Centre pillar (76)

A restored Mercedes Ponton B-pillar cover

A restored B-pillar cover

Do also see the article "Choice of material"!

The B-pillars, or Centre pillars as they are called in the spare parts list, are to have leather in the same color as the seats up to the bakelite window frame and above that headliner.

As you can see, the cloth on the cover was in a rather bad shape. What was interesting were the seat cover samples on the rear side of the cover. I’ve seen them on other Ponton’s B-pillar covers. Why they are there I don’t know. But it’s interesting to see what seat covers were typical at the time of my 219’s time of production (the rear seat’s frame is stamped 15 May 1956, see the "Seats" article and the 1st gallery).

  • The Ponton B-pillar covers before restoration
  • Rear side of MB 219 centre pillar cover, 1st sample of seat cloth
  • Rear side of Mercedes Ponton B-pillar cover, 2nd sample of seat cloth
  • Rear side of Mercedes W120 W121 W105 W180 W128 B-pillar cover, 3rd sample of seat cloth
  • Top of MB Ponton B-pillar cover
  • Bottom of Mercedes-Benz Ponton B-pillar cover
  • Rear side of bottom of Mercedes centre pillar cover
  • Bottom of Mercedes-Benz Ponton centre pillar cover

The plan from the beginning was to clean up the cover and plate it. Since there was a lot of rust on it, I had to sandblast it, prime and 2k paint it (with the same gray/green color as the interior). The two sets of holes my father have done for the old seat belts was “cleaned” and will be re-used for the new seat belts’ anchor point in the B-pillar. A new hole for the contractor box was drilled at the bottom into each cover. 

  • How the bottom of Ponton B-pillar cover is made
  • Side view of W105 W120 W121 W128 W180 Ponton centre pillar cover
  • Front view of W105 W120 W121 W128 W180 Ponton centre pillar cover
  • Rear view of W105 W120 W121 W128 W180 Ponton centre pillar cover
  • Top of Mercedees 180 190 219 220 sedan centre b pillar cover
  • Bottom of Mercedees 180 190 219 220 sedan centre b pillar cover

All Pontons I've seen has cloth at the top and color matched vinyl at the bottom. If it is a cloth interior the vinyl is approximately 10 cm high. If the seats are of leather or vinyl, there is color matched vinyl (probably not leather on leather equipped cars) up until the window frames (see "Choice of material" and chapter "Reasoning behind my choices of interior detailing"). Since I have a couple of hides with leather I decided to go for that. But then it's necessary to make the leather at the top, the fold, thinner. Let a saddler "shave" it, it will be perfectly thin and it will go fast. Now it is time to put the new cloth and leather in place.

The old cloth and vinyl/leather is important when you cut out the material. Especially the old cut-outs at the top and bottom are helpful. First, I glued a thin layer of foam plastic on top of the metal cover to make the final cover a bit softer, and also to take out any surface imperfections in the metal. All gluing, almost, is made on the rear side. Due the shape of the metal cover I made the foam plastic in two parts. Note that there is no folded foam plastic at the top or at the bottom. You don’t to build up thickness there.

Painted Mercedes Ponton B-pillar covers

B-pillar covers, sandblasted and painted

Pre-cut the cloth exactly. See to that you leave enough spare for the backside and the gluing. I left a little bit to little… You fasten the cloth at the bottom with glue on the front side, exactly so that the glued part will be covered by the fold on the leather part. Let dry. Turn it upside down and stretch the cloth carefully. You don’t want to have it too loose causing folds or stretch it too much since it then will bulge due to the foam plastic. Fixate it with clothespins at the top and put glue on the backside of the metal cover. I recommend not to put glue onto the cloth since it has a tendency to spread, when it soaks into the cloth.

Then fold the cloth into the glue, carefully stretching it so that the result gets even along the edges. Small unevenness will surely be seen in the beginning, but they will disappear after a while. Fixate with clothespins and let dry. Then you make the cut-outs at the top, glue and carefully fold the tabs into the glue. Clothespins to fixate and let dry.

  • The cut-out at the top
  • The cut-out at the bottom
  • First a layer of soft foam plastic
  • Centre cloth and glue it at the seam
  • Turn around the W105 W120 W121 W128 W180 Ponton centre pillar cover and stretch cloth
  • Hold the stretched cloth with clothespins, glue
  • Fold cloth into glue on the W105 W120 W121 W128 W180 Ponton B-pillar
  • Finalize the cut-outs
  • Glue and hold with clothespins
  • Done gluing the cloth part to MB Ponton B-pillar
  • Final result of cloth on MB 219 centre pillar

Then we come to the leather part. I had my saddler prepare two pieces, one for each side. Off course I manage to destroy one and had to make a new one myself, i.e. to shave, or plane, the leather. I reached the same end result as my saddler, but believe me, it took time and some practice to achieve that. The leather must be cut exactly to fit before you start. Wait with the cut-outs at the bottom. You don’t to make too deep cut-outs.

I started with the area where the leather fold is attached. Measure carefully, again and again. Put a piece of tape above where the leather should start as a guide and also to protect the cloth from glue. Glue both the top of the cloth and the backside of the leather fold, but at this point only where it will stick to the top side of the cover. Put a weight on top of everything and let dry.

Unrestored Mercedes Ponton B-pillar covers

The unrestored B-pillar covers

Next step is to put glue on the sides of the leather and on the inside of the metal cover. Clothespins and let to dry. Then it’s time to spend some time on the cut-outs at the bottom. You need to cut them so that you don’t end up with two layers of material on the backside since you then will get problems when you assemble everything on the car. This applies to some extent to the cloth at the top as well.

Then you make holes through the cloth as well as leather for the small screws that fixates the cover to the B-pillar as well as for the straps and seat belt brackets if you have such. As final touch I refitted the old pieces of cloth as they were. I suppose they give some vibration and sound dampening. Don’t forget the small rubber pieces which acts as spacers. Done.

  • Protect the cloth, also see fold on leather
  • Glue carefully on cloth and folder leather
  • Let glue dry under pressure
  • Glue the leather and the inside of the MBZ Ponton B-pillar cover
  • Fold the leather into the glue
  • Final result of leather on MB 219 centre pillar
  • The old cloth pieces glued back onto MB Ponton B-pillar
  • Comparison of the old and new cover on the W105 B-pillar