W111 Cabriolet rear seatbelts

I’ve always been a little surprised that my W111 Cabriolet rear seatbelts were lap only.   Mercedes-Benz were such pioneers of safety at the time that it seemed odd that they wouldn’t have fitted lap/sash seatbelts.   It hasn’t been a problem for me as I so rarely had passengers in the rear of the car.

That has started to change as my kids are getting old enough to want to ride in the back of the car.   I wasn’t so keen in a convertible with lap only belts.   I mentioned this when my car was at All Classic Car restorations being repaired from the ‘roo damage.   They said that if I removed the rear seats, they would take a look and were confident they could fit seatbelts.

I took out the rear seat and couldn’t see any obvious seatbelt anchors.   I removed the trim at the bottom of the parcel shelf where the soft top folds.   There was nothing obvious there.   Stranger still, was that there were factory anchors at the bottom, but my current lap belts were not using them.

I went on various forums, Facebook groups and checked pictures of cars for sale.  I found a couple of cars that had been modified during restoration to take inertia reel seatbelts, but as far as I could tell the W111 Cabriolet rear seatbelts were lap only.

On closer examination, my car did have rear anchors for lap/sash seatbelts.   They were covered up by some trim.   On the Cabriolet, there is a bulkhead between the parcel shelf and the rear seat.   On each corner of this bulkhead there was a seatbelt anchor.   They very much looked like factory anchors as this bulkhead section is not accessible from the boot or from the parcel shelf.   Adding the anchors later would have left evidence of cutting and welding into this bulkhead.

W111 Cabriolet rear seatbelts

Incidentally this bulkhead section is one of the many reasons why a coupe shouldn’t be ‘converted’ into a Cabriolet.   Not only is a beautiful coupe being vandalized, but the structures are quite different.

Getting the rear seats in and out of the Cabriolet is much easier than it was on my 450SLC.   Space is cramped on the SLC.   On the Cabriolet, you can mostly open the roof and stand up.   I found the easiest way was to make sure the bottom of the seat was below the level of the armrests and push it towards the bulkhead rather than sliding it down from the top.

W111 Cabriolet rear seatbeltsThe set back illustrates another difference between the coupe and the cabriolet.   The top of the seat back is narrower on the cabriolet to clear the soft top mechanism.

Getting the seat bottom in is fairly straightforward, but don’t assume you need to keep pushing it in to line up.   I had actually pushed it in a little too far on one side.  Pulling it back out 1cm meant the screw slid in no problem.

W111 Cabriolet rear seatbeltsI’m pretty happy with the result.  I now have W111 cabriolet rear seatbelts and I didn’t need to modify the car in any way.   I’m not fussed about not having inertia reel belts as they will not be used often.   But now when my kids ride in the back of the car, I’ll have a lot more peace of mind.

W111 Cabriolet rear seatbelts

3 comments to W111 Cabriolet rear seatbelts

Leave a Reply

You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>