This car is basically a custom, with the aesthetic work centered around the interior. It's a hybrid of everything I like: Mobius and Japanese anime; better yet, Taiyo Matsumoto's work (Tekkonkinkreet), a Japanese anime artist who spent time in France with Mobius' cohort, making a perfect hybrid; last but not least, psychedelia, in the form of psychedelic trance, but passed through a punk cultural filter. Spare, clean, bright, brutally functional, comfortable, alien and belonging to no one time.
Super Milk Chan and late 1950's black and white sci-fi movies. That's there too. The Cold War, road trips, radiation, nuclear tourism, The Atom, (hell, toss in the Mighty Atom), LSD and magic mushrooms. Neo-Tokyo and some post-apocalypse for the hell of it.
The exterior will be more to the Mobius end, the interior more anime. Tokidoki's Cactus, while not actually anime (consistency is not a virtue), mascots during road trips. (The console still incomplete here; the Twin Stick escutcheon is horribly pitted, it's in the lab where I'm contemplating replacement solutions, and the center console door still isn't padded.) The steering wheel is from Mooneyes, and took a bunch of work to fit.
The rear seat area is more or less complete, though missing welting and windlace around the panels. The pillar seals (unique to convertibles and hardtops) have proven to be a very difficult problem; no one repro's them, though Restoration Specialties is 'working on it' (since Feb 2008) and they're tied in intimately with the windlace. I'm about to install a substandard, interim solution to at least keep winter rain out of the damn doors. The interior lamps are aircraft surplus, with glass lenses.
This car is a driver/project, so things get done incrementally on weekends. The "big chunks" are solved mostly, so I'm returning to panels and sections roughed out earlier and finishing fit and trim issues in fractal fashion.
The center console alone was a dozen hours of invisible work. It's made of molded fiberglas, but covered with a molded-on textured plastic or paint that cracked and flaked all over, and bonded poorly. I scraped it all off carefully with a razor-sharpened putty knife, epoxy filled the gouges, reattached all the broken tabs, reconstructed the crushed rear corner, and painted it all metallic silver (Montana paints) and layers of clear. It's not obvious here but I replaced all the ribbed aluminum with 26-gauge stainless sheet.
Unfortunately the vinyl I chose for the seats is not holding up well under the onslaught of SoCal sunlight. There's been a loss of gloss and UV discoloration. This winter I'll make seat covers, likely fur, for daily use.
Next to the vintage tach is a little HD camcorder on a magnetic mount.
The sound system is brutally simple. No more stereos to get stolen or huge hacked holes in the dash. A dangling cable runs into a pocket MP3 player and that's that. A four-channel brick amp lives under the glovebox (visible from the rear seat, but there's not a lot of room in a car this small!), a home-made mixer/crossover lives next to it. Left and right drive door speakers, and a third channel drives a 10" subwoofer behind the rear seat. I filled the area between the trunk and passenger compartment with a piece of 1/2" plywood to seal the trunk and mount the subwoofer.
In 2008 I attempted to recover (in both sense of the word) the original fiberglas 'liner. Disaster. It was too far gone to save; it lost all it's strength and fell on my head a month later. Mine was "popped", and could not longer support itself when help by the edges, so I fiberglassed in reinforcements. Didn't work. Here's pictures of it pre-collapse:
Dead headliner 1
Dead headliner 2
Dead headliner 3.
The current solution worked great and was very straightforward and would probably work on any car, regardless of headliner type. Too bad I didn't take photos of the construction! Basically I used aluminized quilted bubble plastic (3/8" thick or so), cut it into 12" strips a bit wider than the roof, and affixed strips one by one with silicone rubber. This not only heat insulates the roof (and to a lesser degree, sound) without making it much thicker, it allowed me to blend the roof stampings into the desired shape. Cut and trim with scissors it made for a very smooth surface upon which to affix the fabric.
I used green fake fur. This part of the job was very slow and messy and annoying but straightforward. The problem is that you need to apply glue *overhead*. This is not easy! I covered every inch of the interior with 10 mil plastic and blue tape, and sat under it myself. I ran out of silicone, was too lazy and cheap to go buy more, so I used contact cement. Ugh! Sure as hell worked though. It would soak through regular fabric; but it was fine on the fur.
I used one large piece of fur, which added to the hassle. I started at the front, and left a lot of overlap for later trimming. I applied contact cement to the insulation, then the fur, when tacky pressed it up, and moved towards the back of the car. Like I said, slow, tedious, messy, reliable. The final detail was tucking it into the clipped-on trim that held the fiberglas headliner into place using a putty knife.
(The rust and crappiness in the first photo slows the missing pillar/roof seal and the strip where windlace will go when I work it out.)
I didn't take too many construction photos. The arm-rest door-top trim was complete, but cracked from sunlight and from motion, caused by broken mounting tabs. I fixed the latter with perforated brass sheet (hobby store stuff) which makes for a good matrix to epoxy to plastic like this. I "mold" tabs using spring clamps and littl blocks of teflon plastic. Epoxy doesn't stick to it and it makes a great gluing/shaping clamp.
The plastic finish was achieved by hacksawing the hair cracks and epoxy filling, sanding with 220 grit, then painting initially with SEM plastic paint which I had laying around from my Hornet project. Then it got two fat coats of Montana Shock Green, a faint mist of some Montana silver, and a couple of coats of Montana clear. Same paint I used on the steel wheels. Looks great and holds up great.
The window fuzzies (got the kit from Restoration Specialties) required "staples" to mount. I drilled new holes with a pin vise and made staples from baling wire.
The interior of this car was entirely ruined when I got it, with no fabric or panels recoverable. It had been stored in a carport with the windows rolled down on one side, and it was moldy and rotten, but somehow, completely unrusted. The rust visible here is negligible surface rust. The two rear panels shown below were the best ones; the vinyl was in good shape but the backing was ruined.
The hardtop model was constructed from a mixture of convertible and sedan components. A very simple design with excellent finish quality, typical of Nash. That's completely unrestored; when I stripped the interior I washed it was soapy water and hosed it off. WYSIWYG.