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Lower Door Cladding deformities

Stevester 500E

Active member
I was wondering if the door claddings were originally shaped the way they appear on older cars?

I am thinking that they get misshaped with the sun's heat over the years. This has always bugged me and either I want to correct them to the original shape or delete them all together. I think the claddings add to the character, but when they are misshaped, I think its a character flaw.

Early w124's didn't have the cladding so I am not opposed to making mine period incorrect. As a matter of fact, the side skirts might even blend better to a non-cladded door. I feel like the skirt is tucked to far under the door.

What type and brand of filler would be the least likely to shrink or crack?



No need to fill anything, the early strips, door and lower door, use the same clip holes. You can go early and replace anytime. However, 036 has specific fender and rear arch shapes and the early type strips may not fit.
Personally I think the car looks odd without the cladding - I'm sure a lot of that has to do with being used to the cladding.

I've seen some of the earliest 124s with perfect cladding, so I don't think the heat deforms it that much at all. It's when the cladding is removed and replaced that the deformities appear.


E500E explorer
As for misshaping, yes they all do over years, regardless of the temperature, but it may go faster in hard heat. I've played with a bad one I have laying around, using a heat gun on it. But it didn't maintain any correction unless I provoked it really hard and held it during the heating, followed by quenching. But it is hard to find a reliable process giving a satisfactory result.

They always colapse, or bend, inwards on the long open areas, so you could put some hard foam or polystyren on the backside to press them out.

My 2 cents..
Last edited:

Stevester 500E

Active member
It does look off without cladding. I think that is part of the character of the car.
The major reason I considered de-cladding is because of the mis-shaped cladding issue.
If you look at one of the pics at the top of this site, the pic of the smoke silver colored car, you can see a pronounced indentation/deformation on the rear door's cladding. It looks like it is sucked in an misshaped. I am sure there is an explanation as to why this happens. I think the plastic clips are very sturdy and the plastic pis are sturd and hold the panel nicely to the door, but with age, the panel wants to shrink and that is where the deformation occurs.

Lexus claddings don't seem to deform. I think maybe the MB cladding has a higher content of clay, not sure. I have been cutting up s500 bumpers for a project and it seems they have a high clay content, but the material is much thicker than the cladding material.