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Headliner material


Billy Shears
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I am in the process of redoing my Avanti's interior -- almost all of it myself -- and I got a new dash pad from Dan Booth (the repros he's making on the old tooling; I'm very happy with it and it looks fantastic), and I got the interior kit from Rene Harger.  I'm about 2/3rds done now, but one thing neither Messrs. Booth nor Harger have is a headliner.  I don't really want to use the solid fiberglass pieces that Studebaker International sells.  Does anyone know of a decent facsimile of the checkerboard pattern headliner material they put on these cars from the factory?  The closest I can find is a diamond pattern, which I don't really like the looks of.

BTW: I am never restoring another old car again as long as I live!

Edited by Billy Shears
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Billy, regarding the dash pad from Dan Booth, is that the material type that adhere on top of the original dash that was molded plastic?  Im just curious as years ago when I had an Avanti II and the original dash was cracked on top, I bought a black carped type pad that used velcro to secure it to the top of the dash

thanks,  just an inquiry

Mark 

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4 hours ago, MARK said:

Billy, regarding the dash pad from Dan Booth, is that the material type that adhere on top of the original dash that was molded plastic?  Im just curious as years ago when I had an Avanti II and the original dash was cracked on top, I bought a black carped type pad that used velcro to secure it to the top of the dash

thanks,  just an inquiry

Mark 

No, it's not the carpet pad that covers the dash and conceals cracked vinyl -- my car had that sort of dash cover when I bought it; no doubt purchased because the dash was sun-damaged and cracked all to hell.  No, this is a new dash cover -- vinyl-covered foam -- that's glued on after you tear off the old, original vinyl and foam dash pad.  When the installation is done, your dash should like like it did when it came from the factory.  It's not cheap, but it costs about the same as sending it out to Just Dashes and having them recover the dashboard (which is really your only other alternative),  As I said, I bought the new dash pad from Dan and installed it myself, per his instructions, and it looks great.

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  • 1 year later...

Some old Dodge vans used the same material, but it has to be cut to Avanti size, and painted white. It was originally pressed paper and styrofoam sandwiched together.

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 4/13/2021 at 6:10 PM, goldhawk said:

Billy Shears,  Did you ever get a suitable headliner for your Avanti?  Thanks in advance,  Rich Childers      richchiders@hotmail.com

No, I never did find anything that looked original.  I did find some textured white vinyl that looks good however; it has a very small diamond pattern texture.  I was hoping to find the correct checkerboard texture, but the only thing I could ever find that looked like that was the solid fiberglass panels the SI sells, and for safety reasons I am leery of having a fiberglass piece that could potentially detach from the roof and and/or break into sharp-edged fragments in the event of an accident.  Probably not a huge worry, I know, as any accident bad enough to do that would likely cause all manner of other injuries as well, but still...  As a police officer of 20 years experience, who has worked a lot of accidents, it's not something I want to take unnecessary chances with.  Same reason I put in 3 point seat belts and Recaro seats out of a mid-eighties Avanti II (along with Avanti II rear seat armrests to conceal the seat belt reels).  I put in Avanti II sun visors too, as the originals, designed to match the contour of the overhead instrument panel pad are so small they are frankly useless.  I also had an original AM radio I bought on ebay for $25 rewired with modern electronics for AM/FM stereo, bluetooth compatibility, and an iPod jack, with 2 speakers on the kick panels, two on the rear shelf, and an Avanti II plastic tray made to fit where the original dash speaker went -- which has an added benefit that you can reach the wiper motor for maintenance through the dash now, if need be.

In the end, because of the Recaros, and the black anodized instrument overlay I bought from Dan Booth (which I think looks absolutely gorgeous installed), and the other mods, I don't mind the incorrect vinyl on the ceiling so much.  I do wish the Recaros, weren't so obviously eighties-vintage seats, as everything else in the interior looks period-correct, even if someone familiar with Avantis could spot certain elements as not factory correct; but I'm willing to accept that visual deficiency for the improved, comfort, safety, and greater range of adjustment.

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On 4/14/2021 at 9:50 AM, Avanti83 said:

As far as original, I can't help but in my 74 that has serious deviations from stock I used carpet from Menards with a tight pile.

avanti headliner.jpg

Well, there really was no "stock" in Avanti IIs.  What you have may be different from what the car originally came with, but Avanti Motors would make the interior whatever the customer wanted, offering a range of materials they had in stock, or using customer-supplied materials if that's what the buyer wanted.  Studebaker, of course, only offered a limited range of options, same as any other mass-manufactured car.   The advantage for Avanti II owners is that you can restore or modify it to be whatever you want as well, with no need to feel bad about it not being "stock."

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I recently purchased the fiberglass headliner kit from Meyer's Studebaker. A perfect match to the checkerboard headliner that was installed in my '71 Avanti. The headliner is not rigid, but very flexible and doesn't require adhesive. As far as the safety of fiberglass in the interior...guess what? The whole car is made of fiberglass, so what's the big deal? My two biggest challenges on the project so far are removing the crash pads over the driver and passenger side windows, and scraping off the adhesive used in anchoring the headliner (sound and heat proofing coming). The crash pads are attached to the body with five metal clips per side - I broke nine of the ten clips getting the pads off. Fortunately Meyer's Studebaker has them in stock. Two surprises - finding another North American Rockwell sticker above the rear window, and the hand written color choice for the headliner on the back side. This is a work in progress, so I'll post additional photos.

 

 

 

 

Edited by Desert Driver
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31 minutes ago, Desert Driver said:

As far as the safety of fiberglass in the interior...guess what? The whole car is made of fiberglass, so what's the big deal?

The big deal (which I thought I explained) is there's a difference between this and the fiberglass body, which once attached to the chassis, is integral to the car's structure, and a separate piece in the interior, held in place by nothing more than tension, and which can potentially detach.  As I said, probably it really is a non-issue, but I am already modifying the appearance of the interior in a number of other ways, so I don't really mind a slightly different appearance, which no one but an Avanti afficianado would ever notice in the first place.

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  • 1 month later...

Took a while, but I finally completed the installation of a new fiberglass headliner for my '71 Avanti, and it looks great! There are two panels - front and rear, with the roll bar separating the two. I used a thin rope to pull the rear window seal over the headliner, but could've used my finger as the seal was quite pliable. The roll bar cover was coming apart after all the years and heat. I basically rebuilt it using existing parts, silicone adhesive, Gorilla Glue tape, and straightened all the clips that hold it to the roll bar. Crash panels (above driver and passenger windows) required all new clips. The rear headliner panel was a challenge...the curl in the fiberglass had a mind of it's own. Plus it had to be shortened front to back by about an inch. Cutting fiberglass with a sharp pair of scissors while maintaining the radius for the rear window was a challenge. The last photo is of the fiberglass I cut in order to install the rear headliner (front headliner fit perfectly). On a difficulty scale of 1 to 10, the front panel was a 6 and the rear was an 8. After the installation I wrote recommendations to the instructions that came with the kit. If you want to tackle a project like this...go for it! You'll really like the finished results. And I'll be happy to share my recommendations.

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Edited by Desert Driver
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On 6/14/2021 at 8:42 PM, 1inxs said:

Nice follow up to a super helpful post. Your headliner looks fantastic, Nice Job!

Thanks...the original headliner was shot after 50 years. In spite of the complexities of the installation, this job brought a lot of satisfaction.

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12 hours ago, tanda62 said:

The headliner looks great.  What sound and heat proofing did you install?

Thx!  It's Noico Red 150mil from Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07TKXCN6F?psc=1&ref=ppx_yo2_dt_b_product_details

Not only does it reduce heat transfer, it also has sound absorption qualities. Very easy to install (press and stick) and the adhesive is super strong. Before it got blistering hot here in Phoenix (116-118 degrees), I took temperature readings in the car before the new headliner was installed. 135 degrees at the roof, 115 degrees at the roof with the Noico material installed. While the original headliner was glued to the roof, the new fiberglass headliner "floats" and is not attached to the roof. With insulation and dead space between the roof and the headliner, the temperature split will probably be greater!

 

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Edited by Desert Driver
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  • 4 weeks later...

very nice,  thanks so much for all the pictures and information. Greatly appreciated.

mark

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@Desert Driver Nice info and picts. Im about to take on this task myself. My Avanti II came with the fiberglass replacement pieces uninstalled.

Was even thinking about putting in the sticky sound deadener. I may try covering the fiberglass in some fabric first. 

Thought i mention, for anyone interested, that this company will reproduce leather almost exactly if some one was to send a sample to match for color and texture. https://relicate.com/

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