Seats - Teardown

The seats from my car were swapped with the seats from car 104116 when it was restored many years ago, along with the rest of the interior. Thus the interior from car 104116 was given to me to help with the restoration of my car. The only items I will be retaining are the seat frames, as the rest of the interior will be completely renewed.

Interestingly the seats from 104116 were re-covered in vinyl back in 1971. I am guessing this based on what I found when I stripped the seats apart, as I found written on one of the covers "Les Kellett, St Kilda, 17th May 1971". From outside appearance the seats did not seem too bad - scruffy perhaps - but reasonably solid. However, once I stripped off the covers and seat foams their true condition soon became apparent.

Both seat bases were quite rusty, one was saveable but the other was rusted through and needed to be cut out and replaced. The seat frames were ok, just surface rust, as were the seat back shells - rusty but saveable.

Seats were recovered in vinyl back in 1971
As can be seen seats are very scruffy
The rust is of concern
Completely rotten, but all I want are the seat frames
Evidence of seats being recovered - Les Kellet 1971 - written inside the seat back
Seat backs are rusty but should clean up ok
One seat base is rusted through
Luckily just surface rust

Seat Bases - Repair

While the seat runners were off being plated I started work on making a new seat base. The first job was to unpick the spotwelds holding the steel base to the frame. I then made cardboard templates based on the original seat base.

Once the new seat base was cut and folded it was then plug welded to the frame. The seat backs and bases were then sent off for sand blasting before being painted in 2-pack black. Some rust proofing was applied to the inside of the tubular frame, and they're now ready to be re covered with new foam and leather covers.

Seat base is rusted through
Seat base removed from its frame
New base marked out ready for folding
New base folded and ready to be fitted to its frame
New seat base fitted and ready to be welded in
Painted in 2-pack - as good as new!

Seat Backs - Repair

The seat backs were in reasonable condition, so were professionally sandblsted and painted in 2-pack black.

The timber strips used for stapling the trim were rotten and mostly fell apart. I made new strips using 3mm plywood, bent to shape through soaking in water and heating where ppropriate. Once the basic shape had been achieved I clamped the strips into position and then riveted them into place.

The whole process was very time consuming and took well over a week to complete. I used nickel coated rivets in place of the original copper rivets which were destroyed when disassembling the seats.

Tracing out where timber acking pieces need to go
Replacement strips clamped in place
Front replacements riveted and clamped in position
One seat back completed
Almost complete

Seat Components

I understand the seat runners that are screwed to the floor are hard to find. Luckily mine were in reasonable condition. The same can also be said for the adjuster mechanism that bolts to the seat frames. Now that they have been zinc plated they look brand new, with the writing on the adjuster lever clearly visble - LEVEROLL.

The seat runners have ben refitted to the car using the original countersunk slotted screws which were also zinc coated. The bolts and washers for the adjusters were also sinc coated, but I've decided to replace the seatback pivot bolts with new stainless steel reproductions.

Seat adjusters grubby but serviceable
Fresh from zinc plating
The plating process highlights intricate detail
Seat runners are also serviceable and will be sent for plating
Seat runners zinc plated and refitted in the car

Seats - Complete

Once I had repaired the seat bases and the seat backs I started looking at fitting the new foams and covers supplied by Bryan Purves in the UK. Bryan talked me through the process over a couple of phone calls, but in the end I decided to have the work done by a professional. While I think I could have made a reasonable job of them the car is looking so good that anything less than perfect would not do justice to it. In the end that decision turned out to be the right one as the seats look superb.

Tired and tatty seat recovered in vinyl in 1971
New seat back covers and foams
New foam seat base
Trim materials supplied by Bryan Purves in the UK
Ready to install in the car


I'm nearly ready to fit the dash panel back into the car. Before I do I need to sort out something with the glovebox, as trying to screw the glovebox to the back of the dash once it's back n the car will be a bit of a nightmare.

The original glovebox has mostly disintegrated and is beyond repair. I bought a replacement, but it's not quite up to the standard of the rest of the car as the flocking material has a number of splits and cracks. Even though these will only be partially visible when the glovebox is open, I decided to make my own.

I started with a sheet of lightweight aluminium and folded and bent it to the correct shape, making sure it fits the aperture in the glovebox perfectly. When I had the correct shape I riveted the seam together, then made a thin plywood back. I lined the inside with black felt as well as the plywood back. Once this was done I fitted the back into position and screwed them together.

The end result is a lightweight, water-resistant glovebox, for the sum total of $28.00 including screws, felt, rivets, glue and the aluminium sheet.

Remains of original glovebox
Aluminium sheet folded and bent to shape
Riveted together and lined with black felt
Lightweight, water resistant, and ready to fit to the dash facia

Glovebox lid

Restoring the glovebox lid was straightforward, if not time consuming. The original lid was complete, and my intention was to simply recover it. I discovered though when removing the original covering that the plywood was delaminating. I thought about re-glueing it, but it was slightly warped and would need to be clamped. It was fixable, but would it last? I decided to make a new one. I made about 4 before I was happy with the fit and finish. I wanted it to fit perfectly with a nice even gap all round. I had to use new hinges as I only had one broken orignal that came with the car. Replacements are not available, so I spent many weeks scouring the internew looking for new hinges of a similar size. At one stage I thought about cutting down a piano hinge, but I eventually found some hinges here in Sydney that would suit. They were exactly the same length as he originals and only 5 mm deeper, which would present no problem. The hole positions were different to the original, which meant filling the holes in the dash and drilling new ones. 

Once I had the new lid to the exact dimensions I needed, it was ready to be covered. I decided on getting professional help for this, as it is visible on both the front and the back, so it has to be perfect. Takis Pallas at All Classic Cars did a superb job. I could have probably done this myself but I didn't want to risk damaging the leather as I only had one piece to use.

Once covered I then needed to fit the hinges and attach it to the dashboard. This turned out to be a time consuming task, as to get it to fit perfectly I had to unpick the leather cover and insert a small shim I'd made to get the hinge to sit correctly. The effort was worth it in the end as it opens and shuts beautifully.

Tatty but complete original glovebox lid
Unfortunately the plywood is delaminating
Trial fiting one of the five lids I made
The final product - now fitting the hinges
New lid screwed into position
Old vs new prior to fitting
In the car and looking terrific

Doors - Before

The doors were completely dismantled when I bought the car. While in reasonable condition, they still required a number of repairs. The tops of both doors where the chrome frame protrudes past the glass aperture needed work, and the section where the door silencers mount, as these had been removed completely. It also transpired that one of the door silencer sets was missing (body and door) and needed to be sourced. No longer available, I managed to track some down in Holland, a big thankyou to Ab Hennekes for sending me the last set that he had.

Repairs were also needed where the door glass runners bolt into the bottom section of the door. I'm guessing these are a weak point, as it looks like these had been repaired previously. I've now redone them and added in some additional strengthening.

Once all the repairs had been made to the doors they were trial fitted to the car. The door silencers were assembled to ensure they were in the correct position. Once it was determined that all was in order they were removed from the car ready for painting.

Both doors missing door silencer section
Missing door silencer
Door silencer internal parts were with the car
Previous shoddy repair to door frame mount
Repairs needed to the tops of both doors

Doors - After

Before the doors could be reassembled all the internal components needed to be restored. Luckily all the door mechanisms that came with the car and were in reasonable condition. Most of the parts were sent off for zinc plating, and those remaining I soda blasted, painted and lubricated where appropriate. I could now start on the reassembly. 

After trial and error I found that the correct order to fir the various components was: door check straps, door handle, door lock mechanism, glass slider channels, window winder mechanism and glass, door top trims.

The only issue I encountered during the assembly was that arms on one of the window winder mechanisms was slightly bent, and was only discovered when the door had been assembled with the glass in place. As the window glass was raised and lowered the edge of the lifting arm would hit the arm of the door lock mechanism inside the door. The only option was to remove the winder mechanism from the car, but once done it was easy to straighten and reinstall in the door. All moving parts were oiled and greased as appropriate before installation.

New stainless steel door lock covers were used as the originals were battered and bent, the same for the trims on top of the doors. These were replaced with new stainless steel items as the originals were too far gone.

Door silencer repairs completed
Door glass and mechanism installed
Staimless steel top trims last items to be installed
New door lock cover plates
Completed door ready to be put back on the car
New stainless dor trim tops in place

Door Components

As mentioned most of the internal components were sent off for zinc plating. The door silencers were sent off to be chromed. I was really pleased with how these turned out, they came up like brand new. The door handles were a little too far gone to be re-chromed, so new replacement handles were purchased from David Manners.

Some of the teeth on one of the door winder mechanisims were bent, I suspect from being dropped while out of the car (they've been off the car for over 40 years). These were easily straightened, and the winding mechanism winds up and down smoothly as you would expect. The door check straps were in rusty condition but responded well to zinc plating. I made new rubber buffers out of soft, thick rubber purchased from the local hardware store.

The door check straps were in rusty condition but responded well to zinc plating. I made new rubber buffers out of soft, thick rubber purchased from the local hardware store.

The windows also needed work. The chrome frames were in good condition and just needed to be re-chromed. The glass bottom channels were left in place, but were rubbed back to bare metal, primed and painted. The glass sits in the channel which is lined by thin rubber. I trimmed this back to the top edge of the channel, then ran a thin smear of silicon over the gap between the glass and the steel channel where the rubber sits to stop water seeping into this area when it runs down the glass.

Door check straps rusty but salvagable
Window winder mechanisms were in good condition
Window winder mechanisms were zinc plated and painted where appropriate
Glass channels prior to being rubbed back to bare metal
A thin smear of silicon along the tops of the channel should prevent water ingress between the glass, the rubber and the steel channel


Although very dsty and dirty, the timber plywood dashboard was complete and in good condition. To remove it from the car I first had to disconnect all the wiring and remove the instrument panel. When that was done it was a simple matter of removing the 4 screws that secured the dash to the car. After a good clean it came up looking very presentable (not that you will actually see it). The original leather covered dash facia was beyond repair. I set about making a new one using the plywood dashboard as a template. I carefully cut the new facia to shape so it was a perfect fit over the top of the old dashboard. Getting this righ proved a ittle difficult, and it wasn't until the 4th attemmpt did I end up with a dash facia that I was happy with.

A trial fit of the clips that would secure the facia to the dashboard highlighted a problem. Due to the age of the plywood, the trim clips on the facia started to pull out the steel inserts on the plywood. I decided to use long countersunk screws in the facia that would protrude through the dashboard plywood and be secued from behind using wing nuts. I bonded these to the dash facia using a thin layer of fibreglass. This will stop them from rotating as the wingnuts are losened or tightened, as obviously there is no access from the front once covered.

The crash rail was covered and fitted first, then the facia. this way I could be sure of a nice, snug fit with no gaps. As it was I had to make a few tweaks to the top of the facia to get this right. Once that was correct the dash facia could then be covered. We first glued a layer of foam to the front and trimmed it back to size. The leather was then positioned over and carefully stretched and glued into place. While this sounds like a simple process, in reality it took 4 days, as the leather had to be carefully stretched into place. It was a nightmare of a job in reality. The end result though was worth it, as we managed to get a perfect fit. A big thankyou to my wife Tracey who did all the work.

Tatty but otherwise complete dashboard
Timber is in good condition and just needs a good clean
Original factor markings
Getting ready to make a new facia board
Crash rail, dashboard after cleaning, new and old dash facia panels
Making sure the glove box apeerture looks right
Fitting the sponge backing
Covering the dash facia with new leather, which was not an easy task!
Trial fitting to ensure the correct gap between the dash and the crash rail
Installed back in the car and looking terrific

Crash Rail

While covering the crash rail appeared to be a straight-forward process, it turned out to be more difficult than we imagined. The first task was to remove the old foam and the mirror mounting block - which I could see was mounted at a slight angle. I then stripped the steel back to bare metal and primed and painted it in black enamel paint. This was where I was to encounter my first real problem, as when trying to bond the new rubber to the steel, the solvents in the glue reacted with the paint, disolving it, making it peel away from the steel. I tried stripping it back twice and using two other different types of primer and topcoat, but the problem persisted. In the end I stripped it back and had it painted in 2 pack black. This cured the problem.

Then next issue I had to deal with was the mirror mounting block. This was mounted at an angle and would cause a bulge on the leather when covered. While it may have been quicker to simply make a new timber block, I wanted to keep the original. I filled the holes with resin, and once dry I then mounted the timber block in the correct position and the drillled new holes. Now it's nice and straight! I then trial fitted the new mirror, and could see that the holes for it were also crooked! It appears not a lot of attention was paid at the factory when putting these cars together (at least my car). Once again out with the resin to fill in those holes and new ones drilled in the correct position.

With the mirror block in position I then glued the new rubber in place and trimmed it to size at the ends. This is when the real fun began, trying to stretch the new cover into position. On first examination we could not see how it was going to fit as it was several inches too short. We spent many hours over the next 2 days stretching and pulling the leather into position, but we eventually got there. What didn't help is the car is not symetrical. There is plenty of clearance on the passenger side near the screen pillar but it's extremely tight on the driver's side. After a good deal of coaxing we managed to get it fitted without doing any damage. We're happy with the result.

Crash rail prior to cleaing and painting
Stud threads needed a good clean
Crash rail mount for mirror - note it's not straight!
Mirror mount viewed from behind
Stretching and shaping proved to be a bit of a challenge
Stretching the leather cover into position
Painted in 2-pack black to allow the glue to adhere properly
Tarby the cat helping out as usual
I'm only trying to help
Trial fitting against the facia panel prior to installation in the car
Making sure the gap between the dash facia and the crash rail is correct

Transmission Tunnel

The gearbox tunnel was in reasonably good shape. It needed a good clean, wich invloved removing 40+ years of dirt and grime, as well as the remnants of old glue and carpet. Once clean I could see that only a few minor repairs were needed, mostly around the screw holes where the tunnnel bolts to the floor of the car. I repaired these in fibreglass and then trial fitted it to the car to ensure it would fit correctly. Once satisfied the next steps were to paint the tunnel and to fit some heat shielding. The topside was painted with black gloss, while the inside was painted with heat reflective aluminum paint. I then riveted some aluminium heat shields along the inside of both sides. How much effect this will have remains to be seen.

Now came what turned out to be the challenging part - fitting the carpet and gear level gaiter. As I was fitting a trim kit, the carpet tunnel had already been sewn together. All I needed to do was place it in position over the tunnel and cut the holes. It sounds simple in principle, but the reality was rather more difficult. There is a raised circular plinth for the gear lever aperture, so you can't position the carpet in the exact position where the downward fold of the carpet meets the back of the ashtray. What made things worse was the narrow strip of carpet that would remain between the ashtray and the gearlever aperture. If this was cut too narrow it would be difficult to put right, and would be very unsightly. I was mindful that I would only get one chance to get this right, as any mistake would potentially mean a new carpet cover would be needed, and I did not have any spare carpet for this. I messed about for a few days with scrap pieces of carpet cutting holes and trying to get used to how and where the holes should be cut. It soon became clear that the new carpet would have to be slightly altered and restitched to get it to fit correctly around the rear of the ashtray where it meets the floor of the car, so in the end I decided to let a professional trimmer do the job. I am glad I did as the end reult looks superb. I"ve come this far with the car, it would be a pity to mess up at this stage. There are many things I am happy to do, but there are times when it's best to have an expert do the work.

Fibreglass cleaned of all dirt and previous carpet and glue remnants
Very few repairs were needed, mostly around the screw holes on the base
The top side was painted in black
The interior was painted with heat reflective paint and aluminium sheilds rivited into place (not shown)
The old carpet shows how little room for error there is in cutting the gearbox and ashtray apertures.
The new carpet was fitted professionally. The result is superb.
The carpet fits snugly over the tunnel with no unsigh;tly bulges or bagginess.

Rear Seat, Parcel Tray and Carpet

I purchased the trim kit from Bryan Purves in the UK (now sadly deceased) which had everything we would need to retrim the entire car. My wife and I started with what looked to be the easiest place to start, which was the dashboard. I had to make a new dash facia and glovebox lid, which was a challenge in itself. My wife and I spent quite a few days covering the dashboard and fitting it to the car, and we're more than happy withthe result. We decided however on getting the remainder of the trim professionally done. While we were more than willing to have a go, the car was now at a standard where we didn't want our lack of skill to detract from the final result. Tony Dixon from Brookvale on Sydney's northern beaches did a fantastic job. Tony had previiously fitted the seat trim covers for us so he was familiar with the car.

The first job for Tony was to fit the rear wheel arch covers, which were straightforward. This is where the fun ended, as the rear seat proved to be a bit of a challenge. Tony had to cut and restitch several areas to get it to fit right. With that finally done he then fitted the rear parcel tray and side trims. The next job were the floor carpets and A-Post trims. The floor carpets needed some minor changes and posed no real problem, but the A-Post carpets were difficult to fit and to get right, but Tony's skills won out in the end. I fitted the  black hardura mats to the driver's side firewall and to the passenger side which covered the underside of the battery tray. Tony fitted the handbrake cover and gear lever gaitor, and covered the floor where the seat runners bolt in, which looked a bit bare beforehand. The final task was to fit some sill covers that were supplied by Bryan and the door trims. 

The final result is simply amazing, photos don't do it justice. I am glad I had most of the work professionally done, a big thankyou to Tony Dixon for his skill and patience.

Interior trim came as a kit from Bryan Purves in the UK
The rear seat needed some alterations to get it to fit properly
Rear seat and parcel tray fitted and looking awasome
Seat runner mounts were covered in leather
A Post carpets proved difficult to get right
Black hardura mat was used on the firewall
Laser etched stainless sill covers supplied by Bryan Purves in the UK
All complete! Tony Dixon did an amazing job.

Hood, Hood Bag and Tonneau Cover

Along with the trim kit supplied with the car came a replacement mohair hood, tonneau cover and hood bag. Again it was a simple decision to have Tony Dixon fit these, especially the hood which can prove difficult. 

The original hood frame was complete and in good condition. It was sandblasted and painted its original colour in 2-pack. Unfortunately the hood frame timber had dry rot in each end and needed to be replaced. I was a bit aprehensive about where I was going to find one as Bryan had passed away. I contacted Bryan's wife Liz who checked through his stock and found one, much to my relief. This arrived a week later so there was no delay in keeping the work going.

Fitting the hood to the car was a real challenge. Tony managed to get it stretched into position where we left it for a few weeks so it would 'remember' its position. We were able to use the original catches which I had rechromed several years earlier, which was a nice touch. Once he had the hood right Tony then worked on fitting the hood bag and tonneau cover, which proved to be straightforward.

Hood frame, tatty but complete
Some minor surface rust in places
Dry rot on the old hood rail timber necessitated a replacement
In the spray booth being painted in its original colour
Original screen latches were reused after rechroming
Trimming the front edge to length
Leaving it in place for a few weeks to stretch into position
Tony Dixon fitting the tonneau cover
The hood bag fitted and looking terrific
The final result