Well it's been a long week of hard work, but I'm happy to say things have been going very well with trimming/installing the headliner and top on this rare 1955 Mercedes 300SC Cabrio.
The first days were spent installing the headliner:
The next few days were spent building up and shaping the big foam pad that goes on top of the headliner/under the top to give the top its smooth shape...
The top pad required a lot of hand stitching and shaping to get the right shape and to fill out the finished top properly. After I was happy with it on Friday I finally started fitting the top itself. It was a tight fit, but she's looking really good so far.
Next week I will be continuing my progress on finishing this top. I still have to hand tack the entire rear section of the top to the body of the car, and install the rear glass window and chrome finishing strips. Once the window is in I will also have to finish the inner headliner which has a separate piece for the rear window area hand stitched in place all the way around.
Without question this is the most elaborate and time consuming top I have ever had to fit, in fact everything on this car has been the same story. You just don't see the craftsmanship like Mercedes had on much else. But at the end of the day time, patients and attention to detail are making this job go smoothly and with stunning results. I've become a better trimmer for it, and on a million dollar car such as this - it's well worth it!
Tune in next week when I'll hopefully finish things off with the top and finish installing the rest of the interior components.
ciao for now -
Well here is my next installment, I had a busy week of work which is always good!
To start off I finished a job on a local guys 1969 Ferrari Daytona! He had just had it repainted and wanted to spruce up his interior at the same time. His seats, dash, doors and center console were all still in very good condition so he decided to just have me replace the carpets and redo all the vinyl panels in the car. He even supplied me with the correct Italian long grained vinyl and a new-old stock carpet set in black. I spent much of the week finishing this project. The owner and I were both very pleased with the finished result.
Then on Thursday I got the go ahead to proceed on a big project that I've been diligently working on here and there, on and off for much of the year...
The car that I'm doing is a 1955 Mercedes 300SC - Cabriolet. A rare car, it shared the same engine that the 300SL gullwings had then. They only built 49 of these 300S Cabriolet versions. Cabriolet refers to the big style of fold down top these cars had which included headliner (as opposed to the roadster which had a lighter unpadded top and no headliner)
I started doing this car back in early spring this year. I was able to buy accurate leather seat kits for re-trimming the seats, as well as kits for doing the top. But for all the carpets and all the interior panels I had to buy the raw materials and make from scratch.
So far over the past several months I've been able to finish making and installing all of the carpets -
The rear storage boxes and rear seats that neatly fold down together into a carpeted luggage shelf -
The front seats - even with good kits to use these still took major hours to get done. There is a ton of tedious hand stitching and careful foam work involved on this style of seats. But with patients they turned out like pieces of art - and man are they ever comfortable!
I also managed to make all the new interior panels. The door panels were some of the most elaborate and time consuming pieces I've ever attempted. There is a lot of steps involved making the big padded door pockets with its folding lids, wool cloth on the inside of the pocket boxs and a big pleated panel across the top half of the panels. Nothing beats German engineering! - and in the classic auto world that is so very true!
Anyway, a few months ago I had to halt my progress because the guys restoring the car still had to do a ton of other work first before I could proceed installing panels etc. Some of the work they had to do first included installing all the body chrome. One unique detail found on this car was this extra fine piping that was wrapped around the edges of the body chromes. I was given the task of sourcing some special materials to try and reproduce this super fine piping. I used a paper thin marine vinyl that I glued and sewed around some heavy gauge fishing line! Here you can see some of the black detail piping I made around the edges of the chrome, and below is some heavier standard sized piping (in brown)I made for along the body panel joints. Again - it's all about the details on these old German cars!
I also added new leather to the wood dash pieces and fully re trimmed the glove box compartment. The guys have been working hard to get all of the dash assembly installed in the car so that the windshield and side windows could also be put in...
Now with all the hard work the guys of Rudi and Company have been doing, the dash is in, the body chrome is on, the windshield and all the door glass is in, and I can get going again on finishing the interior and fitting the top. On Friday I was able to get going on installing my newly made door panels to the car...
This next week I will be fitting the big padded top to this Mercedes, and finishing off all the interior panel installation.
In the meantime I have also started on a new model car. I got the new Tamiya 1/24 scale Mercedes 300SL gullwing kit. It's by far the nicest model of these in this scale that I've ever seen. Very well detailed with great decals for all the factory warning stickers and dash gauges. I've so far built up the inner tube frame and chassis pieces with much of the interior. Straight from the box. At this point I'm going to start adding some extra details of my own to give it a bit more accurate detail. Since I'm working around these cars all the time I'd better get it right!
Tune in next week, I'll keep you posted on how it all turns out -
Classic auto enthusiast, upholsterer, coach trimmer, and fine scale modeler.