Saturday, February 16, 2013


…so-o-o-o-o close - but not yet finished.

Last week 2/4 to 2/9/13 Phiona was at Aatco Upholstery. The short version of this part of the restoration is that the car is STILL not completed. 


Last year in February, I ordered the interior upholstery kit from LeBaron Bonney in Massachusetts. That order came in a couple of shipments starting in March. Unfortunately, not until we got into the upholstery project did we find that we are missing some parts of the assembly. The rear seat armrest panels are missing. LeBaron Bonney are looking into it, but their records indicate that the missing parts were sent.

Those who know me should know I keep things pretty well organized in my life. All the upholstery elements were stored in the same location in my garage, including the seats which were done early on after those parts were shipped to me. So to have part of the order  turn up missing is a puzzle. I'm not sure, but I think part of the order was not delivered - at least not to my house.


LeBaron Bonney are supposedly looking into this but I've not had much communication with them to see how we can get this order completed and back on track. They are concerned about getting the same mohair fabric in the same dye lot. At this point I'm not too concerned about having an exact dye lot match. Next week I plan to touch base with them again and get this settled.

Despite the setback, I was intrigued as I helped Chuy, the upholsterer, install those parts we did have for the interior. First up was the headliner, followed by some of the rear window, quarter windows, rear corners panels. It took all week to install what we did have of the upholstery, including the rear seat carpet, footrest, front seat kick panels, etc. I had intended to install the wood grained window garnish moldings myself, but the shop wanted to do that also. I'm glad they did. Most of them were difficult to re-install, due in part to the new thickness of the upholstery. Then the door handles and window cranks were also challenging, again due to the thickness of the door panels. It took some effort, but all those pieces are now done. 

Above photos show the kick panel area, before and after.

One mishap arose. When they were ready to install the seats, and I uncovered them (having been stored under cover in my garage since last summer) I found that moths had chewed holes in some of the fabric. WHAT?? I didn't  know any moths could have gotten to the seats. But they obviously did and chowed down on the mohair. There is nothing I can do about it now and am resigned to just accept that "--it happens". But once I got the car home I liberally scattered moth balls under the from seat. I hope those little buggers are now obliterated.



After the carpet and front rubber mat were installed, interior vacuumed and awaiting the front seat.


Back home in the garage. 


This shows the area with the missing panels. 

They cover the wheel well (curved area) and provide the armrests in the rear seat area.

This next week, I hope, will start to get the issues resolved and have the missing panels made and shipped to me ASAP.

Nearing the finish line

Sunday, February 3, 2012


The old girl looks so sad, lights plucked out, handkerchief at hand to dab away the tears…

Don't worry Phiona, consider it like lasik eye surgery, which will allow you to see more brightly and clearly.

It looks like we are in the final stretch with Phiona's restoration.

After her brief (early) debut at our car show on January 19, the response from friends and others in attendance and readers of my blog have all been very positive and supportive.

On Friday, 2/1, Carl Walus came over and we got the trunk re-installed with relative ease. Then the only problem remaining was an electrical one, the headlights not lighting up and the heater motor not working.

Inside the right side headlight bucket with the nasty wiring that needed to be redone. 

The  whole assembly was removed from the stanchion, the wiring replaced and sockets repaired.

Steve Moore arrived yesterday, Saturday, 2/2/12 to help resolve what we had concluded must be a grounding situation with the headlights. Very quickly we found paint overspray on some of the terminals which we easily sanded down and made good contacts. An initial test then revealed the headlights would light up, but not all at once, nor with high or low beams, or one parking light on and the other headlight on, one headlight off, both parking lights on, one or the other headlights not functioning. It was confusing and left us scratching our heads. 

Steve showing a newly repaired light socket.

In the process of investigating the problems, Steve strongly suggested we replace one headlight's wiring (which was not done by an infamous repair shop in Tempe back in 2008). That took some time as we carefully rebuilt those connections and wiring. Carl stopped by again and also lended a hand with our project. But, still we had a problem with the right side headlight. Reluctantly we disassembled the headlight bucket and disconnected the wiring. AH HA! There we discovered more paint overspray on one of the terminals, which was easily sanded down to the bare metal contact point. Steve also carefully inspected that wiring (which was the only headlight wiring that same shop had replaced with new). Concluding it was in order and would be ok, we reassembled that headlight bucket, tightened it all down, and did a light check. Viola! ALL the lights were back online, with high and low beams, parking lights and passing beam features all functioning as intended. One taillight failed to relight however, but with some soldering, a better ground was reestablished and that light was again glowing brightly. 

By now the whole day had passed and it was already dark outside. Perfect for us to then aim the headlights.

I have the headlight lighting adjustment patterned already taped on the garage wall, so after lining the car up properly, we proceeded with adjusting the lights. Being satisfied with our days work, we finally wrapped it all up and both felt very proud of our accomplishments of the day. Now I can safely drive the car day or night.

We forgot to fiddle with the heater motor, but I'll tinker with that in the near future.

But, tomorrow, Monday, 2/4/12, I am scheduled to take Phiona to Aatco Upholstery so that they can commence installing the interior upholstery. I'm hopeful that that project can be completed in just a few days. Then all that will be left for me is to install the window garnish moldings, the front floor mat and Phiona will be done!

I'm then going to start planning a debut party for Phiona.