3.8 headlining, how to for newbie

I’m on my first E-Type restoration, bought it in boxes 4 years ago. Now to the trimming, a new thing for me, and it looks complicated. I’ve bought all I need I think from BAS. The removeable stuff goes to a local trimmer, seats, center console, but I have to do the stuff on the body. Read some books and the web and feel comfortable (so far), except for headlining. So any help, with dots real close together, is appreciated. :slightly_smiling_face:

Here’s what I got, starting furthest away:
-A roll of thick material, for the center area, right? It can easily go into the gap all the way around except at the two rear corners, they are a bit narrower. How does one do the glue and enter into gap? Glue first? No glue on material pushed into gap? Or?
-Two sets of material with piping on one side. From front corner meeting at interior lamp? Material pushed into gap? And piping side, how is that attached? Is this to be done before or after cantrails?
-Just a piece of fabric, meant for trimming plate over windshield?
-Two long black strips?
-Nearest, my old plate for over windshield and to mount sunvisors.

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Hi Mikeal, Thanks for starting a new thread. The original roof lining sponge was softer than the current dense bonded foam so was probably easier to push under the edge. Trim the material to just go under the lip by about 10mm. Apply glue just up to or near the lip. You should then be able to work it under the lip. The curtain is attached before the internal cantrails. I don’t know what the thin black strip is for. Yes, the plain strip must be for the windscreen cover strip and sun visors. You probably need to cover the strip panel with thin foam first, I wouldn’t try to use the thick material there. In retrospect I would probably insert the curtains before the roof lining but then it would have to be masked to protect it from glue. I also battled with the rear corners & ended up distorting the lip a bit there, as you can see.

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I have a question about sequence I think, of the trim between roof and rear door. I’ve read books, looked at forums, and nobody seems to have what I have in that area. Note that I bought this car in boxes, so I could be missing something, or have something for wrong year that the seller had bought for it through the years.

I have the standard headlining stuff from BAS, so I have these “curtains” to be pushed into crack and then glued(?) on. On the sides, the cantrails will make it all look good, but what at the back?

I’ve seen pictures where there are two 1 ft long black metal thingies in that area? Are they there to keep trim in place? I don’t have them, and I can’t find holes in that area indicating that they have ever been there. Have they been added later than my March 63 car?

What I do have, and that I haven’t found a description of, is a long 2" wide plastic thing, red as interior, that fits around the hole for rear door. Should that go in before or after headling material, and is it holding or hiding the rear material of headlining, just like cantrails do on the side?

Sorry if it’s not clear…

Sorry, I have to correct myself. I thought I had looked and concluded I didn’t have holes for the black thingies to be attached. I do.

The other part of the question on sequence and the long red plastic thing


Mikael, do you know the build date of your '63 FHC? It influences parts of the interior kit.

I am in the midst of the interior installation presently with the exception of the seat. I sent those out. But I have finished the headliner. I will be writing a detailed article on how I accomplished it. If you can wait for that article a week or so ( but soon) it will be worth your while. You can see my headliner here:

What did you do to your E-Type today? (Part 2) - #1056 by Wiggles That is comment 1056 and then scroll down to comment 1062

If you have not, do check that your interior panels fit where they are supposed to. Mine do not and come to find that Aldridge ( my kit provider via SNGB) now admits they do not have the correct templates for my car! The problem ones are above the wheel arches and just behind the door.

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The rear hatch edge trim goes in after the headliner has been hooked onto the serrated teeth.

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Hi Scott, I can wait a week :slight_smile:

Build date is March 22 1963

At the rear of the roof, it looks like you might be missing the two separate metal pieces with the serrated edge that are pop riveted on and secure the skirt in that area, shown here (painted grey).

As you can see, the long vinyl trim for around the opening goes on first, before those metal pieces and before the skirts.

For the actual roof liner, mine was also one thick laminated piece and I installed it by myself without much trouble.

I marked a lateral and a longitudinal center line on the roof and the same center lines on the back side of the headliner. I brushed premium contact cement onto both the roof and the headliner and started by offering up the center of the headliner to the center of the roof, smoothing it out from there and tucking it in around the edges.

Here’s how it looked when done. This is an early '62 but you may have the covers on your hinges and lock. Hope that helps.

07-rear inside out

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On my FHC, these metal parts were scewed onto the metal panel underneath (which is not tyhe roof itself!):

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Ok, I’m taking this in baby steps.

-Center square headliner now in place, 95% perfect.
-I put my early-E-Type-only red plastic thingy in all around the rear hatch hole.
-And I’ve ordered the metal parts just discussed, apparently BD20266 and BD20267.

So now I wanted to try to insert the cantrail curtain. Pushing it in with the round rubbery, impossible. As per supplier instructions, entering it at cabin light and pulling around, impossible. After 10", I couldn’t move it any more, at my full force. In the end I know I will tear it.

I think the culprit is the square headliner, it’s thick due to backing material. Why? I didn’t order anything different than OEM. OEM was thinner, right? Is that all you can get these days?

Finally, a bush-repair thought, I’d like your view. Remove round rubber thing from curtains. Then I think I can push the double layer material in. When straight, add some glue on the first half inch, so it won’t be pulled out when stretching to attach at the other end. Possible? Sensible?

Or what have I missed???

Hi Mikael. I would only remove that rubber from the hem as a last resort. I did not have to do so. But I did something I think you should definitely do. I used a slide hammer to pull open the gap at the cantrail all the way around the car (not over the windshield as it is covered by the Windscreen Header Rail. Opening the gap allows you to easily insert the hem and, when in place, to slide it left and right and around that difficult rear corner.
The metal cantrail piece that is welded to the car’s roof, as I understand it, was somewhat open to allow the hem to be pushed in at the factory and once fitted, that gap was hammered so as to narrow that gap. That’s what you are encountering.
I also discovered that the metal edge that forms that gap is curled over into a sort of hook on its inside where you cannot see it. I thought that was just to eliminate a sharp edge. But, when you push the hem into that gap the edge of the wool cloth that is outside of the sewn threads needs to be fitted into that “hook”. Sort of like curling the fingers on your two hands and interlocking them. That allows you to pull very hard on the wool “skirt” and still slide it left and right. You must pull quite hard to stretch the wool to eliminate the wrinkles.
I’ll try my best to get my article out this week with pics.
Clive’s '62 FHC is wonderfully done, find his pics on the old website. My car is somewhat like Clive’s but not exact. The person you want to look to is @Harvey_Ferris as he is doing a February (?) car and has a great site with pics at https://newhillgarage.com/ Harvey’s car is more like yours and quite different from mine and Clive’s, but Harvey also discovered differences between his car and those built after March 1963. He’ll have to explain.
I’d advise you understand how the Crash Rolls (Crash Padding Assemblies) fit to the vinyl panels that they abut to especially at those rear corners and the front corners of the cantrails as you do not want to cut the wool too short!
Last comment: When fitting the skirt around the rear corners it is critical to find the centerline of that corner on the car AND on the wool skirt. Mark it with chalk (won’t hurt your wool) and try to keep those two lines close to one another. I think of the wool skirt as being like a waterfall as it goes around the corner and hangs straight down from the cantrail gap. Make that “waterfall” flow smoothly out of the gap going around the corner. Otherwise, you’ll build in a wrinkle that 'll be difficult to work out. This is, IMO, the place where you start to install the cantrail skirt.


Scot, when I first read your post, I thought thanks for lengthy answer, but a slidehammer risking denting my roof, no way. But re-reading I now understand, using it vertically pulling of course, nor forcing in horizontially. Brilliant. I’ll give that a try in a few days

The slide hammer wasn’t my idea, but rather that of Carol Cone, upholsterer extraordinaire, in Atlanta. She’s doing my seats. My car’s body is finished painted and I was worried about denting the top or spalling the paint off. Also when I used a hammer to close the gap. Neither exercise caused any damage. Not saying it won’t with your project.

Once you get the wool hem hooked into the hook edge of the cantrail you can pull it - the wool - surprisingly hard. And you need to.

Most folks I know used the teeth of BD20266 & …67 to pull and lock the wool skirt when smoothing the wrinkles. I did something different. I glued the rear edge of BD20266 and large clamps to pull that wool smooth and I marked with chalk where the corresponding wool needed to be glued let that dry for 3 minutes (Landau Top by DAP) and let the clamped wool dry overnight. Then I tucked the wool into the teeth. Gluing allowed me to pull more effectively and to keep the wool from bunching left and right. I tried it first by shoving it into the teeth…had to do that over and that was not fun.

Hhmm, sorry I simply don’t understand the last paragraph.

Let’s start over. Assuming I get the curtains in. Then, as I understand it,
-at the rear the teeth hold it (you did something different)
-at the side it’s glued to the body, but only near the edge where cantrail trim will cover it? Any foam used?
-at the corner, glued further down, long enough not to have a gap? Foam used?

Hi Mikael,
When I did the headliner on my car, I did exactly what you proposed i.e. I removed the rubber tube. I did not have to do this everywhere, only where the opening was too tight. As I recall, the double thickness of material was enough to keep it from pulling back out. At the time I did mine, I was not aware of Scott Thompsons research about the factory hammering the gap closed. If they did this on my car, they did a lousy job because the opening varies quite a bit!

Regarding the trim piece around the hatch opening, make sure it pulls completely flush into the 4 corners of the opening. If not, your hatch will not close correctly.

Talk foam for a bit. The factory used 3mm open cell foam. My supplier uses 3 mm foam. I used 3mm foam. However, it is easier to eliminate wrinkles if thicker foam is used. Some even use 1/4" foam. Where I had trouble getting the wool to fit smoothly, I added additional foam. Sometimes up to 3/16", sometimes just one extra 3mm layer. It is a judgement call. Too much foam looks puffy to my eye, too little and you’ll see all the body joints, and weld spots, etc.


I struggled with many of your same questions on my 65 FHC here. Still in progress:

Rick OBrien
65 FHC in FL

Allow me to go to another part, despite headliner heading. I have to wait for rear metal thingies before I can finish the headliner. Not wanting to be idle, I thought wheel arch cover moquette next.

Any advice, seems simple, except for the curvy surface :yum:?

Still babysteps

Start at the rear end then work your way forward, start streching it wider as you approach the front & stretch it over the front curve. Quite tricky seeing the moquette doesnt have mauch stretch. :grimacing:

Maybe obvious but start with a foam covering first. This will give you an idea of the stretching needed to make it smooth. That said, you can make cuts/darts in the foam as required to make it smooth. Similar to what Richard said, you will want to find the area of “least stretch” and lay that in, then gradually work around to the area of greatest stretch.