Interior - The Final Chapter

A whole lot has been going on since the last update. Most everything was small tasks that had to be done before the interior can be considered complete. When I left off last month I had finished the front door panels. The rear quarter panels are now complete. There were no surprises with these as you can see. Here is a shot of the outside of one of the rear quarter panels. You can see here the waterproof coating that will protect the Masonite from the elements. The covering is in the process of being trimmed, folded over, and glued in place in this photo.

Here is the completed panel.

Now, thank God, all the panels are finally finished and ready for installation. However, that will have to wait since there are a few other tasks to perform first.

One of those jobs is the sun visors. Ordinarily you would sew them by machine, but in my case even my industrial machine couldn't handle two layers of 1/4" foam and 4 layers of vinyl. Mine is an industrial clothes making machine and not an "upholstery" machine. So the solution was to hand sew these using a 3" needle borrowed from my wife. Even this was NOT an easy process. Here are the finished visors. They're done in red simply because I wanted some color to brake up the white headliner.

Another project was the arm rests. These are plastic and were originally plastic chromed but over the years that chrome just doesn't last. In my case all four were in pretty poor condition and needed to be painted, and the pads needed to be recovered. To keep with the red and white design I decided to paint the lower parts white and cover the pads with red vinyl. I found one pad to be unusable so I grabbed a piece of 1"x3" pine and made a new one. You can't tell the difference. I also covered the kick panels with the same red vinyl as the door panels and seats.

A while ago I made the decision earlier to convert the fuel system to run entirely on an electric pump. Not that there is anything wrong with the system I have now, but I would like to eventually convert to fuel injection and the simple 12 volt low amperage line I'm using now just won't cut it. Therefore I am running a higher amp line along with a relay to ensure any future pump will have enough juice to run properly. To do this a new heavy duty line was run directly from the distribution bus on the firewall to the trunk area. This will be the main power to the pump. The relay will be triggered by the previous low amp line that is being used to power the pump now. So... when the key is turned to the ON position the relay will be triggered by the low amp line from the fuse panel and the relay will then allow full 12 volt power from the battery to directly power the pump. Here is a picture of everything mounted in the trunk area.

What you see here is the relay and a separate 30 AMP fuse. The trigger wire to the relay is already fused as it is "key on" power directly from the panel. The main power is not fused since it comes directly from the main power block mounted on the firewall. This separate fuse protects that circuit.

For some reason many people look on relays as some kind of "magic" and don't understand them. It's pretty simple if you just think of them as a simple switch... which in reality is all it really is. It simply uses a low amp signal to switch on high amp power, that's all. There's no magic to it.

With this power line and relay installed I can now move on to adding some extra heat and noise insulation to the areas of the floor above the exhaust system. Since I'm cheap I just used duct insulation you can find at Home Depot, Lowes, or any home improvement store. It's an aluminum foil covered bubble wrap material that is very tough. You can walk on this stuff and it won't pop or tear and for cheap it provides adequate insulation properties. This material is simply glued down using 3m spray glue and the seams are then covered with aluminum tape.

In order to prepare for the door panel and seat installation the carpet must go in. Once again, I'm cheap so a pre-molded carpet is simply not in the budget... and it's not something you "have to have" either. After doing a quick search I found a 6'x8' indoor/outdoor closed pile carpet in the correct red color on Walmart's web site. This fit the bill and my pocket book.

The carpet will go down in sections and will be glued down just as the insulation was done. The difference will be that the edges will receive a binding to insure it won't unravel. Working from back to front the first section was to cover the step-up by the rear seat.

From there I moved to the shifter area. This section must be done in a couple different sections and this was the first section which covers the "hard part".

From there its a simple task to cut and fit the main section of the floor. However, the trans tunnel must be done before the floor. This was done in one piece cut to fit with a hand sewn binding around the shifter section. In the first pic you can see the binding and the driver's side in the second pic.

And finally the carpet was finished. The main seams will be hidden by the seats which is the same as you would find in most multi section carpet installations.

Now, after all that work it's finally time to install everything I've been working on for so long. Starting with the rear quarter interior panels. If you look close you can also see the aluminum carpet edge trim has also been installed. This was proceeded by the installation of the wind lace which runs underneath this trim panel. This panel has a couple purposes. It holds the carpet edges in place and also serves to hold the bottom of the rear quarter interior panels in place.

This panel has a couple purposes. It holds the carpet edges in place and also serves to hold the bottom of the rear quarter interior panels in place. This aluminum strip fits over the wind lace which was also installed at this time.

The front kick panels were also installed at the same time.

Time for the rear seat to be installed. It's surprisingly comfortable.

Finally its time for the front seats and door panels. What a difference a couple seats make...

The door panels were installed along with the stereo speakers, window cranks, and door handles. I also installed the driver's arm rest. I'm waiting on the proper screws to install the other three. They should be installed in a couple days.

And the final product.... Is it as nice as a professional interior? No.

Was it as expensive as a professional interior? Not on your life!

Is it a "show car" interior? Not really.

But.... does it look nice AND can I say I did it myself? Damn straight!

With the interior basically finished there really aren't that many things left to do. Paint, trim, and bumpers for sure, however before all that takes place I've decided to swap out the electric fuel pump, cam and lifters. I believe that I may have flattened a cam lobe while tuning one of the carbs I was considering using and just in case... I'm going to replace it. While I'm doing that I'll also remove the mechanical fuel pump and go ahead and install a larger/better electric pump.

That's it for this month.

Check back often for more updates...

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