1959 Mercedes-Benz Ponton
220S Cabriolet Wood Removal

Len Sokoloff / len@sokoloff.com

Since Mercedes-Benz Ponton cabriolets were hand built, there may be slight variations in where fasteners are located and how many fasteners are used, but generally, these procedures should apply.

Ponton Cabriolet Wood — Total 15 Pieces

Wood removal can be done by the inexperienced and uninitiated, but as with many jobs, the key is being careful and patient and to ask questions if something doesn't seem right. Expensive mistakes can be made, especially when reinstalling recently refinished wood.

I will take each group of pieces and detail the removal procedure. Please excuse any redundant or obvious-sounding steps, but there may be some using this checklist who are not as skilled as you.


Believe me, when you go to replace the wood, you will be glad that you marked your hardware with its appropriate location, because YOU WILL FORGET. An easy method to mark your hardware is to use masking tape. Just tape over the screws on both sides and use a marker to write where they go. For some chrome trim pieces, you can just tape the hardware right to the chrome it goes with. This is also a good time to remove/replace any rusty hardware.

1. Ashtrays - the two ashtrays in the rear pop out by depressing the small metal tab while rotating the ashtray downward. Remove the wooden top by unscrewing the two small screws. Now might be a good time to also clean up and paint the ashtray and its housing. The housing is held in place by two more screws. I do not recommend that you remove the chrome trim piece from the ashtray housing - the four tabs that hold it on have a tendency to break off if bent too many times. I suggest you also mark which side is up and which is left and right on the ashtray and housing. The front ashtray lifts up and out of the dash and has four screws holding it on.

2. Door armrest pieces - remove any visible screws. There should be one at the front and the rear of the wood and there may be one through the armrest visible from underneath. These screws are very Important because they attach the trim solidly to the metal door frame. Remove the two screws that hold the armrests on the wood and remove the armrests - there may be a screw hidden by the armrests that go through to the doorframe. Remove the piece of wood along the top of the door (see procedure below. Remove all interior door hardware. The window crank escutcheon is spring loaded - push the spring back to make a metal pin visible. Push this pin out and remove the crank, escutcheon and spring. There are two metal tabs about a half inch square that slide off the door lock switch to reveal screws that hold the escutcheon on the locking mechanism. The escutcheon on the door handle just snaps on/off. The handle itself stays on. Remove the chrome trim piece that covers the door striker - attached via two screws. Check the top edge of the door panel - there may be some small screws holding it in place. Slide the door trim panel back out of the chrome channel holding it in place, lift it up and out. Remove the remaining fasteners holding the wood piece on from the rear of the panel. SAVE AND MARK YOUR FASTENERS.

3. Trim pieces on the top of each door- remove the two chrome pieces on the rear of the door - the top piece is held on by three screws, the bottom one is held on by about seven screws. At the front of each piece of wood is a chrome piece anchoring the front of the wood to the door frame by two screws - remove these screws. The wood is now ready to be removed. It is held in place by three clips, all located to the rear of the vent window. Close the vent window and lift/push the wood trim piece up to remove it.

4. Rear trim pieces - accessible through the top well are three screws holding these pieces on. Remove these screws and the wood can be removed. It might be easier to start with the top up and remove as many of the screws as you can. Then put the top only part way down to get to the remaining screws. Remove the chrome trim piece that is attached to the wood after the wood is removed.

5. Windshield trim pieces - very easy to remove. These are held in by four screws.

6. Trim piece for courtesy light - snap out the courtesy light chrome trim piece and unscrew the light housing from wooden piece. Unscrew the two screws holding the wooden piece in place. You may or may not have to disconnect the wires from the courtesy light to maneuver it through the hole in the wood piece.

7. Trim piece for radio speaker - three screws probably hold this piece in place, two screws from underneath screw into the dash and one screw accessible through the clock hole in the dash. Carefully remove the speaker and wire screen with cloth attached - everything Is pretty straight forward. Work slowly and carefully and save and mark all the pieces. There are three triangular metal pieces holding the metal mesh along each side and two or three tiny tacks holding it in along the top and bottom. If you decide to replace the speaker cloth, it is easily scraped off with a razor blade. Reattach the new cloth with a spray adhesive like 3M #77.

8. Dash

Reinstallation Suggestions/Tips

1. Doors - it is now a good time to "clean up" the Inside of your doors, i.e. remove any rust, paint it with a rust preventative, etc. It is also a good time to check your weather-stripping/brush molding to see if it needs replacement. Lube any parts needing it with lithium grease. Be careful when reattaching the nuts that hold the armrest piece on - it is very easy to over tighten the nuts and rip the screw studs out. If this happens, just use a short wood screw and screw it in from the backside using a new pilot hole. Make sure your screw is not too long - you don't want it to go all the way through the wood.

2. Dash - be very careful screwing in the two screws at the A-pillars. If you over tighten them, you can crack the wood on the end. When reinstalling the instrument cluster, attach the oil pressure line and the electrical pigtail before you push the cluster all the way back in. Also check to make sure your gauges are sitting straight in the windows. Don't forget to feed the water temperature line through the firewall and the trip meter through its hole in the dash. Reattach the speedometer cable and the two springs after the cluster is pushed all the way back in place.

3. When reinstalling the radio speaker piece, make sure that you leave enough room for the glove box to open without scratching it.

4. The rest of the reinstallation is (as they say) "the reverse of removal."

5. Use a new seal for the windshield when reinstalling. The chrome trim piece around the windshield is put into place BEFORE the windshield is installed.

Created July 8, 1997
Revision C / August 31, 2013
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