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Thread: 1965 Mercedes 220SE convertible top and headliner, suppliers?

  1. #1
    Senior Member trimacar's Avatar
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    1965 Mercedes 220SE convertible top and headliner, suppliers?

    I'm going to put a top on a 1965 Mercedes 220SE cabriolet, complete with padding and headliner.

    I can search the Internet and find numerous suppliers.

    Does anyone have thoughts on which company might supply the best, most original, top parts?

    Thanks!
    David Coco
    Winchester Va.
    (early upholstery, will discuss
    2015 projects)
    1910 Model 20 Hupmobile runabout
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    Re: 1965 Mercedes 220SE convertible top and headliner, suppliers?

    Try Bill Hersh from NJ I have bought tops from him and they were great. Tops were for chevy and buick

  3. #3

    Re: 1965 Mercedes 220SE convertible top and headliner, suppliers?

    GAHH is the best source for the 220SE top.
    Dave

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    Re: 1965 Mercedes 220SE convertible top and headliner, suppliers?

    Absolutely agree with 61polara on GAHH. They are the best match for proper style, cut, weave of material, etc. You can find some that fit the pattern of course but as you know, a vintage MB really benefits best from the most correct use of materials and this is where the other suppliers fail. You may also order samples of all materials from each supplier, they are happy to oblige, and compare for yourself. One subtle example: One company I asked for a sample from punched their perforations in seat material from the back rather than the front which doesn't create a visible difference but if you move your hand or leg across the surface it felt much more rough than perforations made from the front of the material.
    I have found that by comparing samples the differences really show up, such as MB Tex material from one supplier that is simply color dyed over white base material so any scratch will be fatal to the appearance, but the quality stuff is solid color all the way through. I forgot to mention that I do "destructive testing" with the samples; scratching, stretching until breaking point, fire resistance, and whatever else you can come up with. At the prices these places charge you only want to do this job once.
    Marrs
    1962 Mercedes-Benz 220seW111 Coupe
    1936 GMC Pickup (family project rig)

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    Senior Member trimacar's Avatar
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    Re: 1965 Mercedes 220SE convertible top and headliner, suppliers?

    Thanks for info guys!

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    Senior Member trimacar's Avatar
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    Re: 1965 Mercedes 220SE convertible top and headliner, suppliers?

    OK guys, I know I'll catch some heat for this, but I have to ask the question.

    In spite of the good advice above, due to cost considerations a top and headliner were purchased from a vendor, NOT GAHH.

    The top looks fine, the finish around the rear inside of window area is a beige color, but the headliner is a salmon color, I'd say almost pink. Seems to be nice fabric, but color is off-putting.

    Was the original this color, or more of a whitish/beige color?

    Thanks, you're welcome to criticize the decision, but an answer would be appreciated too!

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    Senior Member trimacar's Avatar
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    Re: 1965 Mercedes 220SE convertible top and headliner, suppliers?

    ...and by the way, I'm staying true to my mission statement, "wood bow automobiles", by working on this car....the rear bow is, indeed, wood!

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    Re: 1965 Mercedes 220SE convertible top and headliner, suppliers?

    Quote Originally Posted by trimacar View Post
    OK guys, I know I'll catch some heat for this, but I have to ask the question.

    In spite of the good advice above, due to cost considerations a top and headliner were purchased from a vendor, NOT GAHH.

    The top looks fine, the finish around the rear inside of window area is a beige color, but the headliner is a salmon color, I'd say almost pink. Seems to be nice fabric, but color is off-putting.

    Was the original this color, or more of a whitish/beige color?

    Thanks, you're welcome to criticize the decision, but an answer would be appreciated too!
    No grumbles from me, often budget dictates our projects so it happens. I think I know the color you mean, sort of a tan/flesh color. My personal car is a coupe which has an ivory perforated headliner, but I believe the color you describe may be correct for the cabs. I will inquire on another forum and get back to you if I get a solid reply.
    Marrs
    1962 Mercedes-Benz 220seW111 Coupe
    1936 GMC Pickup (family project rig)

    Car news: MotoArigato

    Sold or traded: '57 Cadillac Series 62 Sedan, '76 Jaguar XJ6L, '63 Jaguar Mk X, 84 Porsche 944, '88 Merkur Scorpio (x2), '99 C230 Kompressor, '04 Porsche Cayenne S

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    Senior Member trimacar's Avatar
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    Re: 1965 Mercedes 220SE convertible top and headliner, suppliers?

    OK thanks....I've looked at it in different lights, and you're absolutely correct, it's a tan color with a hint of flesh color, the room where I first opened it had Reveal lights and it looked darned near pink!

    Thanks for help.

    I've been told that all Mercedes headliners in US come from GAHH. I've requested a sample of the material directly from GAHH to compare.......

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    Re: 1965 Mercedes 220SE convertible top and headliner, suppliers?

    I was able to confirm that the color you describe is correct, especially given how it looks under the new lighting, and is pictured on the materials page of the GAHH site. Look on this page I believe it would be the Stretchwool Headliner Material and is probably the same sample you already requested but at least you can compare and have a definitive answer. Also, let us know what you think of the material you bought and if it's comparable, how much cost savings, etc. What color is the car by the way?
    Marrs
    1962 Mercedes-Benz 220seW111 Coupe
    1936 GMC Pickup (family project rig)

    Car news: MotoArigato

    Sold or traded: '57 Cadillac Series 62 Sedan, '76 Jaguar XJ6L, '63 Jaguar Mk X, 84 Porsche 944, '88 Merkur Scorpio (x2), '99 C230 Kompressor, '04 Porsche Cayenne S

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    Senior Member trimacar's Avatar
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    Re: 1965 Mercedes 220SE convertible top and headliner, suppliers?

    What color is the car? Ah, there's the key point!

    The car is silver with black interior. The car has gone through two other restoration shops, now is in the third and final because this fellow knows what he's doing. The car has already had a repaint and a so-so replacement of seat upholstery. The restoration shop's owner and I removed what appeared to be the original top, black, and the headliner, while faded and rotten, appears to be beige or tan.

    Thus, I ordered a black top with what I thought would be a beige headliner. Getting the new top and headliner, I realized what a clash it would be on the silver/black car. I expressed some concern to the shop owner, as I did here.

    In the meantime, he was working with car, and realized that the car was originally white. THAT makes sense, as this headliner color would go well with a white or red car.

    SOOOOO, I've made arrangements to return top and headliner, and get the gray headliner. The top goes back also as there's an accent piece sewn to the inside back of the top around the rear window that must match with the headliner.

    By the way, I'm told that the headliners are only made by GAHH, even though the price I paid for it through a second party is less than what GAHH lists in their catalog.

    Thanks for input! dc

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    Re: 1965 Mercedes 220SE convertible top and headliner, suppliers?

    A little aside if you are interested; if you ever do a coupe version of these cars be sure to politely ask the owner if he/she is aware of the small vent at the very top of the rear glass. Most, unless they are original or long term owners of the cars, do not. The vent is almost impossible to see unless you literally lay your cheek (the one on your head) against the rear glass on the outside and use a flashlight to peek up under the chrome strip at the top. That opening allows airflow from the side window vents and heater to flow through the headliner perforations and exit the car via that upper rear vent, hence the difference in materials from coupe to cab. It's actually incredibly effective. The reason to make it known to them is that many people spray water unknowingly all over their headliners through this vent when simply washing their car, especially in pressure washers, causing staining. Have a look next time at a car show, even relatively recent restorations will have warped parcel shelf boards or stained headliners and almost any unrestored car will. Also good to know in case an owner wants to replace an old perforated headliner to a solid material one for his coupe, you can explain that his car is literally engineered for that material.

    How would you compare these tops to a Rolls-Royce of similar era? I would assume more padding and thickness in the Roller but interested to hear your thoughts in general.
    Marrs
    1962 Mercedes-Benz 220seW111 Coupe
    1936 GMC Pickup (family project rig)

    Car news: MotoArigato

    Sold or traded: '57 Cadillac Series 62 Sedan, '76 Jaguar XJ6L, '63 Jaguar Mk X, 84 Porsche 944, '88 Merkur Scorpio (x2), '99 C230 Kompressor, '04 Porsche Cayenne S

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    Senior Member trimacar's Avatar
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    Re: 1965 Mercedes 220SE convertible top and headliner, suppliers?

    Interesting on the coupe vent, and explains the perforated headliner. I recently saw a similar application of perforations on a door panel, with heat/cool air flow through them, and the replicated replacement material just appeared to be perforated, when it actually wasn't and thus didn't allow the air flow.

    A lot of thought goes into the design of an automobile, and some of it is by very clever engineers (or other).

    The last Rolls-Royce I worked on was a late 20's limousine, so can't answer your comparative question. The Mercedes is quite a nice top, with headliner and padding and then the top itself, with much attention to detail.

  14. #14

    Re: 1965 Mercedes 220SE convertible top and headliner, suppliers?

    The Mercedes top,Which I am guessing you have found out by now, is a really complex structure and tottally unlike the American tops. The biggest issue is the padding (or mattress as we call it) between the bows and the top. The orignmal was full of curly hair reputed to be harvested from Aryan virgins or something. What we have done on two here i to make a new mattress using dacron filling with a cloth which prevents the dacron fibers from peircing it. Without it,the fibers will poke therough everytime someone wipes thweir hand over the top or it is folded down. A disaster on a dark top.
    The bows are lined with fabric and leather rubbing pads to prevent rub throughs. The hood liner is fitted up,then the matterss and the top is hooked on to the rear of the body. The originals had a thick cardboard striop inside the outer covers edge . This is folded under a metal ledge and the top is pulled taught against it when the two handles are tightened in the front.
    Check that the two tension cables are in good condition. Mercedes sell these thr9ugh the classic center.
    There are also tighteneing strips between the bows which should always be replaced. Behind the header is another peice of cardbaord,possibly bitumin board. the best idea here is to make a new peice from plastic in the same thickness and shape as the cardboard. it's far easier to staple it together. the original was nailed together,as was the wooden rear bow. i counted over one thousand tacks in one top. if possible save the rear bows bright trim as the repro's have huge nails which are impossible to fit.

    Finally ,it doesn't matter who makes the top,it is as if they made one using an old top as a pattern and none ever fit. it has been found here that the stiching often has to be unpicked in places and redone to get a perfect looking top. And i think those making and selling the new tops have never fitted one to a car...Click image for larger version. 

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