Mark IV headliner plywood backing

I am having my Mark IV sedan re-upholstered. Next to the sunroof, the headliner turns from above the sidewindows and goes across the windscreen. That front corner must have some support to guide the headliner. In particular the headliner should curve as it meets the windscreen.
Any ideas would be appreciated.

It has a “Millboard” type piece to give the correct shape.

Surprisingly the headlining material extends forward and is glued into the windscreen trough.



Thank you for your reply. I found a car with a great headliner. It has a metal strip to let the headliner curve around the corner of the windscreen. I will try to duplicate that system.

Hello Peter,
After much playing with aluminum, I am finding that gluing the headliner to the windscreen support may indeed be the answer. I can’t get your picture to enlarge. Is the headliner glued to the metal for the entire length of the windscreen or just on the rounded corner of the windscreen? This corner has been causing the most confusion. If I glue it, will the glue saturate the material and show? I do have thin plywood covering the majority of the area as your picture shows.
I made an aluminum piece to create this curve but I think it gets in the way rather than being a help.

Hi Dennis,

It’s 30 years since I did mine and I based it on a lining removed from a MkIV. I’m afraid it’s not the neatest but you don’t see most of the horrors when the windscreen is closed.

I took photos of the rear section as I installed it but not the front section.

Someone else may have better photos.

I based the piping on a black & white factory photo of a white car with light coloured leather seats. I should have made the piping for my car with green Rexine but didn’t realise that at the time.

Here’s a more professional effort. There is no supporting board around the corner region. The card support stops at right angles approximately coincident with the sun roof corner.



As Peter has mentioned - when I first stripped my 1948 MK IV the headliner was indeed glued into the top corners of the windscreen opening. The downward side trims also had front edge beading and along the front of the dashboard, which is really the only aspect you actually see - as the opening front windscreen does not open up wide enough to look up into the top corners to see the glued in material.

Here are some photos I took when initially taking out the windscreen, etc before restoration:

Here is mine, untouched since it was built in about December 1937 as best I can tell.
It feels like there must be plywood under there. There is plywood with all the other interior trim pieces.

Thank you all for the great pictures. What I have learned is that I am trying to copy an upholstery job that has been modified. Somehow they were able to do the whole thing in one piece. Your information gives me the freedom to make it original or try the modification pictured here.
Much Thanks,

Hmm, I wonder if it was copied from, or a predecessor to, the Mark V, which was all one piece.

I think Rob’s headlining is unusual in having a separate front piece. Here is a factory photo of a 1936 car.

and here is an unrestored MkIV.

and a 1938 unrestored car.

…but I think this one is missing a hoop.


My car’s was all one piece from below the rear window to the windscreen. My original had suffered the deterioration of time, plus a moth’s family banquet. I found the re-installation simpler than I imagined, considering I had never done any before. I only had to engage the motor trimmer for sewing the two ‘tubes’ for the bows. I laid out the original on the lounge room floor to replicate the pattern. The cut out for the sunroof provides the sun visor coverings.

Tensioning as you proceed is absolutely crucial to achieving a professional finish. I can describe the sequence if anyone needs it.


Regarding the plywood piece above the sun visors. Does the headliner also glue into the windscreen channel and cross the plywood to the sunroof…….or, does the headliner go up at the windscreen and double back and glue to the top side of the plywood?

I’ll check later today. I replicated everything that the original displayed.

It is folded back over the forward edge of the ply backing panel and glued. The panel is held in place by the various fittings screws.

Somewhere I have a cutting layout plan for the entire Mk IV headlining fabric. I’ll see if I can find it and post it up. A few hints:

  • don’t cut out the rear window and skylight openings until the whole panel is fixed fore/aft, left/right. You can’t tension it properly with holes in it.
  • replace the thicker ply strips behind the outer 3mm covered strips up the A pillar over to the C pillar, unless they are in excellent condition.
  • make sure the threads in the bows are clear to take the blind cord eyelets.
  • don’t be tempted to put thick padding on the covered strips. It only needs a thin layer of felt (available at fabric, and maybe some hobby shops).

My belief after examining an original headlining on a MkIV was that it was glued into the windscreen channel. Yes, that surprised me too.


Hello Peter,
The sequence of steps would be helpful, especially the front. I gave the car to an upholsterer, and he threw away the original headliner. Then, he made a headliner that was flat from front to back…no rise at the back of the sun roof. Now I am on my own.

That’s a shame. Unless they are instructed in detail, and you check as they go, you get the cheap version. Because the step has been omitted, the headlining fabric will be too short to complete the job correctly. However, it might be possible to retrieve the situation by replacing the fabric from the windscreen back to the step, with both cut edges concealed behind the transom timber piece.

Unfortunately, I didn’t take progress photos at the time, so I will have to describe it as best as I can from my aging memory. I will be doing my other car - next year- and will be more fastidious with record keeping. I will do the write-up in a later post.

Firstly, were the original 1/2" × 1/8" steel bows installed? And has the timber trimmer, the transom piece, been reinstalled? These items are critical for correct tensioning.