In an effort to preserve as much originality on my B as I can while still maintaining show car quality, I've started refurbishing and revamping my original interior panels. Unfortunately most of my original panels have warped because of the poor quality Masonite boards they're made on. However, the vinyl covers themselves were in exceptional condition, the original bright red vinyl cleaned up very well with no visible rips or scars on the surface.
I decided I would try making new panel boards out of a better quality water resistant panel board and reuse the original vinyl covers. If it doesn't work, I can easily match the vinyl and just make new covers all together.
Luckily the old covers and foam came off fairly easily and fully intact. Here you can see how simply they were trimmed from the factory, a thin strip of black vinyl binding was used to create a smooth clean edge where the pleats meet the piping, softened by 1/8" poly foam underneath all the vinyl - including the lower sections of the doors. The use of foam on the lower 2/3's of these panels is one detail I know many aftermarket kit manufacturers get wrong these days. It was also done on the rear 1/4 panels as well.
Here you can see one of my new panels trimmed with the original cover on the left, compared to the one that still needs to be revamped on the right. The most crucial part of this process is making sure the original holes for all the hardware lines up again. Check once, check twice and check again!
Here are some pics of the original rear 1/4 panels before they receive the same treatment, notice how deep the notch in the panel is for the piping!
All the front panels - no foam was used on these ones - or the rear back panel.
Well there you have it, I'm really looking forward to re-installing the interior of this car.
It will be one of the only ones out there with virtually all new/old stock carpets, all the correct rubber mats that aren't damaged or faded, the original vinyl panels re-vamped, and the original seats revamped with new leather in the correct bright shade of red in the correct grain.
Plus, the original red tonneau and boot covers, and a new top from Prestige using they're factory original patterns. I'm still debating whether to have a black top or a grey top. Grey was still an option for O.E.White cars in early 1964, Opinions??
Until next time -
I reassembled the brake master cylinder this week, after a good cleaning, a light hone of the inner cylinder and then re-plating the outer body in silver cad. I purchased a new rebuild kit and put everything back together wet with fresh brake fluid. Then bolted the cylinder up to the pedal box beside the new clutch master cylinder already bolted in place. I even added the correct early metal caps, putting them on with a tiny bit of grease in the threads to prevent them from seizing shut, and a new rubber seal between the pedal box and cover assembly.
I also received my new old stock oil cooler in the mail this week to replace my original one that broke. I was very happy to find one of these early originals with the rounded ends!
This weekend I got into several components of my interior.
I started remaking some of the interior panels by carefully removing the original vinyl covers from the old warped panel boards. I then cut new panels out of moisture proof panel board and re-trimmed the original vinyl onto the new boards - making sure of course that all the original screw holes are in the right spots again!
I decided to try out some of the replacement rubber sill covers that Moss still offers. After reading so many mixed reviews on them I was pleasantly surprised to find that they were almost exactly like the originals. The only issue being that they're missing one of the tread lines and they only come in black.
I found a good matching vinyl/rubber dye from SEM and sprayed them as well as all my original floor mats.
The colour (firethorn red) was an exact match to the original, I even masked and touched in the black areas too with satin black SEM coat. They came out looking brand new - I'm quite pleased with the results.
In other news, I got into refurbishing one of my original leather seats a few weeks ago. I carefully removed the old covers and cleaned them thoroughly. After careful inspection, and several weeks of thought, I've decided I just can't bring myself to re-use the old covers as I had hoped. The cracks through the leather are too deep and too many, I don't feel confident that these covers will last another year of regular use. They have shrunk and unfortunately gone brittle in many areas. Plus when I tried to re-glue the cushion centers back to where they used to be, it put heavy stress wrinkles in other parts of the cover because they've spent so many years shrinking in an unglued state.
With the high standard to which I'm restoring everything else on this car, they just don't make sense to re-use...So,
I've decided that I'm going to make a new set of seat covers myself in house. I've sourced a hyde of perfectly matching leather in the right shade and the correct grain. I'm going to carefully unpick the stitching and re-use the original vinyl and carpet back pieces so they match the rest of the interior. I've ordered in enough matching cream piping to do the job as well as a new pair of seat diaphragms . My original molded seat foams are still in beautiful shape, the new ones I've seen aren't nearly as soft and comfortable as these originals so I'll definitely re-use them too.
I have a few months yet before the car will be ready for seats so it's a project I'll make time for as the weeks allow...
Until next -
For today's post I thought I'd share some of my work on this beautiful 1965 VW 21 window bus. This bus just had all of it's metal and paint work done by Coachwerks here in Victoria and they've done another outstanding job!
I've been charged with doing all the interior trim work. I started with the seats, stripping them down and re-trimming them in the correct original grey mesh vinyl.
Starting with the front drivers seat,
Then the front passenger seat,
And the rear bench seats,
Next was the big job of installing all the perforated vinyl headliner and trimming it around all the windows...
There's lots more to come over the next several months as this beautiful bus takes shape. I'll be back to install the big folding sunroof and all the rest of the interior components in time so stay tuned -
I thought I would share a little bit of research I've been doing on the evolution of the various different Smiths heater labels that were used on early MGB's. Unfortunately there currently only seems to be 2 of these variations available on the market today, however maybe this research will lead to some other variations being produced at least small scale for those who seek them.
The first incarnation seems to be the metal plates for both the Caution label and another for the model spec info - these are being sold by a few manufactures as correct for "early MGB" - however I have yet to see any MGB with these plates on originally. They were however used on the MGA's and it's worth noting the exact text and arrangement on these plates - the caution label refers to "freezing" conditions and is only 4 lines long in text under the Caution. The Smiths label says "manufactured in england" and has little rectangular boxes for the actual code numbers to be stamped in.
The next style of these labels that I have clearly seen on all original early MGB's up to mid 1964 is this printed style of lettering that is printed directly onto the painted black surface of the heater. It's not a sticker - it's printed lettering most likely done with a dry transfer that is burnished on.
The Smiths label in white says "manufactured in england" again, has the little boxes around the code numbers, and says "heater" under the smiths logo - just like the plate.
The caution label in red is now spread to 5 lines of text under the caution, speaks of "winter conditions" instead of freezing conditions now. The faded one on the right is from my car from February 1964 and is identical to the left one from 63
This style of printed lettering continued through 1964 however somewhere along the way was slightly altered. The pic below is from a late 64 car and the text has changed just slightly to now say "made in uk" instead of "made in england" - this is the best shot I have yet of this original style of printed lettering and shows the code numbers clearly -
This printed lettering lasted until sometime in 65 when it was replaced by a pair of stickers. These stickers are readily available today and what most MGB restorers have been using as standard on even the early earlier cars. You can see that the word "heater" has been dropped, so too have the little rectangles around the code numbers. The numbers themselves have changed too (perhaps the heaters are a different model?)
The Caution sticker now has 5 lines of text and speaks of "freezing conditions" rather than "winter".
So there you have it, the evolution of these heater labels on the earlier cars. I know that there were even further changes to the logo's on later cars too, but that's for another article some day. I am currently working on making accurate artwork for the earlier printed style of labels that were found on my 64. When it's done I'm going to have it made into dry transfers that can be burnished on. Perhaps I'll get a few sets made for anyone else who really wants the correct labels on their early heater.
Until next time -
Another great week of progress both at work and on the MGB. I was reading up on some interesting details I found on earlymgb.com
I learned that early MGB's exported to Canada were given a BMC grill rosette!
Upon seeing the pic I remembered that I actually have one that my Dad gave to me when I was a little kid. I've had it in a drawer my whole life and not realized that it actually probably came from an MGB grill! (our daily family car in the early 80's was a Mk1 MGB-GT - maybe from that?)
I've never been a big fan of filling up a grill with emblem's etc, but this one I might just have to ad - for authenticity sake! ;)
Speaking of authenticity, I am very pleased to say that I solved my carpet issue! I have searched the planet for a source for the correct type of loop pile molded carpet that was found in these early MGB's and unfortunately no one makes the right stuff.
My original carpet was actually in beautiful shape! totally reusable except for the main tunnel section that had a big glaring section in the middle where the carpet has worn through from peoples elbows.
I was going to have to settle on an expensive new carpet set that was at least molded, but in cut pile with rows only sort of like the original.
Then one night last week I was surfing e-bay and I found it; - a new/old stock section of red carpet still in its original BMC box, the tunnel section only!
Best part is I got it for only about $80 CAD - problem solved! I still can't believe I found this, sitting on a shelf in England for 50yrs just waiting to complete my beautiful original carpet set! A bit of steam will help relieve the creases and get it looking right again.
I also put together a few sub assemblies in the evenings that I'd already restored all the components for like, the Radiator and rad shroud assembly and the engine mounts...
On Saturday I picked up a few odds and ends from Craig at Hunter Classic in the morning and then proceeded to work on adding some details to my freshly painted engine..
I also unbolted the gearbox so that I can hand that off to be properly serviced/inspected by a professional.
I wanted to get a look inside at the clutch because there seemed to be some oil dripping from that area which could be from a leaky rear seal.
As it turned out there was evidence of oil being sprayed around the inner bell housing but not enough to cause any slipping of the clutch.
These early 3 main bearing engines have a reverse scroll rear seal instead of the rubber seals used on later cars. How do I stop oil leaking from the scroll seal? anyone have any suggestions? Is a bit of oil leaking unavoidable?
Until next time -
For today's post I thought I'd show the interior trim work I did for this '58 AC Aceca. This was one of the first cars I did for Rudi and Company when I arrived on the island a few years ago. The Aceca was always a rare favorite of mine since the first time I saw one at an Auto show as a kid. It was one of the first hatchback designs in history. The Aceca was basically a coupe version of the AC Ace - of which the Cobra was also later based on.
AC only produced 151 Acecas and 169 Aceca-Bristols between 1954-1963 (the difference being either AC or Bristol produced 6 cyl. engines).
Being the rare car that it is of course I had to make everything from scratch.
Luckily I had all of the original trim for this car to study and make accurate patterns from...
The seats were a unique design used on these cars, it's pretty much the same design as was also used in the Ace and the later Cobra models.
Here is my installation work on the Aceca, starting with the wool cloth headliner, followed by all the leather details, carpets, panels and trim. Rudi and Company completed the restoration of the car, Coachwerks handled the body and paint. Together the car came out looking absolutely stunning!
Until next time -
Classic auto enthusiast, upholsterer, coach trimmer, and fine scale modeler.