Date registered: Jan 2007
Vehicle: 1968 250SL; 1970 280SE 3.5 Cabriolet (EURO Version); 1987 560SL
Location: Atlanta, GA
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Quoted: 3 Post(s)
I know this is an old thread, but very interesting to read! I have some insight on the conversions, as I knew a couple of MB owners back in the late 1980's that owned 3.5 conversion models in Los Angeles. Both were done properly and one couldn't tell the difference! At that time, all the reinforcement plates, boot "bucket", quarter panels, trunk lid, top frame, etc. were all available from MB at a reasonable cost. With the exception of replacing the side rails (which were welded with reinforcements), all the correct parts were added or switched out. Even in the 1980's, the conversion was around $15-$20K, but it still was cheaper than obtaining a true 3.5 Cabrio. The mystique of a owning a 5 seat Cabrio had been gone since 1971 (until the 300E model in the early 1990's). Quality conversions were more in demand at that time.
Unfortunately, there are many bad conversions out there! One can see the improper gap between the top and trunk lid; incorrect backseat; wrong trunk hinges; lack of under dash lights and glove box map light (only available on cabrios); incorrect tops and window gaps; AND THIS IS JUST SOME OF THE ERRORS BEFORE THE MOST IMPORTANT - CHASSIS REINFORCEMENTS.
I think at this point, it's a shame to convert a nice original coupe, since one can't even obtain the parts anymore (unless they are obtained from a front end wreck). But, I do think that owning a conversion that was done back in the day may not be so bad if one can verify it was done correctly.
I think authentic W111/112 cabriolets have some cowl shake to begin with....I can only imagine how bad it would be if they weren't reinforced properly!
In summary, I think it would be more prudent to find a conversion that was done properly before destroying another lovely coupe.