Interior revamp

The BCW interior is composed of about 40 percent vinyl stuff (seats, door panels) and 60 percent carpet. The carpet–in Bridget’s case a cream high-pile style with plenty of wear–is very forgiving of imperfections. It’s also not like what a the TD had.

Stock TDs had leather seats and rexine (call it vinyl, it was almost the same) door panels, kick panels, dash board covers, package areas seat backs. The welts were leather too, as these were high-wear parts. Carpets were black, low pile and without edge bindings.

Since we’re redoing B’s interior bits we may as well make them look as TD-ish as possible. I began the project (more than a year ago) with an incredible bit of luck: scored a complete TD interior kit–door panels, edge panels, package area; everything but the seat covers–for free.

Fellow club member had bought it for his BCW and it didn’t quite fit. “Close, but no banana,” he said.

“I’ll make it work,” I replied gallantly, knowing that these kits go for more than $500 at Moss Motors, and knowing no other source for them. I paid $30 shipping and the stuff arrived. Beautiful workmanship, a bit darker than Bridget’s interior…

spread door panel detail1 door pocketAnd damn: it didn’t fit. Not even the door panels.

side by side size difference 1
Getting a close look at the panel construction was a gift in itself, though. I sold the TD kit on Ebay, sent half the cash to my benefactor, and set about replicating the panels in Bridget’s  slightly irregular dimensions.

door panel 1old edge carpetedge panelpanel test fit 1 driver Bought a heavy-duty Swingline stapler that could punch through 160 pages, figuring it might just work on the fiberboard backers I’m using.

staple test 1And it did!*

The first panel came about with minimal fuss–though a lot of staples bent.

I cut the panels out of fiberboard, test fit them, and drilled holes through them into the ‘glass to fit proper upholstery clips. drilling panel holes. . .widened the holes in the panels unitbit marked. . .and coated them with polyurethane as insurance against the weather.

Laid the first batch on the vinyl . . .panels on vinyl2Rough-cut the shapes and trimmed them to fit. Sprayed some glue on the back, folded them over. glue yo! folding over panelsAnd got some Hidem strip for the tricky parts.hidem strip dyedHad to paint it to match. . .  vinyl dye 1. . .then laid it on, tacked it, and made some welt out of vinyl strips and vinyl tubing.

Then trimmed it, glued it and stapled it to the first panel
tacking hidem on panelThe second kick panel gave the trouble. broken swingline

Ordered a different stapler.

Efforts to make the door panels stalled when the sewing began. I’ve got a lot of pics of this failed process but suffice it to say: marine vinyl is too much for my wife’s sewing machines, and the amount of stitching (to say nothing of the precision required) was more than my bare hands would be able to manage with a sail needle. After sleeping on it for a most of a year, I made contact with Tim Miller of KDI Customs. His father spotted me in Bridget a couple years ago and recommended Tim for all my upholstery needs.

In March of this year I showed Tim pics of the Moss TD panels and explained what I was trying to do. He told me he could do it for just under $102 per panel, provided I brought him the vinyl. And so he did.

new door panel-1new door panel-2Today, just home from Carlisle, I picked them up and popped them in place.

Tim actually called Thursday as I was preparing to leave for the show. I thought about getting them then but, as I had just spent the morning changing the oil and adjusting the valves, and was running late, I opted not to risk it.

new door panel-3new door panel-5new door panel-6new door panel-7I think they look very good. Side-by-side with a Moss panel you can spot the differences, but even with my car parked next to a TD I think it would take a trained eye to notice the replicated nature of my new door panels.

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About stuntmidget

I'm a poor mechanic and general wisenheimer. I love old cars and the stories behind them, true or not.
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