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Thread: Factory Owner's Manual Cases - Leather and Vinyl Comparison

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    E500E Guru a777fan's Avatar
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    Factory Owner's Manual Cases - Leather and Vinyl Comparison

    ADMIN NOTE: This thread was cleaved off of a FOR SALE of a leather Owner's Manual case by Benz. This thread is designed to provide a comparison/contrast of the two types of owner's manual cases offered by MBNA during E500E production. It also applies to other "pedestrian" W124 production during the E500E production years (1990-1995).





    Wow! Real leather at one point? Color me impressed!


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    Re: FS: w124 E500E LEATHER OWNERS MANUAL CASE

    Quote Originally Posted by a777fan View Post
    Wow! Real leather at one point? Color me impressed!


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    Yep, they were all leather until 1992. Itís a nice upgrade to the vinyl cover when you can find them.

    It always makes me laugh when sellers on eBay advertise the vinyl covers as leather.

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    Re: FS: w124 E500E LEATHER OWNERS MANUAL CASE

    Until now, I didn’t realize they weren’t all leather.

    maw

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    Re: FS: w124 E500E LEATHER OWNERS MANUAL CASE

    Quote Originally Posted by maw1124 View Post
    Until now, I didn’t realize they weren’t all leather.

    maw
    Starting in 1993, they went to a vinyl case. It's considerably cheaper than the older ones and does not hold as much stuff. I have around 50 owners manual packs in my collection, and I'll go down to the basement and grab a leather vs. a vinyl and take photos of both, for comparison.

    They switched to a totally different design I'd say around 2000, as I still have 1999 E-class cars with the same vinyl case.

    I've switched all of my MBs over to nice leather cases, as I can't stand the vinyls. They are getting harder to find, and when you see them on eBay (and they are real leather) they can be expensive.

    Cheers,
    Gerry

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    Re: FS: w124 E500E LEATHER OWNERS MANUAL CASE

    Quote Originally Posted by gerryvz View Post
    I'll go down to the basement and grab a leather vs. a vinyl and take photos of both, for comparison.
    Here is a detailed comparison of the two types of owner's manual cases.

    NOTE: All photos below can be clicked for enlargement purposes.

    You will be able to see that the older leather cases were much more expensive to produce, and were more extensive inside, than the newer, cost-reduced vinyl cases. The leather cases were used from the beginning of W124 production (and other chassis models, as well) in 1986, through the end of the 1992 model year. Starting in the 1993 model year, the vinyl cases were used, continuing until the 1999-2000 time period. Prior to the 1986 model year (the summer 1985 beginning of production of the W124 chassis), a clear plastic owner's manual case was used for W116, W123, R107 and W126 models.

    In the following photos below, the vinyl ("pleather" aka "naugahyde") owner's manual case is on top, and the real leather case is on the bottom.

    Vinyl (top) and Leather (bottom) cases, obverse:
    IMG_7786.JPG

    Vinyl (top) and Leather (bottom) cases, reverse:
    IMG_7787.jpg


    Note the detail on the MB star embossed on the front of each case. The vinyl case's star is much sharper and distinct than the embossed star in the leather case.

    MB Star, leather case:
    IMG_7796.JPG

    MB Star, vinyl case:
    IMG_7797.JPG


    Interior fold-out of vinyl (top) and leather (bottom) cases:
    IMG_7788.JPG


    Also, note the four distinct "fold-outs" for documents and booklets supplied with the leather owner's manual cases. The vinyl cases only have a single compartment on each side of the zippered inner compartment.

    Leather case, fold-out pockets:
    IMG_7789.JPG IMG_7790.JPG

    Vinyl (top) and leather (bottom) cases, viewed from above:
    IMG_7794.JPG


    Furthermore, the owner's maintenance manual holder has a large clear window, as opposed to the smaller clear window for the maintenance mileage page of the maintenance booklet. Also note that the leather cases have lettering that details the contents of two of the pockets; the vinyl cases have no notation on the inside of the case.

    Leather case, small maintenance booklet window & internal notations:
    IMG_7791.JPG IMG_7793.JPG

    Vinyl case, single large maintenance booklet window:
    IMG_7792.JPG


    Lastly, the spines of the two case types differ. The vinyl case, on the left of the photo below, has a single stitched "gather" toward the bottom. The leather case on the right has two rivets in the spine, and is made from a single piece of leather.

    IMG_7795.jpg


    I hope this analysis helps.

    Cheers,
    Gerry

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    Re: Factory Owner's Manual Cases - Leather and Vinyl Comparison

    Great info Gerry thanks for the all the details. My 93 (12/92) has the leather case. It is excellent quality.
    1993 Mercedes 500E
    2004 Mercedes E55

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    Re: Factory Owner's Manual Cases - Leather and Vinyl Comparison

    For folks’ information, here are photos of the prior-generation, clear plastic owner’s’ manual pouches used on the 116, 123, 107 and early 126 models up to around the end of model year 1989.

    You can see the star embossed in the top of the plastic, as well as the small pocket on the reverse side used for the metal “data plate” that contained customer data for the service department. These data plates were phased out by the mid-to-late 1980s.






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    Re: Factory Owner's Manual Cases - Leather and Vinyl Comparison

    Quote Originally Posted by gerryvz View Post
    You can see the star embossed in the top of the plastic, as well as the small pocket on the reverse side used for the metal “data plate” that contained customer data for the service department. These data plates were phased out by the mid-to-late 1980s.
    As I mentioned, the metal data plates were phased out by the late 1980s. I don't recall seeing them after about model year 1989.

    Expanding on the previous post, here is an example of a "virgin" data plate and how it was presented to the customer as part of the owner's manual kit.
    IMG_9115.JPG IMG_9116.JPG

    After acceptance of the vehicle by the customer, the metal data plate was generally removed from its' presentation folder, and placed (as shown below) in the small pocket in the back of the clear plastic owner's manual envelope.
    IMG_9118.JPG

    Whenever the vehicle was brought into the dealership for service, the service manager would remove the metal data plate from the owner's manual envelope, and insert it into a machine that would "read" it like an old-school credit card machine did, whereby a roller moved over the face of the plate and imprinted its' information onto a carbon or pressure-sensitive service document.


    IMG_9117.JPG
    The metal data plate contained the following information, and was custom-imprinted for each original customer of the vehicle:

    • Owner's name and home address
    • Trim number
    • Paint code number
    • Selling dealer code number
    • Warranty code (if applicable)
    • Vehicle's delivery date
    • Vehicle model
    • Vehicle VIN and Engine number
    • Owner code
    • Production date


    Hopefully this helps add a bit of information about the pre-E500E-era owner's manual setup and service "data plate" arrangement.

    Cheers,
    Gerry

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    Re: Factory Owner's Manual Cases - Leather and Vinyl Comparison

    Thatís great info. Thank you!

    Such a fascinating little detail that I have never seen any other manufacturer do.

    Does this metal plate have any relation to the data plate found under the hood of our 124s? Iíve always thought that to be a unique feature of MBs and wondered why they felt it necessary to include. The odd holes included in it have always made me wonder if it was mechanically scannable in some way... I really havenít been able to think of any other reason to perforate it in that way.


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    Re: Factory Owner's Manual Cases - Leather and Vinyl Comparison

    The metal plate on the radiator support is an assembly ID plate, and was used during the manufacturing process.

    It contains some of the same information (such as the paint code) as the metal service plate, but otherwise is different.

    Here is the plate on my car:

    IMG_9121.JPG

    The plate has both the external paint code and the upholstery color code, as well as the type of vehicle it is, and a sub-set of the option codes (not all of them). The "M" stands for metallic paint.

    There are other numbers that are production related. I do believe the holes are scannable by laser and were used during the production process to properly route the vehicle in the MB factory production line for body shell manufacturing.

    Cheers,
    Gerry

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    Re: Factory Owner's Manual Cases - Leather and Vinyl Comparison

    Here are a couple of additional examples of factory service department metal data plates. These are from the GVZ archives.

    • One is from a 300SEL 6.3 (W109, delivered in 1970)
    • The other is from a 420SEL (W126, delivered in 1988)


    IMG_9126.JPG

    So, you can see, MB used these service data plates for more than 20 years before abolishing them in around 1989.

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