of the 280SL with
new paint.

The pictures shown above and below show us the seats during restoration,
using new Mercedes pads.


The above picture shows us the new headliner and new foam being installed. All the leather is trimmed and
the backsides are skived to fit the panels together correctly.

The new door panels
are fitted to the doors.
The tail lights lenses and bezels
are replaced with new lenses and re-plated
bezels. The new lenses are exact
duplicates of the originals.
The European headlamps are being fitted with
all the correct bulbs.

The pictures above and below show us the headliner and hard top assembly. Along with the new foam, weather seals,
headliner and re-plating all the chrome,
we replaced every screw with new hardware. The pictures below
show of how flush all the new hardware sets into the channel.

The pictures to the left and right
display the cloth tape applied to the
front of the bug grills to mate up with the body.
We duplicate every detail that Mercedes
factory technicians completed over
40 years ago.


These pictures are of the fresh air vents flaps, bezels and
all interior parts back from re-plating and ready for reassembly.

Below are the final engine bay pictures with all the
correct clamps and accessories as well as the painted dotology in place.
  The picture above displays the
 N.O.S ( new old stock )
hood limiting strap in the correct color

The spot welds along the inner fenders and painted inner fender plugs.
Early 280SL models were equipped with a label
on the transmission dip stick. Later
models have an embossed (Bakelite)
lid with no label.

The pictures above and below display all the details we add to complete the engine bay.
The dotology marks at the factory indicated locations, new decals and labels that
finalize the look.

Valve cover label Brake booster label shock tower dotology
The picture to the left shows the
wiper motor base and motor in new condition.

We remove the base plates to the wiper motor
and have them re-plated to factory standards.

Below are the final undercarriage pictures.
Before    After

The above photos show us the dotology markers we duplicate through out the undercarriage.
The picture above displays the white paint behind
the bumpers. We duplicate every detail in our
restorations. The factor did this to protect the
from the elements.
The picture above is of the transmission
mounting plate body number.

A close up shows up the # 205.
This number coincides with the last
sequence of numbers on the last line,
pictured below.
The picture below shows the
new transmission I.D. plate in place
with the correct rivets.

The last of the dotology spots are applied to the undercarriage.

The pictures above show the process of installing the windshield. To facilitate the install of the windshield and trim,
install the drivers side wooden bow at the topside of dash, first. Then the windshield and surrounding trim.
This will help fit all other related parts and panels perfectly.


The photo above is with the European
lights activated in the fog light position.
  The photo above is with the European
lights activated in the running light position.
The pictures below display the canvas top
and frame in the final steps of restoration.
New tensioning cable, foam, straps,
and new vinyl.

The new vinyl is glued down firmly and
fitted to perfection.


Applying the right type of glue to the outside of the canvas top for
the new moss rubber strips is crucial
for a lasting hold.
The canvas top frame has been reconditioned
with new vinyl at the header bar, new nylon
straps that affix the bows together, new foam
and all new weather seals.



After the new canvas top is installed, the protective rear window material and waxy tissue paper is removed.
The pictures above and below
display the bug grills as well as the
small pieces of masking tape we apply
to the assembly points at the front grill.
The pictures below display the
chrome grill in its flawless condition.

From fitting the grill before re-plating and
during the painting process to installation
of the buffer tape, we overlook no detail.

The pictures below show us the final look of the canvas soft top. We carefully remove the
waxy protective coating on the rear window.
The hubcaps are painted using the
same techniques that the factory technicians
used in the day; even down to
the use of the factory
hubcap stencil.
The new hubcaps are installed using
the correct yellow cadmium plated clips.

Mercedes stencil still "in box".
   The dotology on the spare wheel is
applied from the technicians after they have
inspected the wheels.
Date coded wheels match the car The Firestone Phoenix
 is the original spare tire.

The curb lip, was to limit the curb rash and
protect the whitewall scuffs.


The photos below are of the final stage. The restoration build is completed with a fully
documented portfolio, along with the final photos of the car.
The pictures above and below show the restored
folding top storage compartment. The new
decal in place, shows care tips
and instructions on
lifting and storing the folding top.
The screw that affixes the fresh air housing
to the body must also be gold cadmium plated.
  The pictures above left & right
are close ups of the
headlamp notches.
The picture below displays a close up view of
the chrome trim and rubber profile
that is between them.
Early cars have no rubber profile that fits
behind the chrome trim.
The trunk is finalized with
the appropriate "early SL" tire pressure label
and the tire change instruction card.
Mercedes Benz changed over from the
early tire pressure label after late 1969.
The photos below show the
car and its final state...
A Nardi Steering wheel finishes the
elegant look.
New sun visors  
  The photo above shows the hazard knob.
We replaced the knob with one from our
 N.O.S. ( New Old Stock) inventory to
complete the dash.
The photos to the left and right
display the show quality paint work
performed. We complete the cars to have
a factory correct look.

Before Before
After After
Before After












































































































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