The Mercedes-Benz R107 SL is a three-in-one classic car. It can be a hard top coupe, a top down convertible or a fabric clad roadster. This flexible range of roof arrangements made it a fantastic all season car, built to Mercedes’ high standards giving you comfort no matter which roof formation you choose.
All R107 SLs feature an attractive, single-layer fabric roof made of mohair, with a window made of flexible plastic found at the rear. The fabric roof is supported by steel and aluminium framework that is able to fold neatly into a space behind the cabin area under a deck lid. At the time, the R107 SL was one of the most comfortable roadsters you could buy, and part of the reason for that was its insulating fabric roof.
How to lower an R 107 SL soft top:
Operation of the fabric roof involves using locking handles provided by the factory. To lower the R107 SL’s roof, you must make sure both side windows are lowered, or that both doors are open. Turn the locking lever counter clockwise and move the smaller safety lever downwards. These levers are located in the rear rear on the side of the cabin, behind the front seats. This lever will unlatch the rear bow of the top. Lift the bow to an upright position. Turn the larger locking lever anti clockwise, and the storage compartment cover will open (the locking lever will automatically return to 9 o’clock as you look at it). Raise the cover completely, being careful that it does not contact the top. Then you must lower the sun visors and disengage the front bow locks by inserting a locking handle into the slot on the outer side of each lock, rotate each handle to its inner position. Remove the locking handles and lift the front bow from the windshield header bar. While holding the top by its front and rear bows, slowly guide the top into its storage compartment. As the top is folded, make sure that the frame bow indicated by the arrow pivots to its rearmost position. Ensure that the plastic windows and the soft top material are folded smoothly with no wrinkles and that they are not pinched by the frame. Carefully tuck the lower lip material of the rear bow all around the perimeter of the top into the storage compartment, and ensure that the lip material folds down and inward. To prevent the lower lip from curling upward, make sure that the top material lies flat in the storage compartment. Pay particular attention to the following areas: under rear centre lock, under hinges for storage compartment cover, left and right sides. To flatten the top material, press down with your fingertips. After the top material has been flattened, return the safety lever to 2 o’clock. Close the storage compartment cover, engaging both locks by pushing down firmly on each side of the cover. Return the locking lever to 1 o’clock by turning it clockwise.
How to raise an R 107 SL soft top:
Lower windows or open both doors before raising the soft top. Lower the sun visors. Turn the locking lever counterclockwise to 7 o’clock. It will automatically return to position 9 o’clock, and the storage compartment cover will open. Lift the cover to its upright position. Holding the top by the front bow, pull the top out of the storage compartment, unfolding it forward to meet the windshield header bar. Position the front bow locks to their corresponding attachment points on the windshield header bar. Insert a locking handle into the slot on the inner side of each lock. While firmly pulling downward on the front bow, rotate each handle to its outer position. Remove the locking handles. Ensure that the safety lever is at 1 o’clock. Lift the rear bow into an upright position and close the storage compartment cover, being careful that it does not contact the top. Make sure that the cover locks engage by pushing down firmly on each side of the cover. Lower the rear bow, inserting the rear bow locking pin into the latching hole. Push down on the rear bow until the locking pin is latched. Turn the locking lever clockwise to 1 o’clock to lock the rear bow. The soft top is now raised and fully locked.
How to keep your R 107 SL fabric roof in great condition:
When it comes to maintenance, ensure all bolts and fixing are tight, and that the packer plastic washers are not worn. You must also make sure the support cables are not broken. Never lubricate the folding mechanism as this causes bleeding onto the fabric. Always keep your roof and the plastic rear window dry and clean, and never use strong detergents to clean the fabric.
Every R107 SL was also provided with a sturdy hardtop made of steel and glass, and trimmed with beautiful chromework. Most were painted in the body colour, but some were finished in a contrasting shade at the behest of the original owner.
The R107 SL’s hardtop fits over the fabric roof and provides even greater insulation for occupants, helping keep you warm and dry, even in winter months.
How to remove an R 107 SL hard top:
Lower windows or open both doors before removing hardtop. Prepare a clean place to set down the top prior to removing it from the vehicle. Open the flap on the right side of the rear compartment. Disconnect and pullout the plug for the heated rear window, then close the flap. Disengage the rear bow locking pin by turning the locking lever counter-clockwise to position 9 o’clock, then turn the safety lever to 5 o’clock.
To disengage the side locks, insert a locking handle into the slot from the front of each lock. Rotate each handle to its rear stop. Remove the locking handles. If the cap on a side lock pops off while the lock is being released, realign it and push down until it snaps into place. Lower the sun visors and disengage the front bow locks by inserting a locking handle into the slot from the outer side of each lock. Rotate each handle to its inner position. Remove the locking handles. With one person lifting at each side, carefully raise the rear of the top, removing the locking pin from its attachment point. Then lift the front of the top, checking to see that the front and side locks are clear of their attachment points. Remove the top by carefully lifting and then carrying it over the rear of the vehicle, ensuring that the rear bow clears the high-mounted stop lamp. Watch that the plug for the heated rear window does not get caught when removing or replacing the hardtop from the vehicle. To avoid rattles, turn the locking lever clockwise to 1 o’clock, and return the safety lever to the same position.
How to refit an R 107 SL hard top:
Lower both side windows or open both doors before replacing the hardtop. Turn the locking lever counter-clockwise to 9 o’clock. Make sure that the safety lever is at 1 o’clock. After that, make sure the sun visors are lowered. With one person supporting the top on each side, carefully lift the top into position on the vehicle ensuring that the rear bow clears the high-mounted stop lamp. Insert the rear bow locking pin of the top into the latch hole. When the rear bow lock has engaged, align the front and side locks with their corresponding attachment points and lower the top slowly, guiding the cable for the heated rear window into the rear of the passenger compartment. Apply gentle downward pressure on the top to engage the front bow locks, insert a locking handle into the slot on the inner side of each lock. Rotate each handle to its outer position. Remove the locking handles. To engage the side locks, insert a locking handle into the slot from the rear of each lock. Rotate each handle to its forward stop. Remove the locking handles. If the cap on a side lock pops off while the lock is being engaged, realign it and push down until it snaps into place.
How to keep your R 107 SL hardtop in great condition
When not in use, store your vehicle’s hardtop on a correct support stand. Ensure the hardtop’s rubber seals are kept clean and are not perished or cracked, which can lead to water ingress and annoying whistling sounds when you’re on the move, as air finds its way past the seals.