Part 2   Disassembly

    Now we start the process of taking the car apart, cataloguing parts and making notes.  To do a proper paint job all of the trim must be taken off.  This is an ideal time to determine which pieces need to be re-chromed, refinished or replaced.  We can also make a list of fasteners that need to be replaced.  In this case since we are changing the color we need to pretty much take the whole car apart.   As this happens one gains insights on the manufacturing process. 

    I have only had a hand full of really original 280SL's and this one like the others has an inspection number behind the left headlight door.  I'm not really sure what #23 was inspecting, maybe that the ground strap was in place.  The un-painted area left of center is where a ground strap is fastened.  When the car is painted something round is placed in that area so that paint is not deposited on the metal and an effective ground is achieved.  The rubber plug right of center is painted over at the factory in body color.  These are details that no concourse judge will likely ever see when a car is displayed on a lawn however we will duplicate them just the same.

      Body number at base of hardtop

    The paint on the hardtop is actually quite nice so we could actually get by not painting the top.  However the head lining has the typical stains and the optional aluminum strips on the top had faded. To remove the aluminum strips you must fist remove the headliner.  To remove the head liner you must remove all of the glass.  To remove the glass you must remove the chrome trim.  Now you understand why so many cars run around with raggedy headliners.  We spent nearly three solid days de-trimming the hardtop.  De-trimming a hard top is even more labor intensive since much of the chrome trim and the glass weather seals have caulking under them, which after 30 plus years has become petrified and effectively a very strong glue.  Great care must be exercised so as not to break the glass or bend the trim.  The trick is to break the bond of the glue but not the glass. much more is a Pagoda worth if it has a perfect headliner, nice pit free bright work and a beautiful paint finish?  To the knowledgeable buyer I would say a lot.

                 Body number under headlining

    I mentioned headlining stains.  Most original W113 cars have them.  Many people think they are caused by water leaks.  Not so.  I have never seen a Mercedes hard top leak.  The expensive seals and caulking behind the seals make it just about impossible for these tops to leak.  The stains appear to be made by the backing foam that disintegrates over the years.  Most likely a plastisizing agent is released as the foam breaks down then bleeds through the lining.  Plastisizing agents are what give "that new car smell"(at least on cars without leather).  They are released from virtually every plastic and vinyl part in a car.  

            Wire for heated window

    This car has the optional heated rear glass in its hardtop.  The wires that run between the to panes are so fine that they are barely visible to unaided vision.  I have never priced a new heated rear window and don't even know if they are available(another reason to take apart a hardtop very carefully).  Before the top even comes apart we can see the four digit body number at the base of the hardtop near the center on the area that would be facing the top rear of the car.  Once the liner is off we see the body number written in crayon marker.

            Speaker(s) and spacers

    This car has a speaker with two tweeters that I have hot seen before.  Maybe someone out there can let me know if this was an option or custom made.  The new OEM speakers that I can buy are mono only.  Notice the two wood spacers.  They keep you from cracking the wood trim as you tighten down the nuts from underneath the dash.
    With the car coming apart we notice some areas where dull black paint is brushed over the finish paint coat.  Most notable is the are ahead of the battery behind the grill.  But there are other areas also such as the edge of the air cleaner enclosure and around the defrost vents of the dash.  

De-trimmed dash





        Air cleaner enclosure








Area just ahead of the battery.








Yet another body # stamp, this time on the transmission support(a part finished in body color).








Door inspector # 17 was here.









On to part 3






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