The Mercedes SL with model code R129, produced from 1989 to 2001, featured a retractable roof known as the Vario Roof. The Vario Roof was a innovation at the time, offering a convertible with the added flexibility of a retractable hardtop.
It was intended for the roof mechanism to be totally automated and controllable through a button. The car resembled a coupe when the roof was closed, with a solid roof serving as insulation and security. The SL could be converted into an open-top convertible by retracting the roof when the weather was good.
Multiple panels composed of lightweight materials like aluminum and composites made up the Vario Roof. When the roof was open, these panels were kept in the trunk. The panels were folded, stacked on top of one another, and then neatly placed in the trunk area during the retracting operation.
The precise engineering of the roof mechanism ensures a seamless and trouble-free functioning. The roof panels' movement was managed by hydraulic actuators that were powered by an electric pump. The opening and closing of the roof each took about 30 seconds.
The Vario Roof on the R129 SL offered a number of benefits over conventional soft-top convertibles. Compared to fabric roofs, it provided better insulation from outside noise and weather. The hardtop's design also improved the car's general security.
Another very interesting and rare extra for this car model was the panoramic hardtop. The upper part of the standard hardtop between the pillars was glass with a retractable blind. This type of hardtop is very common in the UK due to the weather and nowadays this rare version of the roof is very much fitted by all enthusiasts of this model.
Roof parts for R129, Mercedes SL class
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