While the bodyshell was away in the paint process, I started the task of heat and sound insulating the cockpit area, using a self adhesive neoprene sheet backed with foil. This is a material used in the building industry and is a fraction of the price of specialist automotive material and equally effective.
I purchased a large roll, which is enough to do several cars for £35.00.
June 2017 update – I’ve now been driving the car and the shakedown was done in 30 degree heat and I was delighted with the reults. There was virtually no heat intrusion into the cockpit at all.
The combination of this insulation, the bulkhead pad and the underfloor heatshield over the exhaust, has worked brilliantly – it used to be unbearable on a hot day.
This is what remained of the original carpet, which will not be reused, but is
useful to keep as a template for fitting the new carpet. The main picture shows the underside of the armrest with the slot in the carpet for the foam insert. The slit was stiched together with string.
After much consideration, I decided to buy a complete cockpit trimming set from Mirror Trim, which is comprehensive and of excellent quality. The leather seats will be black with navy blue piping, black carpet and door cards.
Before ordering the new seat trim, I stripped down the original seats to check on the condition of the frames and bases. As I plan to build up the seats myself, I needed a visual record of how the seats were constructed.
Despite poor storage, the odd rodent attack and general neglect, I was surprised at how well the seats had survived. The seats are original as they left Abingdon, with their green piping to match the Ash green body colour.
The frames had areas of rust, but nothing too serious and fortunately the bases were in good reusable condition.
The seat restoration kit was from Mirror Trim and excellent quality.
Thanks to my daughter Nell for her invaluable assistance in doing the seat covering part, which is much easier with two pairs of hands.
Underdash (heater shelf/bulkhead) Insulation Pad
All advice suggests that fitting the underdash heat and sound insulation pad makes a huge difference to cockpit comfort. A pad was originally only fitted to the Coupe, which needed all the help it could get to reduce noise and particularly, heat.
The pad available from Moss is an excellent product and much better than the original, fitting perfectly and with all the myriad bulkhead and dash holes catered for and perfectly aligned…as long as it’s fitted acurately.
The ideal time to fit the pad is obviously when the body is stripped of everything associated with the dash/bulkhead/heatershelf. In fact I think it would be a fairly major job to do it otherwise.
As with most jobs, a trial fit before gluing is essential and prepares you for a few challenges with handling it, bending it around the angle of the shelf etc. Having done it on my own, I would also recommend help from a handy assistant if you can.
I used a spray Evo Stick, liberally applied to both the pad and the metal surfaces. Care needs to be taken to get the pad as aligned as possible before allowing the two glued faces to come into contact, as once they do they’re very difficult to move, also the glued face is the hairy one, which makes it even more reluctant.
It goes without saying that it’s also best to do before other trim and carpet are fitted, as it’s difficult to contain the sticky bits entirely.
A tip from Barney for this and carpet gluing is to use a small decoratores roller to press it into place. The finished pad also looks great, with the black shiny surface outward.
I sourced my trim kit from Mirror Trim having seen their products at shows and on other owners cars and it really is excellent quality and comprehensive.
The carpets are excellent but do have more bound edges than the original. This is not a problem for me as they look better and hopefully will be more durable.
I used a Evostick spray can adhesive, applied generously and left to dry for a few minutes before fitting – I trial dry fitted first, having trimmed where needed.
The main floor carpets are not glued – the under seat mats which were a perfect fit are loose and slit to clear the seat runners and also to enable removal if needed.
The main carpets running into the footwells are fitted with ‘Lift the Dot’ fasteners as original, which allows them to be removed for cleaning and drying if needed.
The chassis sides and sills are glued as are the small sections covering the chassis intrusions just ahead of the seat.
I decided not to glue any of the centre tunnel carpets, preferring to staple the bottom edges to the floor boards.
The carpet set did not include the battery cover area or the boot, which I plan to do as a seperate project.
Cockpit Crash Rolls
The following shots show the original crash rolls and their constuction and method of wrapping and fixing of both the vinyl outer covering and the piping.
On the dash roll only, there are two runs of piping, one attached to the top of the metal dash and the second attached to the wooden batten on the top. The piping attached to the top of the metal dash is of a larger diameter than the upper section and to all other cockpit piping i.e door cappings and corner quarter pieces.
These shots show the two sizes of piping in relation to each other, the first ones being the originals and the next being the new replacement piping as supplied by Mirror Trim.
Note how the original piping is bent over on itself at the ends, to form a neat finish, rather than just cutting it off flush leaving an open end.
(The original piping was light green to match the original Ash Green paint colour.)
This shows the careful wrapping of the ends of the original, which had a number of cuts in the end of the section, to minimise the bulk of the material in the fold. This is difficult to achieve when making up the new covers.
The shot below shows the shape of the cutout section at the end of the material to aid neet folding, but I found this very difficult to replicate on the new pieces and ended up with simple ‘parcel’ folds.
Old v new upper piping.
The dash top piping and original clips.
The finished dash rail – completing the cover was a case of carefully cutting the length of new trim and piping to size, wrapping around the battern tightly then either stapling as original or using tacks.
The door cappings require careful preparation, particularly with the wooden stick and it’s join with the curved alloy part. Any imperfections such as sunken screw holes or the join gap, will show through the fitted leather – take it from a fool who knows!
Otherwise, it’s a fiddly but straightforward job, definately helped by an electric staple gun.
I used a standard household filler to get a smooth finish before fixing the leather.
I failed to photo the job of fitting the leather….maybe because you need three hands and I only had two!
My method was to centre the stick or corner piece into the middle of the leather piece and get a tack or two just off the centre line, to get started. Then proceed down one side, pulling the leather as tight as you can, until you reach the end. Then trim that side back to the centre line and then start on the other side, pulling and stretching as tight as possible, smoothing puckers out and stapling as you go. It will probably be necessary to remove the odd staple to increase tension as you go.
The leather in my kit was very soft and supple, which helped, but some say it helps if the leather is soaked first. The tricky bit of course is the curved section, where it seems at first to be impossible to get the leather smooth, but just persist with smoothing and stretching until you can get the final staples in the back.
The ends can be tricky , as you need to get a fold that is not too bulky, otherwise when you eventually fit them to the doors, they will all foul on the ends of each other.
A simple parcel fold seems to work ok, but I also cut away any excess leather that was increasing the bulk.
Again, my door cards and cockpit cards were part of the Mirror Trim kit and seem to be very god quality and fit.
The only problem (and frustration) is that I’d got the doors to fit and shut nicely and then realised I had to do it all again once the cards are fitted, as they do increase the depth of the overall door.
The first thing is to ensure is that there are the two wooden battens, which in my case had long disappeared. A template for these exists on Barney’s mga guru site and are quite simple to make or not to expensive from Moss or MGOC.
The pockets go in next and need a rubber grommet on the catch side hole where the opening cord passes through.
I didn’t try to match up the original screw holes to fix the panels, but drilled new – I don’t think anyone will notice and I reckon the factory would have done each car slightly differently anyway.
This should have been a simple job (should know better by now!), but the door card from my Mirror Trim kit is made of a much thicker millboard than the original (a good thing as it is much more rigid) which when added to the thickness of the furflex door seals, pushed the door out beyond the hinge adjustment. As a result the beautifully fitting doors would no longer shut….lesson learnt.
I ended up having to carefully peel back the vinyl covering along the bottom edge and bottom front corner and trim the board back to a level where it no longer closed against the rubber part of the seal, but not high enough to be beyong the fur section.
This leaves a slightly smaller door card, but concealed when the door is closed, which it now does properly.
I left the fitting of the side-screen bracket until I can offer up the screen to ensure it’s positioned correctly.