The interior receives a makeover
When I first purchased my E-Type I thought that the interior was in reasonable condition - it was nicely presented and neat and tidy. Over time and on closer inspection I found rotted underlay, stains on the carpets and general deterioration in all the trim. The leather front seats had been retrimmed some years ago and didn’t require replacement and the rear seat was still in good original condition.
As I removed the full interior trim, to facilitate the replacement of the rusted floors and restoration of the engine bay, I found items that were not quite up to the standard I wanted and so I decided to restore the complete interior to outstanding condition. Follow the process through the photos in the interior photo gallery.
I purchased a roll of vinyl that closely matched the original colour and texture and remade all of the vinyl covered trims. The two sections of the dash top were recovered by “The Dashboard Doctor” (see links) using their vacuum forming process.
I obtained a roll of quality imported English wool blend carpet and made up a full set of carpets and floor mats and had a local trimmer stitch the edges in the original style. The inner sill panels and rear luggage area were originally trimmed in vinyl, however I decided to change these areas to full carpeting. Some purists may cringe at this change but in my opinion it improves the presentation, provides better sound insulation and is less prone to scuff marks, damage and tearing. I believe that this is how Jaguar should have trimmed the car originally.
Although the previous owner had the roof lining replaced it was not what I considered a quality job so that was also replaced. The car was fitted from new with a Holandia electric sliding sunroof and although still operating it required new seals and an overhaul of its mechanism. I was lucky enough to locate a sunroof expert who was also a motor trimmer and he renovated the sunroof and replaced the roof lining at the same time. While everything was removed from the roof area I cleaned, rust proofed and insulated the inside of the roof and sunroof.
While rebuilding the interior, particular attention was paid to improving sound & heat insulation, water proofing and reducing wind noise. I replaced all the rubber seals and used a number of different products to seal the body and reduce noise and heat. Modern insulation materials are far superior to the products that Jaguar used back in 1972 and they will last a lot longer too.
To improve comfort I installed a new Sony CD stereo and speakers in the original places, cruise control, alarm, immobiliser and retractable seat belts.
Fitting inertia reel seat belts
Inertia reel seat belts were an option in 1972 but my car was not factory fitted with them, so I decided to install a new set to the front. Check out the process in the interior photo gallery All the mounts were there and the slot in the rear side panel trim was provided so it was not a difficult job. I found a local supplier who made up a new set of seat belts to suit the car, including new retractor mechanisms which are still manufactured just as they were back in the 70’s. The only modification was to add an adaptor bracket to allow the retractors to be mounted backwards, inside the “B” pillar. The new seat belts are a big improvement over the old lap sash arrangement as you no longer have to twist around and search for the ends of the belts.
I didn’t refit the rear seat belts as they were very untidy and tended to get in the way. I don’t carry rear seat passengers (they would have to be very small anyway) and the rear belts were just a nuisance.
After using the car for a while I decided to further lift the quality of the interior by adding some polished timber, which was in keeping with the Jaguar saloons of the era. I replaced the vinyl centre dash instrument panel with a timber veneer and the steering wheel and “T” bar shift handle with timber replacements. Not a difficult or terribly expensive exercise but in my opinion one that really enhanced the look of the dash area. And it could all be returned back to original in the future is so desired.