A club member advised me that he had a pre-cut carpet kit for his MK 2 that had not been put into his car. That got my attention as I have been to several upholsterers attempting to get a new carpet fitted to the Mk 1 hotrod. When it comes down to the crunch of getting a start date they all seem to find that they are too busy to do it. This has been going on for over 12 months and at the mention of the pre-cut kit I thought here is an opportunity that should not be let pass. I'll have a crack at doing it myself!
Club member obligingly produced the kit and I had obtained a couple of sheets of 1/8-inch [or approximately 3 mm] plywood. We laid the carpet components out on the plywood and traced around them with a pencil. Some careful work with a band saw and subsequent sanding and a couple of coats of clear lacquer have left us in possession of a set of templates for a MK1/2 carpet. I went off to Daly's and bought 5 metres of "Fina" red carpet, which is about $20 a metre. It has a particularly good backing, which cuts well and does not need edge binding.
That all took place a few months ago and I have been trying to find time to get at the carpet problem. The Christmas break afforded the opportunity to grab a few extra days leave and after the usual household chores I was able at last to attack the car on Boxing Day. What I did not realise is the amazing number of pieces of carpet need to carpet a MK1/2. The kit contains no less than 17 pieces and even then I cut an extra 4 pieces where I believed carpet should be placed on the centre cross member supporting the front seat and on the face of the pressing supporting the rear seat.
So far I have spent about 8 hours on the job. This included removing the front seat mounting brackets, stripping them clean and recovering them in vinyl. I expect another day of work to complete the job. I am not aiming at concourse but simply want the vehicle to be neat and tidy.
I also have to re-carpet the white MK 1 3.4 and as have I advanced somewhat along the carpet laying learning curve I think it will be a much shorter job. For club members who wish to do their own thing with a MK 1/2 carpet I will eventually be willing to lend the template set.
A club member contacted me recently about recolouring interior trim items. He had found a set of original door linings for a MK 2, which were in reasonable order but were the wrong colour for his car. Could I advise him if it was possible to change the colour?
My advice was yes it is possible to change the colour. There are however a number of considerations. Are the original backing boards in good order because it is a waste of time and effort to start off with a crook sub structure, New material for backing boards is quite cheap and obtainable at Daleys auto trim supplies just south of Archerfield aerodrome on the road leading into the speedway. New boards can be cut and the old door linings transferred onto the new bases,
I also advised him of the need to clean the old door lining up so that there is no grease or oil on the vinyl. Jaguar did not use leather on the door trims. It is just English vinyl known as "Alamba". Proprietary detergents will do the cleaning trick. The vinyl should also be wiped down with "prepsol" to get rid of silicon that was pretty common in interior treatments a few years ago.
The decision should then be made whether to use "vinyl" paint or automotive lacquer. Vinyl paint is available in basic spray packs and does a good job but has a limited colour range unless you can find a paint manufacturer willing to mix it for you. Automotive lacquer is more easily mixed and matched to the colour of your desire but there are two problems. It is shiny and does tend to be less flexible. These problems can treated by adding appropriate amounts of "flattener" to get rid of the gloss and "flex aid" which stops the lacquer from going rock hard.
The trick I have learned when using automotive lacquer is to etch the vinyl with a rag soaked in thinners just prior to coating.. Immediately after wiping it down and while the vinyl is still "tacky", spray on one thin coat of colour lacquer. The next coat should also be sprayed as soon as possible after the first coat has tacked off. It is important that not too much paint build up takes place, as the "grain" of the original vinyl will be lost in the paint build up.
Whilst not being concourse this system is relatively cheap and the results can be very good in restoring door linings, arm rests, under dash cover plates and front kickboards to a sanitary serviceable condition. Old faded vinyl can also be treated this way.