Carpet change

This is a reprint of a letter from John Wreford which appeared in the SOC magazine in May 2000:

This is for anyone contemplating changing their carpets. Last year I did, and the result is well worth the effort, but here are a few tips that might help you. I couldn't find any earlier correspondence relating to this.
First of all, I naively imagined that it would be a simple matter to pull out the old set and slot in the new. Mistake! The old set was thinner and rubber backed (1975 Mk II) and had been heat moulded to fit more easily. The new set is just flat sheet, slightly thicker, and has to be coaxed into place with repeated cutting, trimming and glueing.
The carpets were supplied by SOC Spares, with the friendly assistance of Mike Allen. I eventually used the more expensive "delux" style (£245 +VAT versus £120 otherwise) partly because of matching the original colour. Money well spent, considering the effort involved. My white car has chestnut leathercloth seats and a trim colour code of 74 which is not listed in the official parts catalogue but I think is a variant of yellow (eg 34=jasmine, 54=saffron). (since confirmed 74=beige)
I was fooled by the amount of sun bleaching and ordered beige carpets. But when I looked under the centre console cover, the original dark chocolate colour could be seen. So I returned the cheaper beige set after Mike sent me a sample of the dark brown that apparently is used in Jags as well.
The carpet sets are actually made by Brian Turner of Sittingbourne, Kent, whom I found to be very helpful with advice over the phone.

The best bet is to have a garage where both car doors can be left fully open while you do the job. It took me several days. I found it easiest with the roof off. Next remove seats etc and finally the radio and centre console. When removing the old carpets, have a good look at how they were fitted and don't throw them away just yet!
After cleaning up all the interior the initial step is to fit the piece of carpet that goes behind the heels of the rear passengers. Don't do what I did and forget to tack on the little leather triangles that cover the holes at each side under the rear seat! You can do this later but it is a lot more awkward! Start by glueing as much flat surface as you can and then gradually cut as little as possible with new Stanley knife blades to make it fit around the curves. This cannot be rushed!
I used an impact glue by Granville called Trim & Carpet Adhesive with a brush in the lid which seemed to work well. Brian said he used a commercial spray type. Beware, it is easy to forget a small piece of carpet set aside to dry for 10 mins before fixing!

After the back was fixed, I tackled the passenger side piece. I started by glueing along the sill and then tackled the area below the dash. This is quite tricky to get right, near the door hinges, but as long as you think hard before cutting, it is possible to do a reasonable job, and small errors can easily be disguised with little triangles of carpet to cover up! Before I started, I marked the position of the holes for the chrome sill finisher with plastic tape on the outside of the car. This made it easier to find the holes afterwards for the self-tapping screws. The driver's side is the exact opposite but slightly more tricky because of the pedals.
At this stage, you get a feeling for how good the car will look when finished, and the adrenalin rush helps keep you going through the tedious bits. The centre matting is fairly straightforward - glue the underlay first and then fit the carpet on top. Getting the bolts in to secure the driver's left foot rest is a bit awkward.
This brings me to another problem with a new carpet set: no holes are made for fitting seat belts etc. I presume this is so that all holes will end up in the right place for each particular car, and with a bit of care, it is not too difficult to do after taking the plunge on your first cut!

The carpet around the box section covering the seat belt fasteners is quite tricky, but because there was a slight problem with a cut on the new carpet piece which is ready stitched, Brian offered to do this for me and sent the finished article back by return post.
At the same time as changing the carpets, I wanted to replace the door seals, but initially I could get only black instead of the proper dark brown colour. After I had fitted the black ones, Mike then phoned to say that one of his suppliers had managed to find 4 sets of the original colour.
Fitting these is a relatively easy job, the tip being to have plenty of spare blades as the metal in the seal damages them and you need a perfect edge to cut the soft rubber seal. Also, be careful not to overtighten the two little screws holding the chrome cover on the top of the door pillars or they will strip their threads.

Finally, after what amounted to a lot of work, the end result was very satisfying, and, despite one or two little errors that only I can notice, the car interior is dramatically improved. On the other hand, I believe Brian will fit carpets into your car for a reasonable sum if you are reluctant to try your hand. I might have considered this if I lived a bit closer than Aberdeenshire!