Of all the dozens of challenges that will need to be addressed in a classic car restoration, revamping the headliner might be easily pushed down the list of priorities.
Headliner, by nature, resides in the background of the car's interior yet plays a significant part, shining a light from above.
When appraising a classic car for restoration, the headliner's chances in a highly damaged condition and needs to be repaired or even replaced is likely.
On the other hand, if the restorer strikes it lucky and the worst that they will find is the headlining may simply be discoloured after having a fair coating of nicotine applied to it.
Most drivers and their passengers tended to be heavier smokers during the Fifties and Sixties than they are today, and they left their mark.
Providing the cloth is in sound condition, headliner, even nicotine-stained can usually be brought back to top condition using a good quality carpet or upholstery cleaner.
It is more than likely that a few tears will be founf in the headliner.
If they are not too severe can be sewn together using a circular upholsters needle,although if the tear is more serious or widespread, the only reasonable alternative is to replace the old headlining with a new one.
If this is the path to be taken, great care must be taken when removing the old lining not to tear the material, as it can be used as a pattern for the replacement.
In older cars, the lists will be tacked on to wooden roof rails, although if the vehicle dates back to the Fifties or Sixties, it will be attached to a metal bar pushed through the list then either screwed or clipped to the roof.
To remove the tacks holding the metal bar, either a tack remover or, if not, a chisel and mallet will be required.The first stage is to remove the double piping around the finishing line. Next, all the tacks around the edge of the lining need to be released, beginning at the nearside front. When this part of the operation is complete, the lists should only hold the lining in position.
If the lists are secured by tacks, they should be eased out, beginning at the front of the car. In the event that the lining is held in place by metal roof bars, they should be unscrewed or unclipped according to order, rolling them up in the cloth.Once the lining has been rolled back all the way, the rear curtain can be removed. To do this, the tacks around the rear window, then the side windows, the bottom finishing line and finally the top one can be released. With the lining out of the car, now is the time to deal with any rust that may have appeared.
The first stage is to apply a rust preventing agent after which the affected area should be painted with anti-rust paint.
With the background work complete, the next stage is picking out the best material to make up the headlining.
Headliners come in various materials to match a number of options- either recovering the existing headliner replacing the headliner while retaining the current board, or a complete replacement.
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A guide to acquiring, restoring and maintaining UK or European Classic Cars of the Fifties and Sixties- as well as a recollection of the iconic cars of the era and the visionaries that produced them.