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280 SE interior makeover

Started by carl888, 29 December 2007, 07:55 AM


Well, I've finally begun to put things back into the 280 SE, it's always a nice feeling when you turn this corner...

This started as a simple "re-dye" the centre console, you can see what the original one looked like here:

Notice the damage to the top section of the rear of the console here, no wonder my switches were wobbly!

I've seen this sort of marking on almost every 116 I've seen.  Had the interior been scrappy, I wouldn't have worried about it, but it's quite nice, so I decided to have Billy at Leather Creations have his way with it.  Anyway, the job he did was great.  But before the console went back in, I found a few nasties to tidy up first.

IMO, car radio installers should be shot, have a look at this:

What you see above is the fader, the tool that installed it, couldn't even be bothered to solder the wires to the fader, just wrap them around the terminals and cover the whole thing in insulation tape......

Not only that, because the antenna wire had been wrapped around the steering column it was about 10 cm too short to make it to the lets just add a 14 foot extension and coil the wire up behind the dash!

But the best part....was the power supply to the unit, this is how 12 volts made it to the radio:

Complete with 30 amp fuse I might add........      At some stage, a third brake light had also been added, the wiring was similar, it was so bad in fact that common decency prevented me from photographing the work.  Needless to say, the wiring has now been removed and the damage to the loom repaired.

The Phillips radio was installed in 1978, since the car is 1974, I have a period Becker Mexico that will go in its place.

Thanks to Robertd I was able to source two original Becker rear parcel shelf speaker grilles to replace the Clarion ones installed in 1978.

And here are the Becker grilles:

The front speakers were too large to fit the recess so the installer cut part of the frame off with some tin snips.... I was able to find some Phillips 4" speakers that fitted perfectly:

Here is the interior as it stands as of this evening.  I hope to get close to completing it tomorrow.  The re-dyed console really looks a treat in the car.






Remarkable, as PB has said, apart from the odd blemish, it looks briliant. Pitty about the tools that thought they could work on the car before you got it, one of those times you wish they were within earshot.


Hi Carl,

Good to see you hard at it, this car is going to be an absolute cracker when its finished.
For all of you that have not seen this car up close in person, It is as good as it looks in the pics.

Regards Robert
116   1978 450SEL 6.9 #  4848
116   1979 450SEL  6.9 # 5884
116   1979 450SEL  6.9 # 6225  SOLD
116   1978 450SEL  6.9 # 5128  SOLD
116   1979 450SEL  6.9 # 5884  SOLD
116   1974 450SEL  DJet




maybe its time for me to tidy up my interior! yours looks fantastic!


What did you end up using to re-dye the console ?


Thanks for all the positive comments fellow 116's! 

(Craig, the console is covered in an elasticised paint, can post the info of the chap that did it for me if you like)

Unfortuantely the last few days have not been as productive as hoped, the 42 degree day ensured I only spent the early part of the morning in the workshop.  I have now replaced all the wiring for the Stereo and made sure it's all soldered! I did discover a few more issues though that need sorting though.

1. The centre console is actually damaged, the support between the top of the ash tray housing and the bottom of the heater and fan control bezel is missing.  I didn't realise this until I tried to put it back together....and in the end, had to remove the console again!

You can see the console here and see how the support is missing:

A few minutes with a hack saw, some aluminium and some screws turned up this:

This bracket now fits really nicely on the back of the console and apart from making the console more rigid, now allows the stereo to be affxed properly, and provides location for the bottom of the ventilation control bezel which was wobbly before:

I also cleaned up and tested the Becker Mexico which works very well:

I can't say the same for the amplifier though!  One channel is not working.  Does anyone have a spare amp they would be willing to sell?

One final problem, does anyone have a spare steel clip that fits on the side of the rear light switch as shown in the pics below?  Mine has gone missing, and of course, instead of changing the clip, or the switch, the person that "worked" on the car just glued the whole switch in with super glue......

Thanks for any help with these bits.





Great work.  It's amazing that a car in such good condition that it still needs this kind of attention.  But boy the pics speak for themselves.  The carpet looks new too.  Is it just really clean or replaced?  The blue looks so vivid.

Now down to business.

I'll give you a later type switch.  It's got the illuminated disc of the later models but will still work as is or you can pull a clip out to use on your old one.
Click for bigger images

Now the Mexico.  Here's mine.  It's in a box of bits and I haven't had time to test it let alone clean it up.  There's a subtle difference to yours with the italics v straight print of the "mexico" but otherwise very similar.  Check out the pics. 

I have no idea if the amp works but I'll give it to you if it's the same as yours on an exchange basis.  If mine works you can keep it in return for your malfunctioning one and one day I'll crack it open and try and fault find.  If it doesn't work, simply return it.  Either way, you can have the switch.  PM me if interested.

1973 350SE, my first & fave


Hi Oscar,

Yes, it's not only amazing, but infuriating!  All of the work on that car except for basic maintenance and the tyres/rims has been spent correcting the shoddy work of others.  The console has been the biggest issue, however at least I can see the light at the end of the tunnel.

The car is as I bought it, I have never cleaned it inside or out except for washing the dust off the exterior when I picked it up.

(PM on the way!)





Hmm, just found another thing I need, anyone have a spare set of Becker radio mounting hardware, same as this ebay listing:

Please let me know if so!



s class

Carl you have a very special car there.  I'm pleased to see you are taking the originality so seriously.  Keep it up, and keep the pictures coming!

[color=blue]'76 6.9 Euro[/color], [color=red]'78 6.9 AMG[/color], '80 280SE, [color=brown]'74 350SE[/color], [color=black]'82 500SEL euro full hydro, '83 500SEL euro full hydro [/color], '81 500SL


Thanks s class and parks,

With regards to the carpet, it's orginal, I've never even cleaned it.



s class


I see your top dash pad seems to have a finish that is flat to satin rather than a semi gloss finish.  Is this original or has it been sprayed?

I'm asking this because most 116's seem to have pretty shiny dashes.  This may be due to years of sun and silicone treatment.  I've heard that new replacements are altogether duller (and someone told me less correct!) than these typical old dashes. 

Anyhow, the dash in your car looks very similar to the new replacements.  Could you do a favour and provide some closer shots of the dash top?

Many thanks

[color=blue]'76 6.9 Euro[/color], [color=red]'78 6.9 AMG[/color], '80 280SE, [color=brown]'74 350SE[/color], [color=black]'82 500SEL euro full hydro, '83 500SEL euro full hydro [/color], '81 500SL


Hi s class,

No, the dash is not painted, like the carpet, and everything else that everyone has asked me about in there except that bloody centre console! 

I'm old enough to recall W116's new in the showroom and I can assure you the dash was never gloss, or even remotely satin.  They are matte.

No problem to take pics of the dash but I can't do it till probably Sunday.