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Interior1.jpg (41552 bytes)The dashboard looked very similar to that of the saloon car models. The 280 SL was more aimed at cruising along the autobahn or driving around the city than at being a sports car. The interior was finished with vinyl (standard) or leather (optional) upholstery and carpeting in a corresponding colour. Remarkable was the use of wood veneer on the console between the chairs and on top of the dashboard behind the windscreen. These remnants of the past looked a bit out of place in this otherwise clean-cut sports car.
Compared to the somewhat complicated dash of the 190 SL this one is a wonder of simplicity; logically and ergonomically placed controls replaced the vast array of switches and knobs.

Interior2.jpg (39622 bytes)An inside look into the two seater model. There was also a 2+2 which had an additional small row of seats behind the front seats. Only small children could sit there because of the lack of leg room.
The front seats were ergonomically formed bucket seats. The frame of the front window was strengthened so it could do as an roll-over bar, but only in combination with a fitted hardtop. The Pagoda-style hardtop was a patented design by Béla Barényi (head of Mercedes-Benz development at the time) and could endure a 1,000 kg load without deforming.

Topdown.jpg (19528 bytes)The folding roof disappeared completely into the boot and was covered by a metal lid. The 2+2 version didn't have the folding roof, the extra space that was created by that was taken up by the extra row of seats. If you had the 2+2, you had to be pretty sure about the weather when taking the hardtop off because you couldn't take it with you. The back rest of the 2+2 could be folded down to create more luggage space.
Oddly enough the the convertible top was more aerodynamic than the hardtop. The difference in top speed between a 280 SL with hardtop and one with the convertible top up was about 4 kph... in favor of the one with convertible top.

Continue the tour by clicking the arrows pointing right....

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