Interior Trim (also clutch R&R)

Messed around with the interior trim this week while awaiting parts for my clutch. I hired an excellent upholsterer to do the seats last year and he did that very well and for reasonable money but, being me, I decided to do the other stuff myself.

Most of the vinyl on a Spyder’s interior is just glued to the sheet metal and maybe screwed in with a panel screw—easy enough for a duffer like me to accomplish. The firewall, for example, seems to have just a small fold along the top. But the door tops are special.

Here’s the thing we’re copying (per The Spyder Factory):

The top rail is reportedly a piece of formed wood with thin padding, covered by vinyl. I used masonite, as I’ve had excellent results with it in other interior jobs, and assumed that when I popped the “christmas tree” clips into the door panel, it would twist a bit and conform, more or less, to the door. Wrong.

The initial effort left a 3/8-inch gap between the door and the top rail. This pic does it no justice. It grabbed your eyeballs and squeezed them, screaming “lookit this amateur bullshit kit car garbage!”

Having made the parts already, and with no extra (expensive, long-awaited) material, I had to unmake the parts to correct them.

I pulled out the staples, carefully peeled the vinyl off the masonite from the back, and added a length of windshield washer tubing along the tops of the rails, then folded and stretched the material back over those before test fitting, removing, and then gluing and stapling it all back together.

It’s not perfect, but it fills the gap so it no longer assaults your eyes.

That roll on the end was another whole thing. It’s just a bit of material, wrapped around a rubber tube (garden soaker hose in this case), with near-half-round pieces of aluminum tubing cut, bent, drilled and fitted.

The part was added to later Spyders (some time after chassis 0030?) apparently to stop air streaming in between the body and the front of the door. The lower “Nabisco corner” was riveted in about then too, no doubt for the same reason.

They’re details I’ve not seen on any fiberglass replica.

With the door tops done I can turned my attention to the rocker boxes and the firewall, which are the last two upholstery parts the car will need.

I’ve already made the lower firewall part into the elaborately hammered shape of the original, using insulation panels, wood and masonite to build it up, then laying the vinyl over that and (trying) to make it conform with the help of some frying pans…

Rough fit, with the seats in…



…any wrinkles will be hard to notice (as will the correct(ish) shape!) I do plan to try to smooth this a bit more with a heat gun or hair dryer before final assembly.

Here’s Rainer Cooney’s gold standard copy of 550-0090 showing how the bent firewall fits behind the seats:

I’ll fold my top firewall piece over some fender welt and staple the velcro just below it, to hide the velcro and allow the vinyl to conform to the overhang above the firewall. All this will be removable in about 20 minutes for those who prefer the “just raced” look of painted aluminum and exposed rivets.

Yesterday I also put the early clutch adaptor ring on my clutch and mated the engine to the transaxle.

I tested the clutch mechanism this time with a long box end wrench. It works.

Waiting now on a bit of AN8 braided steel to (again) redo the oil lines. I’ll probably paint the chassis again and clean the engine real tidy like as well before reinstalling everything and re-setting the alignment.



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