Sun visors, straps etc (81)
Restored and mounted sun visors with a 1079 Roser red thumb grip insert made of vinyl
The sun visors should, as stated under the Sliding roof-section, have the same cloth material as the headliner of a none-sunroof car. In my case the fabric is probably wrong due to the problems I had with the supplier of the headliner… Naja, I'm very satisfied anyway. As a protection there is a thumb grip insert made of vinyl in the same color as the rest of the interior. Can be worth mentioning that it was the guy who did the sliding roof who also did these.
See also the article Webasto sliding roof about the wind deflector - it also shades the sun :).
Straps, handles, Halteschlaufe or whatever you want to call it, is regarded as a difficult item. Finding new, or used in good condition, for a "decent" price seems to be as impossible, if at all. I haven’t done a huge amount of searching for these straps but the ones I’ve seen, leather or cloth, were all more or less falling apart. I assume that restoring the cloth version of the straps is the most difficult one. I haven't seen any description on how to do that or seen any result of such an activity. The leather version, which I “luckily” have after changing my interior from cloth to leather, is "easier" to restore if you find a decent one and also to reproduce. But I’ve seen some reproductions on eBay and – according to me - they look awful compared to the original, very delicate straps. They are also very expensive, especially if you compare to what you get.
Reproduced Mercedes-Benz Ponton leather straps
From the beginning I was told that, in a none-220a/S/SE Ponton with leather interior, the straps should be made of cloth and their color adapted to the headliner material since it is mounted above the part of the B-pillar that is covered with leather. But I was not sure about this and couldn’t find any evidence of it. On the contrary, googling for 180/190/219 with leather interiors revealed the same strap that the more expensive Pontons had. Also, discussions on the International Ponton Group's mailing list on Yahoo pointed in that direction. Note, that there seems to be several versions of these leather straps, I am only referring to the type of straps that I’ve found in Pontons of similar age as mine, from 1956/57. Pontons with "MB Tex" vinyl interior may be different as well.
So, now I knew what I needed to reproduce, but how? For that I needed an old, original strap to take apart. On eBay they were, as I’ve already written, extremely expensive even if they were in a very bad shape. The International Ponton Group rescued me again and I received a pair of straps, originally in 1079 “Roser” red and coming from a 219 -57, from mr Apel. Many, many thanks! As you can see in the pictures, they are “slightly” discolored after all these years but that wasn’t a problem for my purposes. Since, I’m not the only one looking for these straps, the deal is that I am to forward these straps to mr "Starhunter" in Germany for further investigation and new-production of them.
A link to a Youtube video showing how to make your own Spanish ring knots
The first step was to find someone who could make the straps for me. Talking to a number of saddlers etc in order to get references and make “interviews” with those who were interested took some time. Finally I settled for Sadelmakarmästarna on Östermalm in Stockholm which was recommended by one of the best car saddlers in Stockholm. Sadelmakarmästarna have been in the business since 1899 and could show me the most exquisite leather works with wonderful details from a wide range of applications, from exclusive saddles and whips to bags, door handles, chairs and handrails. On these items you'll find a lot of knots which I would say is the typical feature of the Ponton strap. On top of that I got along very well with my contact, David. Knowledgeable and professional and I trusted him from the first minute. On top of that, he seemed to stand my personality, being verrry meticulous :-) David also taught me that the knot is called "Spanish ring knot". The work took some time but I was worth it.
The first gallery shows my original cloth straps, some examples of original leather straps from coupés/cabriolets as well as some base measurements I got from IPOG’s mr Kuster who has helped me a lot with information and pictures from his 219 -57 with leather interior.
The next gallery shows the disassembly of one of the original leather straps thereby revealing how it was constructed. Beside some smaller comments I let the pictures speak for themselves. Since I’m not a saddler I would probably say the wrong things…
Note, above you will only find the first seven pictures from the disassembly. If you’re interested in more detail pictures, click on “More straps pictures”.
When it came to the making of the new straps we of course stumbled upon some issues. I had planned to use the leather hides I’d bought from GAHH. Unfortunately, the leather as well as the dye/paint were too rough/hard for this application. The dye was also too thick and hard for David to be able to skive the leather to the desirable thickness, especially for the knot.
Instead we tried to dye a piece of high-quality leather from David. The coloring was made by a well reputed leather dyeing company in Sweden (actually a global franchise). Unfortunately, the color didn’t withstand being softened with water and subject to the harsh processing required for making the knot. The only option left was to find a small piece of quality leather in 1079 “Roser red". It took me some time to find a German reseller/saddler whose minimum quantity was not a whole or half hide of leather. Once again it was Holger Merker Autosattler in Hamburg, the saddler who had been most helpful with my assembly of the Webasto sliding roof, who came to my help. (when comparing his leather, both touch and looks, with the GAHH leather, what a difference in quality… Well, you get what you pay for and I don’t think I would have been able to afford the whole interior in such a fine leather as mr Merker’s).
Below you'll find the first seven pictures from the reproduction. If you’re interested in more detail pictures, click on “More straps pictures” . There you will also see different test straps and test knots that David did during the process. He did a couple of different tests which we discussed and then based the final straps upon.
In the pictures above you can see how thin David made the leather that builds up the knot, it also has a U-profile, being thinner at the edges. In one of the last pictures, in the gallery on the extra page, you can see that he had to place a narrow piece of leather under the knot in order to get it to bulge as the originals. Another thing that can be mentioned is the thread used. The color of the thread should be matched against the leather, in my case color code 1079. The thread material is said to be wool. I am not sure about this though and my saddler voted against it since it wouldn’t hold for sewing such thick materials. So we’re using normal nylon thread.
The final result can be seen in the large pictures in this section, as well as in the extra page with more pictures from the process.
Reproduced Mercedes-Benz Ponton leather straps
The ash trays were taken apart. The trays themselves were only sandblasted on the outside in order to have a good base for the coming paint. The insides were cleaned/“polished” carefully in order not to leave any marks that would be visible after the plating. The “waist bands” were so fragile so that I didn’t dare to do anything else than a careful polish with “POL metal-polish”. “POL” doesn’t contain any abrasive material.
The ash trays' rear panels were taken apart and cleaned/“polished” carefully. The same procedure was followed on the foldable “cigarette plate” as well as the black plated spring holder.
Not much more to say than that everything was handed over to my plating shop which did “white cad” on everything except the spring holders (black plated) and the lids (polished by them and then re-chromed).
Now the parts are awaiting a repaint in “bakelite” color and the final assembly. So stay tuned!
It can be noted that the ashtray in the instrument panel was untouched. It was in a very good shape and only the bakelite was polished in the same way I’ve polished all other bakelite. The same applies to the ash tray brackets that are riveted to the door panels.
Rear view mirrors
In progress, stay tuned!!