Last month I had the pleasure of trimming this beautiful 1953 Jaguar XK120 FHC (fixed head coupe) for a local client from Duncan - Garth Taylor.
Garth inherited the car in pieces from his late father who had owned the car since 1960. Garth had many fond memories of it from his childhood growing up. The car was owned and loved by his family for decades when his father began a full restoration of it in the mid 1990's.
When Garth inherited the project a year and a half ago, it was still apart and mostly in boxes with some pieces missing.
Garth had Alan Simpson restore the car back to its former glory while Merritt restoration did the paint. When it was ready to install the interior, Garth contacted me. He had already purchased interior kits from BAS (my former employer years ago) and needed someone with experience in the marque to assemble and install everything.
While I have lots of experience producing all the interior kit components for these in the past, and I've completely installed interiors on several XK120 roadsters in the past, the FHC was a much rarer breed.
In fact of the 12,000 or so XK120's made, only 2672 were FHC's - this would be my first time fully trimming one - and there were lots of pieces missing!
To start with I had to find and assemble a new inner wood tack strip assembly for securing the rear headliner in the cockpit. Luckily we found these components through a private dealer on E-bay. These consisted of several specifically shaped pieces of birch plywood riveted together with the body and aluminum trim strips. The wool headliner and steel headliner bows would secure to these wood tacks in specific locations...
I also had to completely fabricate all the rear storage box assembly from scratch based on photos of what it should be. All the original wood structure was long gone, but I was lucky to find enough good pics to make it all new again...
Here you can see it all coming together with the grey wool headliner and burl-wood trim around the windows now being installed too...
The rear storage box & battery access on the FHC was quite the tricky assembly! - all hinged wood panels neatly trimmed in vinyl with grey wool-cloth on the inside as original...
Here is the front carpets and kick panels going in, complete with the proper Moquette covered J-rubber door seals...
The completed door panels are installed with fresh vapor barrier behind them, and the burl-wood capping pieces and chrome hardware...
The Hardura boot floor mat and the boot lid panel were installed too -
With the interior nearing completion, it was time to restore the unique curve back seats.
I started by cleaning up and re-painting the seat frames and hardware.
Then I proceeded to fully trim the seats with all new foams, leather covers, hardboard trim panels in vinyl, and new Moquette on the backs... Creating the right amount of curve in the backrest profile on these is crucial...
With the seats all finished, I lightly greased the tracks and bolted them in the car to finish things off.
The owner still had some mechanical & electrical work left to do before the dash could be completely installed and finished, but aside from that this interior is now complete - and what a stunning addition it makes!
Jobs like this are always such a joy to do! This beautiful Jaguar has been a part of Garth's family for generations, I feel honored to be a part of its continued legacy and history. It's the history and stories that come with owning these cars that make my job feel so deeply gratifying!
Until next time -
It's been a busy month of May for Rightway Heritage Trimming!
To start with, I moved into a new shop in the Highlands area of Victoria BC. Just off of Munn Rd on Rolla place, I'm all set up in my new shop with much more room to finally be able to take in customers cars for "in house" upholstery work.
I also had a table set up at the OECC restoration Fair at Heritage Acres on May 6th. With our sign set up and '64 MGB parked in front as a shining example of what we do, we met lot's of new and familiar faces and handed out plenty of business cards throughout the show.
After the restoration fair I was hard at work on several local clients cars, working feverishly to have their cars finished for the big British car show at Vandusen Gardens in Vancouver on May 19th.
Working along side the guys up at Owen automotive (who did the mechanical and assembly work) and Jetsteam (who did the metal and paint) we finished a beautiful S2 E-type Jaguar, and a Morris Traveller.
I also finished a Healey 100M for Trevor Parker. All of which were finished in time and driven to the show as debut restorations.
On the morning of the show I drove our '64 MGB with my lovely partner Cat Amodeo and we joined the convoy of British classics on the morning ferry run over to Vancouver.
It was a beautiful drive with the top down as we drove in convoy with our other friends and British classics along the highways.
The ABFM show at Vandusen was a brilliant show with a record turnout of cars.
I won best debut restoration under $50k for my MGB!
Trevor Parker won best restoration between $50-$100k for his Healey 100 (that we did the interior on), and Dana won best debut to the show for his E-type Jag (which we also did the interior on) - there was also a Healey BJ8 that we did last year that won best of its class! All in all, it was a glorious feeling for us to have had a hand in so many award winning cars. My name was even mentioned in the Globe and Mail:
I'm very honoured and proud of the results.
until next time -
Over the past year I've had a few early Porsche 911's to restore the interiors on. One was a '65 in Bahamas yellow with a black interior and the other was a '66 in Slate grey with a red interior.
In both cases I decided to use interior kits from Autos International who are reputable Porsche interior specialists. I purchased carpet, headliner and panel kits as well as seat covers and new molded latex seat foams.
While I could make all of these things from scratch, it saves a fair amount of time and money to just buy these components already sewn. Whenever I use kits from another source I always inspect the build quality and especially the stitching. I often run components through my sewing machine again just to tighten up seams that might not be up to my standard, or make alterations if necessary.
It's interesting to follow original brochure literature from the time - it shows that the carpets on these were usually black velour, the seats came with either embossed (leather or vinyl) seat centers or hounds tooth in corresponding colours.
As usual, I started by documenting and restoring all the interior components first. I strip and repaint all the seat frames, replace or restore all the seat foams and armrest foams. Then recover the various components with new leather or vinyl covers, trimmed as original with the hand stitching as required.
I always take loads of pics to capture all the trimming details as I take things apart so I can restore each component properly.
The first thing I install on the car is the headliner and all the insulation -
Then comes carpet - in both cases the customers chose to use German square weave carpet which was the Porsche factory standard on earlier cars like the 356. It's a good looking carpet and its very durable as well. The rear areas always require some work in smoothing out the contours with underlay before the carpet is glued in place.
Next step is to install the panels. First I make sure the inner door mechanisms are all installed and working smoothly. Then make sure to add vapor barrier before installing the door panels. The rear panels always require a bit of coaxing and attention to detail to get in properly. Sometimes carpet needs to be packed out in corners to avoid gaps.
I had already re-trimmed all the original waist rails and armrests so these components were all ready to install with the panels...
The dash top and lower dash surround both had to be restored and re-trimmed separately. These I restored with new foam and leather/vinyl respectively. Then re-installed to the car with the addition of some new wood and freshly restored gauges to finish the dash.
Next I finished the rear seat areas by installing all my freshly restored rear seats...
You'll notice on the '65 car in black, the rear seat cushions had leather skirts glued and hand stitched to the carpet around the lower cushions. A neat detail found on these earlier cars!
Then came time to install my finished front seats to finish off the interior..
Last but not least - the boot interior carpets were installed -
And there you have it! - 2 beautiful early Porsche 911's with freshly restored interiors.
I've always had a huge love of Porsche and the clean lines and styling of the early 911's make it a timeless classic.
It's always an honor getting to work on cars like these - Inevitably I was feeling so inspired that I went and built a few scale models of these cars as I was working on the real thing lol. But that's for another article...
Until next time -
Last year I had the opportunity to do the interior trim work on a number of rare classics. Perhaps non so rare though as the iconic Mazda Cosmo series 1.
This was the first model of car that Mazda ever produced and it also featured the first of their "Wankel" rotary engines to be used in a car.
They didn't make a huge amount of these Cosmo's and in fact they were never really sold to the North American market. While obviously a few of them did make it over here they were all built right hand drive.
This car as it was, had had a few interior changes over it's life including the addition of some more modern seats probably out of an RX7 or something.
The original seats and carpets were long gone and the new owner wanted to set the car back right again or as close as we could get it to original spec.
As you can see, the above pics show the newer aftermarket brown seats that someone had installed in the car and below is a pic of what the original seats would have looked like:
Since original seats are not available for these cars, I had to modify what we had to try and make some new seats that had the right look of what the Cosmo seats should be.
The seats provided at least had a similar hinge structure to the originals so I decided to use the existing frames and just modify them and reshape them to be more like the original style. I removed the headrest assemblies, cut down and re-shaped the bolsters and made new foams and seat covers.
Here is my final results:
The dash was originally a factory molded design that was still in pretty good shape so we ended up removing and just re-dying it in black.
I started the interior restoration by removing the old tunnel cover and sewing up a new one in black vinyl, installed with new foam under it.
Then I made up a new carpet set in Burgundy wool carpet (as original) and began installing it with all new under felt...
I made all new vinyl covers and panels and installed them in the rear cockpit. Here is a before and after shot:
The original door panels also had some factory heat molded design elements that would be almost impossible to recreate. So since they were still in decent shape, I was able to re-use the molded armrests and covers and just replace the inner panels and re-dye them to match.
I replaced the door seals and all the rest of the vinyl panels in the forward cockpit, and then finally re-installed the new custom seats..
Here's some before and after pics of the overall interior:
There you have it - another one back on the road looking like it should.
Until next time -
Is it a car or a boat? It's an Amphicar! A concept car built in West Germany throughout the early-mid 60's. It could do 70mph on the highway and 70 knots in the water.
It was by no means a high performance vehicle, but fun non the less.
The car I'm working on was involved in a fire caused by leaky fuel lines that filled the cockpit with fumes. When the driver turned the key after weeks spent with the top and windows up - ka-boom! Luckily no one was hurt, but the interior was toast!
After a bit of online research, I found that just about everything is still available for these rare ducks ;) However the only interior kits available are only offered in standard/original colour options. Apparently blue trim was never actually available on these. Originally a Blue car would have come with a yellow/white interior!
So to restore this to what it was, I would have to make all the blue/white components myself.
I started by stripping all the panels, covers, seat covers and making new patterns. Unfortunately All of the panels for the car had to be completely replaced - not just re-covered. The panels were all made from ABS/plastic so they could presumably handle getting wet. But the ABS had gone super brittle and was cracked & broken around every clip hole.
I cut new panels from some 1/8" ABS sheet I sourced locally.
Cutting the ABS to shape the panels took some patients, it's a very dense/hard material to cut - I even broke a bandsaw blade in the process!
I sourced some vinyl locally and got to work sewing and trimming the new trim panels,..
The rear seat components were all made new with covers I made and trimmed to the original wood bases
Here are my new front bench seat covers, I repainted the metal frames and renewed the foam surface before installing the new covers,..
With all the components made, I got to work installing all the new panels and seats. The rubber floor mats were luckily still intact and just needed a good cleaning.
Luckily I was able to source a new top and boot cover in white canvass from an aftermarket supplier,
And there you have it! Another one done for the road - or perhaps lake - I wouldn't recommend the sea. Apparently they're supposed to have all the suspension totally re-greased after every water outing!
Until next time -
One of my most recent projects has been doing all the upholstery and trim on this 1957 Mercedes 220S coupe restored by Rudi and Company.
I did purchase seat covers, headliner and a carpet kits for this job but made everything else myself.
I started by installing all the headliner. I made new Windlace trim strips for around the doors in woolcloth and leather sewn over rubber tubing. I also installed all the lower dash leather and thin padding. The leather in these areas was hand skived to be paper thin around areas that chrome or wood trim would later be fit...
The next step was to make and trim all the new interior panels. I cut all new panels out of black waterproof board and then patterned, sewed and trimmed new leather covers with foam following the originals exactly.
Here's the original door panels and rear quarter panels coming apart to show all the various components I had to reproduce...
Next I installed all the interior carpets with underfelt installed under the tunnel and main mats as original
With the carpets installed I could fit the finished door and rear quarter panels in the car with the refinished wood trim and chrome hardware to finish them all off...
Some of the details I had to reproduce were these unique leather door pull handles.
The inner structure is cut from thick belt leather that's wrapped with thin hand skived pieces of red leather and then sewn. Then the handle is then folded into shape and riveted together with some more leather strips braided around the top to finish and hide the rivets.
The rear bench seats were stripped, frames cleaned and painted and then re-trimmed with new foam and new covers...
Sun visors were made as original with new boards covered in skived leather..
The front seats as always were a big job. I stripped the originals, cleaned and painted the frames. Installed new hessian in the bottoms, built up new foam, installed the new covers and back panels with many hours of hand stitching to finish them off - as original.
To finish things off the seats were all installed. Here's some before and after pics of the finished interior...
This car is another fine example of the high level of craftsmanship that used to be practiced on these classic Mercedes back in the day. The hand stitching, hand skiving of the leather, even braiding details seldom still seen these days - I thoroughly enjoy the artistry involved in these jobs.
Until next time -
Back in the spring of this year I had the opportunity to trim this beautiful 1958 Mercedes 190SL for Rudi and Company. They restored the car back to it's original delivery specifications including some special order interior colour accents that were unique to this car in particular. Where as most 190SL's with a red interior would have had red throughout, the original order for this car showed it had a black dash top and door top rails - a nicer contrast than the standard red on those items!
I purchased material kit's from GAHH in the correct Roser Red leather appropriate for this vintage of Mercedes.
I started by making new door panels following the originals exactly. I cut the new panels and carefully stripped and reused the original metal and wood components.
These door panels with their inner pockets, armrests and pleats are a great example of the very high level of craftsmanship that Mercedes put into their cars back in the day.
I have yet to come across another car manufacturer that put in this degree of quality and detail in their upholstery work. In many places throughout the interior, the leather was often hand skived to be paper thin along edges that needed it for clearance purposes or for hiding joints in the material, these sorts of important practices definitely take more time and patience to master but really pay off in the end!
With the door panels complete, I next stripped and recovered the rear cockpit surround/top stowage divider panel in new leather, skived along all the joins.
Next I tackled making up the new sun visors: I made these virtually from scratch using just the original wire frame inside and building up a new inner structure that I carved/shaped by hand. Then they were covered in leather and bound with thin hand skived leather strips.
Next I began installing all the rear cockpit leather on the car. Each piece had to hand cut to fit and the edges hand skived to hide the joints, with the leather in place, the adjoining carpet sections could then be installed and the leather Windlace along the door pillars...
Moving to the front of the cockpit, I installed the long single piece of black leather that covers the dash top - this takes a lot of patience and finessing to coax the leather in place around all the compound curves and get rid of all the wrinkles!
With the dash top installed, it was time to cover the lower dash in thin foam and hand skived leather so the dash itself could be installed in the car. These pieces of leather all had to be skived very thin especially around the glove box door so the chrome trims would still look and fit as they should...
With the dash installed, the rest of the interior started to really come together, the rubber floor mats and kick panels could all be cut and put in place, as well as my new door panels with contrasting black top rails unique to this car...
The seats were another time consuming adventure but care and patience resulted in beautiful results! As always, I restructured all the inner foam to get them nice and smooth and the correct profile. Lot's of hand stitching was involved with these old Mercedes seats too - just as they did originally -
Finally came time to fit the top. I sourced a new top from GAHH in the correct German canvass. I started first by fitting the chrome top frame to the car and making sure it functioned properly. Then I covered the inner frame sections with tan Bowdrill, installed the new webbing strips to keep the bows in line, and finally the top itself...
With the top installed, I fit the rear cockpit divider panel in place and then fit the leather boot cover that covers the top when it's folded down...
And there you have it, another one done and ready for the road!
All in all, this was a very enjoyable and rewarding job to do. As with most of these vintage Mercedes the level of detail and craftsmanship required was a welcome challenge that required a lot of patience and experience to get right. These jobs are what keep us on our toes and make us better trimmers!
Until next time -
Over the past few months I've had the opportunity to finish installing all the interior and sunroof on this 1965 Volkswagen 21 window "Samba" bus.
The owner spared no expense in this meticulous nut bolt restoration and chose this beautiful factory original colour combination of blues with grey mesh interior.
Inside I installed all the headliner and interior panel kits supplied by Wolfsburg West. I also re-trimmed all the seats with improved cushion foams and new covers...
Here are the rear bench seats and partition wall details. I had to do some fabrication work to create the top railing on the partition wall as well as the lip around the drink shelf as many of these parts are now scarce and unavailable...
Here's the rear compartment with the spare wheel and it's cover I made in matching vinyl..
The trickiest part was installing the huge sliding sunroof assembly. We sourced a new frame assembly as well as the headliner and outer canvass sections. The canvass was custom dyed by Yellow Jacket to match the paint as original...
The Samba bus made it's public debut at the 2016 Vancouver Island motor gathering held at the new Motorsports Circuit in the Cowichan valley in September...
Until next time -
It's been a busy and exciting year for me in the car upholstery business. I've had the opportunity to take on several new local Healey jobs which has felt like a welcome return to my family roots so to speak.
As many of you may know, I grew up with a strong interest in Austin Healey's that I learned through my late father Rich Chrysler - especially the early 100/4's!
Over the past years I have been accumulating all the correct patterns to start producing extremely accurate interior trim components for the Austin Healey 100's - BN1's and BN2's.
Having worked primarily on Healey interiors for several decades now, I've had many opportunities to document the evolution of Austin Healey trim and the many subtle detail changes that came along through the years as the marque evolved.
The Healey 100's alone are an interesting evolution that I think many owners/restorers could benefit from understanding.
So without further ado, I'll start with the Floors and Foot wells:
The main floor pans were first covered in a thin layer of black tar paper.
The foot wells & firewall area around the bell housing had a thin jute insulation (about 3/16" with a black patterned coating on one side) glued to the painted metal. The jute was then covered by unbound Karvel carpet glued in place over the jute.
In the tops of the foot boxes, more of these jute pieces were glued in place to provide further insulation...
More Karvel carpet covered the inner sills with about 1/2" overlap extending onto the floor sections.
The 2 main floor mats were unbound and installed with brass carpet snaps in all 4 corners. The mats were snapped over more corresponding jute mats sandwiched underneath. The drivers mat then had a rubber "Austin" logo heel pad sewn in place over the pre-installed front snaps.
On BN1's, the front kick panels were made of 1/8" birch ply with edges sanded round and covered in vinyl. There was a plastic ID tag screwed to the upper drivers side...
Later BN1's (mid 54 on-) had a different style of Aluminum ID tag mounted on the LH kick panel -
With the introduction of the BN2, these kick panels were shortened in height on both sides to accommodate the lower position of the wiper motor bracket.
The panel boards themselves also started getting cut out of a cheaper hardboard and no longer had the edges sanded round.
The ID tag was also relocated to the engine bay firewall on BN2's.
The parcel tray was mounted to the passenger side firewall under the dash. The steel tray was painted a dark chocolate brown and trimmed with a vinyl surround and had Karvel carpet on the inner tray face... Note, the tray in the below right pic should be painted brown not black -
The scuttle panel was trimmed with thin jute on both sides of the panel, the interior side was then covered with Karvel carpet that wrapped around the edges. The panels also had a rubber seal riveted to the panel that would seal around the gearbox bell-housing.
Bn1 panels were a flatter design that had its carpet running left to right and screws along the outer edges on the face.
The Bn2 design had bigger sides that wrapped around the toe box edges, the carpet instead ran top to bottom and it had screws on the lower sides and 2 more through the upper face:
The gearbox cover sections evolved as follows: On the first hundred or so cars we've seen this rare, sharply edged style of tunnel - it was aluminum, painted dark brown and did not have any jute insulation, it was covered with sewn carpet&vinyl covers like this:
Then almost immediately, as production of the BN1 moved forward we saw this new more rounded standard shape of aluminum cover, again painted brown, it was trimmed with jute insulation covered by a single piece of carpet and vinyl covers like this:
Then in mid-late 54 on the BN1 we saw a 3rd tunnel and the carpet change again slightly to this 2 piece style, again glued in place with jute under the carpet The tunnel is almost the same as the 2nd but has a small hump on the rear left side to provide more clearance for the overdrive solenoid. This meant that the carpet also had a small dart sewn horizontally at the back to go around this hump: (note: the metal on second example should also be painted dark brown)
Finally with the introduction of the BN2, we see an entirely different style aluminum gearbox cover that extends further back to accommodate the 4 speed gearbox. This style tunnel had its jute glued to the back of the carpet, and the carpet then snapped down in place rather than being glued down like on the BN1's:
There were Armacord mats bound in vinyl and snapped in place on the floors under the seats.
The shape of these under seat mats changed between BN1 and BN2 to fit around the corresponding tunnel shapes at the front.
Early BN1's up until November of 1953, did not have any slotted cutouts for the seat tracks in these mats. This is because the early BN1's had adjustable steering wheels instead of the sliding seat tracks.The seats were bolted directly to the floors on those early cars with adjustable steering wheels.
After Nov '53 the BN1 mats had slot cutouts for the wooden seat risers on both sides. The drivers side only had sliding tracks. Note the squared corners on the BN1 compared to the round shape the BN2 does around the tunnel. Sliding tracks on the passenger side was an available option, though not standard!
On the BN1 tunnel, there was a second removable tunnel section just behind the main gearbox cover section that covered the driveshaft under the armrest.
It was trimmed in carpet with vinyl edging.
More Karvel carpet covered the length of tunnel behind this section right back to the rear bulkhead, it was tightly cut around the handbrake mounting so as to leave no gaps...
On the BN2, the rear tunnel was covered in Armacord under the armrest, rather than the carpet used on BN1's.
There was often a piece of vinyl glued in place first around the base of the handbrake under the Armacord, though on some cars we've seen this area hand painted instead to match the interior colour.
Finally the center armrest was snapped down over the rear tunnel section with 4 Tenax snaps. The Armrests had 3 leather pleats on the top face, and had long vinyl sides that extended to the floor. The BN1's had a longer 19" armrest while the BN2 with it's revised tunnel arrangement had a shorter 17.5" armerest..
Moving now to the doors,
The inner door skins were covered in a big piece of vinyl that was folded in the corners to cover the front, rear and bottom sections of the inner door. We've often found a strip of jute sitting in the bottoms of the doors under this vinyl flap (as a bit of padding)
A separate black board panel trimmed in vinyl extended above this piece of vinyl to finish the top inner door area.
Another piece of vinyl was glued to the upper inner doors just under the cockpit rails,
and the door pull cord was wrapped with a sewn vinyl cover...
The outer door panels were birch ply panels covered in vinyl with a very thin layer of coach wadding under the vinyl. the panel edges were sanded to a curve with an opening in the middle for a large inner pocket area.
The first few hundred cars had contrasting piping tacked along the inner edge of this opening.
On the inside, the lower sections of the panels had a soft brown suede like material sewn to the top edge of the outer vinyl cover and glued down to the inner panel.
Furflex was also glued and tacked along the front and rear edges of the panels and along the front edge of the door frame sandwiched under the kick panels and windshield posts..
As BN1 production moved forward the door pocket piping was almost immediately discontinued as production got into full swing. The door panels remained plain without piping or stitching until towards the end of 1954,
Finally in late 1954 we started seeing stitching around the door pocket openings, about 1/2" in from the edge. This practice continued on the later BN1's and through all BN2's.
Note in the lower 2 pics, the original early scuttle seals, and the 1/4round seals along the bottoms of the doors themselves...
The seats on Healey 100's were originally a slim and slender shape which is worth noting! - most of kits available today make for a seat backrest that is much bigger and puffier looking than they actually were.
The center pleated section of the backrests were stuffed with coach wadding and the piping smoothly curved around the top, I've noticed this area is often too squared off on modern kits too, it's a detail often missed because later 6 cyl cars did have a more squared off design at the top of the pleats.
Here is what they should look like on a 100/4:
The backrest piping continued down around the pivot arms under the lower Hidem strips and joined to itself along the bottom edge of the backrest.
The backrest was bolted to a lower cushion pan that was mounted to the floor or seat tracks. The removable cushion would firmly sit in the pan. The pan was painted dark brown and trimmed in vinyl aound the inner & outer perimeter...
The inner frames of the backrests had wooden tack strips riveted to bottoms with brass split rivets. The foam was a soft molded Dunlopillow foam glued in place with thin wadding used to pad the back and add some definition above the center pleated area:
The cushions were a big molded shape of Dunlopillow with square cutouts molded into the bottoms to allow them to squish down when sat in. The top perimeter was packed with wadding to give definition and the back of the pleats was often stuffed to fill any gaps where they met the backrest. They were mounted in a sturdy wood frame glued and screwed together that gave an upward rake towards the front of the cushion...
We've seen on several early BN1's the use of white cloth being tacked to the bottoms of the cushions to finish them off neatly, however by early '54 this practice seems to have been discontinued and the bottoms of the Dunlopillow cushions were left exposed...
Moving to the rear bulkhead...
The wheel arches had a small jute pad where the top frame would rest, covered by a sewn vinyl cover with piping.
The shape of this jute pad has been seen in a few variations, early BN1's had this larger style of jute pad - the vinyl cover only being glued around the corner edges so the cover would float over the pad and not define the shape of the pad underneath.
Later BN1's and BN2's had a smaller jute pad that only covered the flat D pressing in the wheel arch. This allowed the wheel arch cover piping to be glued more securely along the wheel arch and still look clean and smooth
The rear bulkhead was covered mostly in Armacord with vinyl trimmed birch ply panels for the B pillars.
The early BN1's until about mid 1954 had a much larger vinyl spare wheel bag than later BN1's and BN2's.
Here you can see the difference between the big and baggy early spare wheel bag and the later more slender shaped bag that fit the narrow shape of the standard "Dunlop Road-speed" tires a lot better.
- In hindsight, the narrower bag won't actually fit most of today's tires!
The battery box lid was trimmed in Armacord edged with vinyl and had leather straps riveted in place with snaps to secure it shut.
The boot of all 100/4's was trimmed in Armacord with vinyl edging.
The patterns remained basically the same throughout the 100/4's, except that early BN1's (up to around Aug '54) had a narrower main mat for covering the gas tank.
Here you can see the earlier narrow boot mat design that required longer separate Armacord side pieces to fill in around the side wheel arches.
The later style BN1 and BN2 boot mat was made full width and sewn differently around the rear bumper brackets.
This last shot of a teal blue BN2 interior shows the spare wheel shelf and wheel wedge block as was standard on all 100's...
Here is an example of the original green Armacord with darker vinyl edging...
The soft tops were basically the same pattern between BN1 and BN2 with 3 minor changes occurring between the top frames and latch mechanisms.
They had grey webbing between the bows and the front wooden header rail.
The header rail was trimmed in matching Vinyl or Everflex as the hood.
Some early BN1 tops have been found in vinyl, while later ones were all done in Everflex.
The early style tops had a trim screw through the top into the rear bow that also trapped the webbing straps.
Note: the below pic shows the original "sage" green Everflex used with green interiors - this Sage green colour material is no longer available.
There were 3 different styles of side screens on the 100/4's -
Early BN1 side screens were plexiglass with a chrome metal frame. They came in a colored vinyl stowage bag that matched the interior.
The Plexiglass BN1 screens were replaced in late '53 by this 2nd style of sewn vinyl side screens that had a flip up signalling flap which could be snapped shut from the inside...
Then in late '54 and on the BN2 we saw a 3rd style again in sewn vinyl with clear plastic windows.
The lower flap had been eliminated and instead the lower rear corner of the entire screen could be lifted just enough to work the inner door handle.
These all came with a matching color vinyl stowage bag for the screens.
The Tonneau cover:
The early BN1 Tonneau cover was a slightly shorter and more curved design than later Tonneau covers. It followed the shape of the front cockpit rails and had Tenax snaps in the front corners.
Later BN1's and BN2's had a slightly different pattern of tonneau with the front corners being bigger and more squared off. These later tonneaus also used a turn button snap instead of the previous Tenax in the front corners. Here you can see an early BN1 tonneau in red over a later BN1/2 style tonneau in green...
This black tonneau is on a later BN2 and shows the later design with taller front corners and turn-snaps instead of the earlier Tenax. Note also the small grommet over the spring studs...
The Tonneaus were made of Everflex and originally came with a Lightning brand zipper and nickle plated Tenax snaps with a knurled head:
Last but not least, the Healey 100's also came with some separate stowage bags for storing your accessories. There was a bag for storing your side screens, a tool roll, Jack and Jack handles bags.
The tool, jack & handles bags were all made of a very thin black vinyl. The side screen bag was made in the same coloured vinyl as used in the rest of the interior.
So there you have it - some interesting detail references to note on the interior trim of Healey 100/4's
In closing, I am very pleased to announce that after years of careful research,
Rightway Heritage Trimming is now producing all of these various styles of 100 interior trim components!
All made by hand to exacting detail standards using the correct materials and colour combinations.
Contact me anytime for samples and pricing info through:
Until next time -
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 -
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 -
Over the past several months I have been working away on all the interior upholstery components for a 1960 Mercedes 220se that is being restored by Rudi and Company.
We're trimming this car in original Roser Tan colored leather. I was able to find good kits for the seat covers and the the top. But everything else I had to make by hand.
Here you can see the door panels I made, copying the original ones exactly -
Here are the rear 1/4 panels (before and after) and the rear bench seats -
The finished front seats...
On the car, I started by installing all of the lower dash and glove box leather, as well as the rear top stowage area...
Then came installing the new rear 1/4 panels and trim,
And the door panels and trim...
Next came the most time consuming part of the job - installing the cabrio top and headliner. It starts by installing the sewn headliner assembly to the top frame and getting it perfect on the inside...
Then building up and shaping the inner top padding...
And finally fitting the top itself - this takes a lot of patients and adjustment to fit right...
To finish it all off, the seats and the top boot cover...
Welcome back! this week I was able to continue finishing off the top for the Mercedes 300SC.
The way it was left last week I had done the headliner, made the top pad and started fitting the actual top.
This week I continued fitting the top by hand tacking the rear section in place using existing factory pin holes through the steel body into a tack strip inside. In order to do this I had to mark the exact location of each hole to find it through the top material with my tacks. This took some patients...
After tacking it all in place, I marked out the location of the rear window and cut and installed the window in place. Fitting the frame first and then installing the glass with a new rubber seal and chrome trim. Here you can also see the chrome trim installed to cover the tacks and finish the bottom edge of the top. As well as the big hinge finishers that aid in folding the top up and down.
With the rear window installed I was able to start finishing off the rear headliner sections that are all hand tacked and hand stitched in place...
With the top finished, I was able to continue installing the rest of the rear panels, all the seats and the boot cover!
My part of doing the upholstery trimming on this car is nearly finished now. The guys at Rudi's will be adding the finishing touches over the next few weeks to finish this car off. We're all very excited to see this car blossoming as she nears completion!
Ciao for now -
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.