With Christmas behind us, the work has begun! This week I carefully removed and documented all of the B's original interior so that I can prepare her for some metal and paint repairs. In the meantime I'll have the opportunity to go through each piece of the interior trim and clean and refurbish as needed before putting it all back together.
I took careful notes on the materials being used and the details of how it was originally trimmed, keeping track of all original hardware and the order in which things were installed.
The first things to go in are the 1/4" strips of jute underlay that are cut to fit in all the slots of the main floor panels. These were glued in place and because mine are still so well stuck down and fragile, I'm leaving them there.
The next pieces to install are any small bits of vinyl to cover any area's that are not covered by carpet or panels...
Here you can see the red vinyl applied around the handbrake lever and also some small pieces to cover the lower rear lip of both door openings. Note also that the dash and speaker panel would have already been installed before any soft trim.
The next pieces to go in were the 2 rubber sill covers. These are unavailable in any of the original colors except black now. They were glued in place with a bit of overlap onto the floors.
Continuing with some rubber, the always black - rubber starter motor cover is glued in place followed by the 4 uniquely shaped carpet covered toe board panels that go in around it and also on the drivers side.
These footwell carpet panels are all individually sewn with vinyl edging and then trimmed to uniquely shaped panel boards. They are all screwed in place with black metal trim screws and cup washers with 1/4" jute under felt glued to the backside of each panel.
Also to go in was the vinyl covered panel behind the speaker box that the demister vent hoses attach to. This panel is held in place with 4 black panel screws and washers.
Next to go in are the rear wheel arch carpet covers. It needs to be pointed out the style and type of carpet that was used in MGB's, it was an un-backed loop pile carpet. Because of no heavy backing, this carpet was slightly stretchy for applications like these curved wheel arches. The wheel arches were glued directly to the metal on each side as one piece (no sewn seams like modern replacements have) with smaller pieces to cover the shock mounts butted up beside them.
After that goes in the lower rear bulkhead carpet cover. One long piece to cover the entire panel with a 3"wide vinyl strip sewn and glued along the top edge. It was cut flush around the tunnel opening and rear sills with some overlap onto the floors. This piece of carpet had a few types of male ended snaps/fasteners installed for snapping down the tonneau cover and rear deck mat respectively.
Next and so often misunderstood - the main tunnel carpet section. This was made by first applying a 1/2" layer of dense jute to the tunnel and molding it around the shift dome probably by soaking it.
After dry and shaped, the un-backed carpet was glued directly to the jute and moulded to shape in one big piece. No seams, just stretched and glued to shape! it was trimmed around the front and rear edges of the jute as well as around the speaker and handbrake openings to give it a clean look without any binding. The bottom edges along the floors were left about 3" long for overlap. There was also a leather tab riveted in place with a lift-a-dot snap behind the speaker opening.
Next comes the removable rear deck mat. Again like the tunnel, it was a moulded piece of 1/2" jute with the carpet adhered to the top of it. This created a stiff mat that would hold it's shape and fit perfectly without any gaps or overhang. Only the front leading edge was trimmed around the jute to give a clean edge look. It was finished off with 6 carpet snaps as shown.
Next the rear cockpit rail which was black on all cars, it has a bead of contrasting piping along the top edge and is held in place by several sliding studs with nuts and washers accessible through nooks and grannies underneath.
The black vinyl top stowage straps are installed next. Each vinyl strap is sewn with soft white cotton on the inside to protect top and a single snap in each.
The rear bulkhead panel was a flat vinyl trimmed panel riveted in place tightly around the wheel arches with alloy rivets through tiny cup washers.
The rear 1/4 panels were sewn vinyl covers with upper pleats and piping trimmed to masonite hardboards and screwed in place with more blackened screws and cup washers. The fuzzy red door seal pressed onto the door opening and buts up perfectly with the edge of the panels, the sill mats, and the edge of the front kick panes. Here you can see how the top chrome finisher covers the top edge of the seals and screws into the top corner of the panel. These seals are available new through MacGregor trim.
The rear 1/4 panels were finished with the chrome top mounting brackets and the top frame screwed to them with spacers. Each panel had 2 male snaps installed just below the piping for snapping the boot cover down to.
The front kick panels were plain flat vinyl covered panels that fit snug and were screwed in place with more black screws and cup washers.
The doors had a thin black membrane glued over the metal to seal out moisture and then the door panels were screwed in place over top with foam circular pads sandwiched around the window cranks to prevent the panel from denting. The panels were trimmed in vinyl with pleats to match the rear 1/4 panels and again used black screws and cup washers.
The early style door cappings were each a 2 piece assembly and always black. The inner wood shape was trimmed in black vinyl with the outer padded section screwed on from the back with piping in between. They were screwed in place with chrome screws and brackets at each end with brush seals and black piping to fill the gap along the window glass.
Finally the rubber floor mats were installed. These rubber mats are totally unavailable now. The front mats had 1/4" jute glued to the backside and the the mat was held in place with 4 snaps each. The under seat mats were also jute backed and held in place by the seat tracks bolted through black wooden seat runners. These will be carefully cleaned and possibly re-dyed to their original color.
Finally the seats - nothing really new here, leather covers trimmed as so over moulded "dunlopillow" foams. Rubber diaghrams under the foam gave them a comfortable seat. The back rest rake was adjustable by 2 long bolts at the bottom of the squabs. All facings of the seats were leather except for the backs of the squabs which were vinyl with carpet along the bottom 6". The contrasting piping was also vinyl.
These seats as well as the rest of this interior are in such good shape for their age! I plan to clean them up, spruce up the foams and inner pieces and re-use them for as along as I can make them last. A lovely patina for such a pretty car!
Ciao for now!
My 1964 MGB has finally arrived and I've spent the past few days examining the car in every detail to determine what she's going to need to get her ready for the road this summer.
I was pleasantly surprised to find that so much of her was in original and still very good condition...
Original leather seats, no rips, though the stitching is starting to let go in some areas. I plan to carefully remove the covers and repair/reinforce them from the back with extra material to strengthen them and extend their life - and of course add lots of leather conditioner to keep it soft.
The original rubber floor mats (which are totally unavailable) are still all there and intact, a good cleaning will take care of these..
The original carpet is all there and in great shape except for a worn spot on the tunnel from peoples elbows resting.. This original style of unbacked loop carpet that was molded to heavy jute is also unavailable - I'm going to make it last as long as I can until I can find a suitable replacement that I will make and mold myself as original.
The vinyl interior panels are in exceptional condition, except for the inner hardboards have warped badly inside. I plan to carefully remove the original covers and re-trim them to new flat panels that I will make using the originals as patterns. One thing I've noticed that many early B owners get wrong is that the colour of all the interior trim screws & washers were black - not chrome.
The original tonneau cover in it's original stowage bag, the boot cover in it's bag, and of course the 2 piece tonneau bar in it's original bag - all well preserved and in good working order. Also in great condition; the original jack, knock-off hammer and it's original jute bag. All these lovely extras stow in the boot:
The boot is in great shape, no rust issues, just in need of a good cleaning and some paint touch ups. The original black body sealer in the corners will need to be scraped out and new sealer applied. In the end, I may end up giving the boot a re-spray after doing my own initial prep work. Someone has added a switch operated reverse light above the left rear bumper - you can see the added wires for it in the boot. I will be removing this non original accessory in the end.
This is the only real horror story I've found with the car - the rear lower dog legs at the corners of the rear wheel arches have rusted through at the bottoms. I've already purchased new repair sections for these spots that can easily be cut and welded in place to repair these areas. Other than these 2 spots, the rest of the underside and body is in beautiful shape. Someone has sprayed the underside, including the inner wheel arches with thin black undercoating. I plan to get under there and scrape and sand it all smooth, add a good rust proofing and then paint it Old English White again as original.
The front and rear suspension are in fairly good working order. The brakes have been recently done, including new flex lines. The steering is tight, there's no play in the king pins. It's had a new sway bar installed with all new rubbers/bushings. The emergency brake does need some tightening though, and I'm also going to replace the front lower A-arm rubber bushings because they look worn.
As for the heart of the B, she starts right up, and purrs like a kitten. Holds good oil pressure too. There are as many rare and unavailable early details to remark on in the engine bay as there are unfortunate scars and additions..
The original - and unavailable, spark plug wires and caps are still in use and working fine, as is the original coil bracket and the oil cooler hose brackets that are so often removed never to be seen again - these are all unavailable details that are rarely still seen these days.
Unfortunately though, some one has replaced the original starter motor with a new modern looking one that has it's own integral solenoid attached. The old original separate starter solenoid is still in place on the side wall, but the original cloth wiring harness has been badly hacked open in these areas to re-route the wires to the new starter setup. This will take some careful re-working to set back to original spec.
I plan to carefully clean and refurbish each component in the engine bay to original spec over time. Including cleaning and repainting the engine itself.
Here's the other side of the engine bay. The carbs are in good working order, new air filters inside the casings, and she runs with good idle speed too.
She's had a new thermostat, rad hoses & clamps installed, I've ordered some of the original wire hose clamps to replace the ones on there now.
The brake master cylinder has been replaced with a later style one, again I've already found a correct early style one that I will rebuild and install at a later date.
For the most part everything needed is just cosmetic, so I'm quite happy with what I have to work with.
The gearbox may need a replacement lay-gear, though I need an expert opinion on this first. Being an early 3 synchro box with 4 speeds - it has a very noticeable winding noise in 1st gear that quiets down immediately when I shift into any of the higher gears. Is all that noise normal for a non synchro gear?? or is this evidence of a worn lay-gear?
Another neat original detail in the engine bay was this early (and currently unavailable) style of windscreen washer fluid bottle. This older style of Tudor logo was completely changed in 1965, the older logo was never seen again or made available. As you can see mine was badly faded and the bottle was covered in rust stains.
I carefully cleaned and polished the bottle clean again and matched the Tudor blue paint and touched in the faded areas of the logo by hand.
Next I will refurbish the bottle mounting bracket and plate in black as original - the more common later styles had a Tudor blue frame.
All in all, I'm very happy and excited to dig in to this project, I'm calling it a "Sympathetic Restoration" because I don't want to replace or over restore any parts of her that don't need it. All too often the replacement components are inaccurate or don't fit right in one way or another and that would take away from its originality.
Unfortunately she will need some paint work to recover the under areas that need attention, but a fresh new coat of her original Old English White will be good piece of mind for driving in the sometimes wet conditions out here on Vancouver island.
Ciao for now
For today's blog post I thought I'd feature some newer model kits I've built over the past year showing some of the interesting Japanese cars that were coming out in the late 60's to compete with the world market.
The first one I'd like to feature is the 1964 Honda S600. This car was one of the first production cars that Honda produced after having made it's mark on the world as class winning motorcycle producers. This car featured a 606cc, aluminum 4 cyl engine with 4 carburetors and a chain drive system operating the rear wheels. It was small, light and fast, winning first in the under 1000cc class of the Grand prix in 1966. I see a lot of influence from some of the British sportscars of the era - it looks a lot like a Healey Sprite or MG Midget.
The model kit is the Tamiya 1/24scale kit, nicely detailed, full engine detail, chrome metal transfers and decals included. I painted it in traditional red with black interior.
The next car I'd like to show you is the 1968 Mazda Cosmo,
This car was Mazda's first production sports car and featured the first production Wankel engine (rotory engine design) The name cosmo was fitting for the time as the world was watching the technology boom of the space race unfold - the new technology and forward thinking that came with the new Wankel engine seemed a good selling point.
I find the lines of this car to be very reminiscent of other car trends of the time, the enclosed headlights like on an E-type, the long tail and bulging rear window that looks very American..
These cars were quite rare and only a few thousand were produced - by hand, between 67-72.
The model kit I built this from is the Hasegawa 1/24scale kit. Built straight from the box in white with black interior. The kit is very nice with good curbside detail, though no engine.
Lastly I'd like to show you the beautiful and powerful 1968 Toyota 2000GT -
This car was more of a super car when it came out rather than a sports car. It featured a beautiful lightweight body design, similar in it's shape to the famous Ferrari 250GT of the 60's. It had an inline 6cyl engine with twin overhead cams and triple webber carburetors - just like what you'd find in an E-type or Aston Martin of the time.
The interior featured a lot of leather and a polished wood dash and console. These cars were fast, powerful and beautiful. They even had flip up headlights which were just becoming a new trend at the time.
These cars were rare and expensive and the value for one today has skyrocketed into the millions!
I built this model from the Hasegawa 1/24scale kit, and paintd it in original Bellatrix Yellow with black leather interior. Again, it's a nice kit in the same series as the Mazda cosmo - nice detail but no engine.
Well that's it for this week, ciao for now -
Classic auto enthusiast, upholsterer, coach trimmer, and fine scale modeler.