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How to furnish the interior of your Classic

An Inside Job Published: 27th May 2011 - 0 Comments - Be the first, contribute now!

How to furnish the interior of your Classic
How to furnish the interior of your Classic Simple plastics on many 60s/70s cars aren’t as easy to repair as they seem
How to furnish the interior of your Classic Old but sound leather can be dyed or painted to good effect quite cheaply
How to furnish the interior of your Classic Pvc trim can be painted or sprayed – modern paints are better than ever
How to furnish the interior of your Classic Start by providing a firm backing such as trim board to give support to trim
How to furnish the interior of your Classic Cut a patch larger than the damage and contour it so blending in with original
How to furnish the interior of your Classic Use a good quality adhesive, taking care at the edges so it doesn’t peel
How to furnish the interior of your Classic Don’t worry, once panel is sprayed (we used Woolies product) it looked ok
How to furnish the interior of your Classic Ripped trim can be masked, start by marking out where speaker grille will fit
How to furnish the interior of your Classic No need to remove all the damaged trim, just the loose edges so grille fits ok
How to furnish the interior of your Classic We sprayed exposed foam backing trim colour so it didn’t show through grille
How to furnish the interior of your Classic After fitting speaker fascia, heat is applied to help sink grille into position
How to furnish the interior of your Classic Finished job. Not concours but looks better than before and cost just a fiver!
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Want to make your classic’s interior as good as new but on a strict budget? Here’s how to do it with the help of some tricks of the trade!

Renovating an interior properly is a specialist job and many enthusiasts underestimate the time, skill and of course cost of the task. As the restoration kitty starts to run dry the cabin is one of the main areas to feel the reconditioning pinch. It’s understandable enough. Professionally restoring a JaguarMK2 cockpit can cost the thick end of ten grand! That lovely woodwork can easily run up a bill of almost £2000, think carpets at around £700, headlining about the same while seat recovering, incidentals (such as the velour type weatherbeading strips for the doors – an easy £70s worth…) and labour swallow the rest. A full on cabin refit can cost as much as a body restoration. Now most of us haven’t that kind of money to splash out and even if we did perhaps the car’s value cannot warrant it. So what’s the answer? Well there are some useful wrinkles and cheats that you can employ to make your classic’s cabin look the part without breaking the bank.A shabby headlining spoils even the best renovation jobs and although kits are available they are buggers to fit. A pro will probably charge around £400-700 as a result. Deterioration usually manifests itself in tears, sagging and discolouration. There’s little you can do with a tear (unless it’s simply the stitching) but if the lining has sagged then it may be able to be pulled taut. More commonly with pvc linings is the cover shrinking and pulling away from the beading.

In both instances, the lining can be coaxed back to shape by carefully applying heat from a hair dryer. Apart from slightly shrinking plastic, it can make it more malleable, which is great when tucking it tight behind the door strips. If your pvc headlining has badly yellowed, no amount of cleaning will bring it up like new. With little to lose, why not trypainting it? We’ve seen a couple of instances where an entirely satisfactory job has been made using household emulsion, usually watered down, Gloss is too shiny,try a matt and be careful not to get paint on any trim which will spoil the overal effect. Finally, if the headlining is too far gone then how about this idea: fit a sunroof! Don’t laugh, for the price of a headlining refit you could have a hole in the roof – removingthe damaged trim and adding a touch of style (and value) to your car in one fell swoop.


Sad looking seats are a real eyesore as well as being uncomfortable. Trim is usually made up of separate panels glued or stitched together and fairly easy to split once removed from the frame. Any good upholsterer can supply material of the correct colour and texture for repairs, plus advise on the best adhesive to use. You need an industrial sewing machine as domestic types aren’t up to it. Sagging or rucked pvc trim can be pulled back into shape by using the same hairdryer trick. If the trim is sound but faded then it can be painted, or dyed if leather. The former sounds simple but to get the best effect you need to prepare it properly just as if you painting metal and this includes using quality brushes. The range of interior paints these days is pretty good with the option of the type of sheen you require and apart from brush painting, we’ve heard of enthusiasts using a roller or even spray painting the trim to good effect. If you want to go the latter route, try Woolies (01778 347347/ who sells proper fabric sprays in a variety of colours. One can is enough for a seat, although they do cost the thick end of £16 a can. Don’t turn your nose up at fitting seat covers. Sure, on the likesof a Jag Mk2 Rover 2000 or MGB they look naff but period-style designs work well on family cars from the 50s and 60s as they were popular fits then and are much cheaper than recovering a seat. Leather can be treated in a variety of ways. Dedicated (paintbased) ‘Connallising’ kits can be purchased for seriously worn and faded skins but cheaper alternatives for less aged hides are dyes and colour washes, as in the case of Gliptone Leathercare (01706 819365). Woolies’ Leather Renovation Kit is another product worth considering: you send off a sample of your car’s leather and Woolies matches it with a dedicated dye. If your leather’s looking tired, there are firms out there who can come to you to give the material a makeover. Give a company like Flying Colours a cracked, discoloured seat and it can apply filler to the cracks then match up the colour and spray it on – muchlike painting the bodywork. Blemishes are hidden from £40, while a full leather restoration job costs from £300-£400. Contact Flying Colours on 01675 471150. One thing that’s worth doing properly is re-padding a sagging seat; it really does give a car that brand new feel. Vic Doidge of Wave House Car Trimmer (Tel: 01621 856677) typically charges around £60 for fitting new foam. A good way to save money here is to do all the dismantling and fitting work(which can take the most time) and let the pro carry out the repair.

Door trims

Repairing knackered door trims cheaply looks easy but it isn’t, due to how some are made. On some 60s and 70s cars the outside panel forms part of the board, meaning even witha slight tear the board has to be completely stripped and an entire section of trim renewed; patchwork repairs aren’t really possible. But you can cheat a little. Although concours judges will frown at it, if the damage is in a particular area you can ‘mask’ the injury simply and cheaply by fitting either decorative kick plates or stereo speaker grilles. It’s quite common for the trim’s fibre boards to warp or disfigure over time and a good trick is to wetthem thoroughly before laying completely flat and weighted down to straighten. If this fails then the board may have to be renewed. Stretched trim can usually be heated and pulled taut before being stuck or stapled. Have a word with a specialist to see what are the best methods and the right adhesives.


Looks great but is a swine to successfully restore and to be honest there are no shortcuts here. If the finish is tired or flaking the only solution is to strip it to the bone and re-varnish. That said don’t go mad because the adhesive holding the original panels together may fail. Good old yacht varnish is still a favourite choice although modern polyester alternatives are said to be more effective as well as being longer-lasting. How about using stick-on wood grained fablon? Sounds horrible but it can be done and we’ve seen the results. It depends upon the car; it won’t work on a posh Jag dash of course but on some Triumphs you may get away with it if you takegreat care and remove the panel first before applying the covering.

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