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Premium Member 2001 SLK320/2000 SLK230
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Discussion Starter #1
Back when the world and I were young, putting up a top involved opening the trunk, removing a bunch of stuff, and putting together an erector set.

To avoid that cars had tonneau covers to keep rain off the interior. They had snaps to attach and a zipper in the middle so you could just open the drivers seat and keep sun/rain off the groceries in the passenger seat.

Anyone know of a tonneau cover for the R170 ? Imagine today it would use hooks and Velcro. Quick search just produces whole car covers and truck bed covers.
 

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Premium Member
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800 Posts
Woz, search really is your best friend

Those are nice, but I think I want one where I and the wheel are the only things visible. Not feasible with modern airbags, I know, but it does hark back to the MGBs and Midgets and Spitfires of my callow youth.
 

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Premium Member 2001 SLK320
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1,032 Posts
The picture of the red MGA above is the perfect example of a tonneau that works. The water will easily run off.
The curvature across the car helps this too, and to some extent, slope on the road is not too much of a problem.

Post 1960s, with wedge type styling, almost all cars are higher in the area behind the seats than the dash board, meaning when it rains the water will run forward into the dash with worrying results.
Waterproof is not possible, water resistant, maybe.

On top of this, for anything after the MGB and Triumph Spitfire, it takes longer to fit the tonneau cover than simply raise the roof when parked. Roof systems got much better.
This is the problem for the item advertised above. If the roof takes 25 seconds and the tonneau takes much more, how many times will it get used?
So that leaves the main appeal for a full tonneau being to drive solo, top down on cool days with the tonneau providing a cosy warm surroundings. And maybe a cool look too.

Given the very strong heater and the effective draftstoppers on SLKs, the need is reduced.

I had a full tonneau made for my TR7 years ago, and I used it very little. Sometimes fitted when parked on a hot summers day, at a Triumph gathering (to show it off!) and occosionally on solo drives in the cool seasons. But at speed, the thing would still flap, even though it was tight as a drum, especially flapping along the unsecured centreline, and this was quite distracting.

Practicality was low, but the cool look of it was good,

except the look of the car without it fitted is spoiled somewhat if fasteners are needed to be attached to the car.
With the TR I managed to avoid this but some cars I’ve seen have so many press studs riveted to the doors and rear side panels that it just looks messy.
For a R170 there is the opportunity to attach to the roll bars, door handles and underside of the mirrors. So maybe no visible attachments.
 

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Premium Member 2001 SLK320/2000 SLK230
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2,627 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
I had them on Jags and MGs. You seem to miss some of the purpose.
1) Keeping the sun off the interior when parked. Steering wheel and shifter can get quite warm in the Florida sun.
2) Able to leave things on the seat out of sight
3) Papers on passenger seat do not blow out
4) Keeping brief showers out of the sheepskin seat covers. (ever smell a wet sheepdog ?)
5) Bird effluvia is easy to clean (see #4 )
6) People do not use as an ashtray/trash bin.
7) And I just want one.

Keep in mind that since my cars are garaged have gone for whole seasons without ever putting the top up.

ps pleats/channels/rolled edges where appropriate will direct water over the sides.
 

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Premium Member 2001 SLK320
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1,032 Posts
I agree with your comments, I did use mine to keep the sun, debris and prying eyes out of the TR.
It was medium weight vinyl, which was a mistake as it was stiff and bulky. But there’s lots more fabric choice today.
Sounds like you really should make one.
A really interesting small project to do well.
I’d like to see how it turns out and how it looks.
 

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Super Moderator CA 2012 SLK55 AMG w/P30
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11,968 Posts
Before getting too far into this: seeing as there are no SLK covers such as you want, how are you going to handle the roll bars (thinking that you want something like your red pic) ?
 

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Premium Member 2001 SLK320
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1,032 Posts
Some detail ideas to consider or discard,,,,

Sides, magnetic strips sewn in along the door tops, with loops (with velcro hidden) to the door handle and mirror to keep lateral tension.

Rear.
Instead of bags over roll bars, cutouts with neoprene collars like the neck on a divers dry suit.
Not sure how that works with the head restraints though.
Compatable with Windblocker, OEM draftstop, or nothing?

Front. Hooks over the front edge of the facia between it and the glass instead of screwing or rivetting anything into the dash

Middle, a tether under the middle of the zipper on the passenger side edge of the zipper to stop it flapping. Tether pulls down to bottom edge of centre console with a suitable hook.disconnect when parked.
Or sew in a siffener, like the battens in a sail , alone the passenger side of the zip .

Fabric. Mine was stiff with almost no stretch, which probably minimised flapping when on the highway, but showed up any misfit when stopped. There is probably some happy medium between stretchy and not stretchy.
 

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Premium Member 2012 SLK350
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233 Posts
An old thread, but as another thread drifted into this topic, I thought I would repost my comments and answer a question here.

A 'true' tonneau cover would be nice, but I don't see how it could be successfully secured for high-speed driving. My XK120 and 150 had tonneau's and they worked quite well (no inside flapping that I can remember). When I was dating my Lady-to-be, we were driving from Boulder to Denver in the XK150 with the top down. It started to snow and my Lady started to complain that she was getting cold. Not a problem, pulled over and quickly put up the passenger side tonneau and she laid under it. A plus was the heat from the heater actually could be felt (I always tell people that an XK heater only kept itself warm). Please note that the top on XK150 was a cleverly designed piece meant to frustrate any driver in a hurry to put it up.

The Jags used a combination of treaded studs and flat snaps to secure the cover. Magnets would be tricky as no guarantee that they would hold at speed. Making the tonneau to fit over the head rests isn't that big of a challenge (the driver's side in the XKs was fitted for the steering wheel), but would increase cost over a flat tonneau.

In the tonneau thread that was linked into this thread, the slope is important. If the dash is lower than the body behind the seats, that is a problem with water flow. Note that any tonneau would need to be removed before the top could be raised (nothing new as it was the same with the Jags).

In all, I do miss having a tonneau. I have parked La Bête leaving the top down but had to remove leaves and other bric-à-brac afterwards. That is something you don't do if you have a tonneau. Chances of intermediate light sprinkles/showers are handled with a tonneau. As also pointed out in the other thread, the speed/ease of putting the top up does mitigate the need for a tonneau. I do think about the wear-n-tear on the top system given the number of times I operate the top (daily on most days in spring and fall, less in summer and winter).

I do feel a tonneau looks sharp on a sports car. It is what I grew up with and no OTS was complete without one. In my eyes, La Bête looks a bit naked without one.
Padgett responded with:

Did you have a drophead ? I had a 150s roadster and as I recall the top just pulled out and up from behind the seats, not like the erector set in my MGA. Do agree the heater made it "less cold".

The tonneau cover had snaps and a zipper but suspect Velcro could work as well. Since it extended under the base of the windshield it did not get much wind even "at speed".
I had an OTS. Remember, to raise the top you had to:
-release the arms holding the tonneau extension to fold it back towards the boot, swing the top out from behind the seats, then engage the bar sewn into the bottom edge of the top into the two hooks that were in-front of the boot lid.
-The left and right supports that the top swung on were hinged and very loose and you needed to make sure the hinges were pressed back. When pressure was applied straight down and the top pulled forward, they needed to lock back instead of collapsing forward.
-A good top was very tight and this was the tricky part. You needed to keep tension on the top so the support hinges would stay locked back. You had to press the top forward and down to get the two locks on the front of the top aligned in the holes in the windscreen.
-The locks were bayonet style (on the top) and hole in the windscreen had the bar set inside that the slot in the bayonet had to align before it could be closed. The slot acted as cam and you had to keep pressing to allow the bayonet to rotate on the bar to engage the closed position. Best was pressing with one hand on the center of front edge of the top as the other hand maneuvered the nearside lock into the hole.
-As the front of the top could (and did) move left and right and the tension created resistance to closing all the way, you had to maneuver the lock into alignment as you pressed down on the top. If you could get the first lever to rotate and close the lock, then you just nipped over to the other side and had to press that lock into place (there was some tension and wiggle movement in the top) and rotate the second lever.

In all, some arm strength and arm length was handy. My Lady found it a challenge to do the multiple tasks simultaneously. One reason she never liked to drive the Jags.

The top on the DHC was much simpler. The top frame was significantly more rigid, had springs to assist opening and closing, was already attached at the back to the body. All you needed to do was pull the front of the top up and forward. The locks were toggle style (like on a suitcase), so all you needed to do was get the paw (it didn't use a ring) onto the hook and then lever the lock (and the top with it) closed. The DHC had three locks, so you did the center lock first (easier to align). I could close a DHC top while sitting in the driver's seat with one hand/arm.

You had to be out of the car to close an OTS top. Two people made it easier.

The OTS had a tonneau. The DHC did not. The DHC did have a fitted cover that went over the top when stowed in the down position.

I used the tonneau on my XK120 and 150 a lot. I feel it would be very handy on an SLK but not really all that necessary given the power top.

Still, I would love to have one. :frown:
 
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