W108 – Hat Shelf Speakers

Something bugged me about the hat shelf on my 280SE from the time I first saw it: someone had cut in to the shelf (and its trim) to install a pair of inexpensive modern 6.5″ speakers. They  weren’t in keeping with the era of the car, and added a distracting, cheap, look to the rear hat shelf area. I wasn’t sure which attribute was more disturbing, the modern look, or the $4.99 speaker that was put in.

The original (rear) speaker options for the 108 were either one central 3×10, or two 3x10s spread apart, closer to the rear window (the knockouts are visible from within the trunk). The car was delivered with a mono Becker radio, with sound coming from one centrally-mounted dash speaker, which was also discarded in favor of a pair of 3″ speakers–at least they were hidden beneath the stock dash grille.

My eventual plan is to have a four speaker system, powered by an updated vintage Becker Europa II with stereo sound, and an iPod input from Becker Auto Sound in NJ and a few other items to make it all work (the Becker puts out about 4.2 amps or something, so it doesn’t have enough power to feed four modern speakers). I decided to re-trim my rear shelf and re-mount the existing speakers below the new trim liner.

What I did:

1) Remove rear seat–simple enough, really.

2) Remove rear shelf trim (two nuts, plus removing/unplugging the speakers)

3) Re-trim the rear shelf (I went with a color that matched my seating surfaces, vs matching the underfoot carpet color)

4) Reinstall the speakers “from below”

5) Reinstall rear shelf trim, now with no big holes in it.

6) Replace rear seat and add period correct speaker grilles.

The End Result: I found a pair of original 3×10 speaker grilles, which are now properly situated, and which have the right look for optional audio upgrades in the early 70s. The actual sound will come through the big holes that were cut, and through the new trim material without anyone knowing that the speakers aren’t actually 3x10s under the old grilles.