Shades of Green,
Over the past year I carefully produced a complete interior for a 1955 BN1, owned by Healey 100 expert, Curt Arndt.
Curt has been meticulously researching and restoring his BN1 for the past 30yrs!
and he has contributed countless articles and information to various Healey forums, magazines, and Concours guidelines.
He's collected lots of rare original parts and materials over the years, and has become a specialist in various things like restoring & identifying fastener hardware and their finishes, restoring Healey tool kits and components, as well as restoring Healey horn/trafficator units.
Having just purchased my own BN1 project around the same time he originally contacted me, we've been able to work out a nice trade deal for getting his interior done in exchange for several "unobtanium" original parts I was needing for my own cars restoration.
Curt's BN1 is painted in a beautiful creamy Old English White with the green interior...
Unfortunately the green is a lot harder to do right these days because some of the materials originally used are no longer available in the correct shades of green.
This requires some extra expense in custom dying which is no problem in most cases...
Fortunately when Curt contacted me to do his interior, he had already accumulated most of the correct materials to make his interior with!
-He had a complete Armacord set already cut & had already been custom dyed to the correct shade of green.
-He had a roll of the correct shade and type of dark green vinyl ready to go.
-He'd even found an original roll of NOS green Karvel carpet - which for those who don't know, is completely unavailable in green anymore!
Having all these raw materials already sourced, he just needed me to upholster and trim it all correctly.
I did source some dark green Everflex for his weather equipment, and a good matching hyde of dark green leather for his seats.
Then I got to work sewing and making all the interior components by hand...
I started by making his new tonneau cover:
Curt even sent me his original late BN1/BN2 style tonneau cover for reference.
Unfortunately the green Everflex vinyl used for all the weather equipment is only available in this darker shade of Everflex. The original was a much lighter 'Sage green', but unfortunately the Sage is just not available without custom dying.
As a professional I advised against dying the Everflex for risk of it cracking and flaking with general use. Things like tops and tonneaus that deal with weather & have to fold and stretch often, don't generally last long when they're dyed.
With that compromise settled I made him a new tonneau cover that was accurate in every other detail, including the correct style of "lightning" zipper -
Curt even has the original early Tenax snaps that have been carefully replated in Nickel for when we eventually install it on the car-
Next I made him a new interior panel kit: I cut new wood panels out of 1/8" birch ply with the edges sanded round as original. Then I trimmed the panels in green vinyl, using very thin coach-wadding to pad the door panels, and sewing a suede-like material to the lower insides of the panels as original...
Next I did all of the sewn assembly, and hand-rolled binding of all his previously dyed Armacord linings for the boot and rear cockpit...
Curt sent me all his steel interior components already painted in the correct dark brown, so I could trim items such as this battery box lid...
Next came the carpet:
While Curt had miraculously found a roll of original green Karvel carpet, it turned out that the shade of green just wasn't the right shade for what was orignally found in his car...
-Here you can see his original carpet on the left and the NOS carpet he found on the right...
I decided to dye the Karvel, and was surprised to find only a few green dye options available - We decided to go with the upper/darker shade shown in the middle here:
I cut a complete carpet set from his NOS green carpet and then custom dyed it all to be closer to the original shade. Then I bound and trimmed his removable tunnel sections as original...
Here you can see all the interior linings coming together, with the dark green vinyl panels, custom dyed Karvel, and custom dyed Armacord. Make no mistake, this is what an original green interior should look like on a Healey 100:
Next in line was the seats; I purchased a hyde of dark green leather that beautifully matched the green vinyl and had the right natural grain texture to it. I got to work cutting and sewing the new seat covers with vinyl piping and using coach wadding in the pleats as original...
I made new seat foams by hand, adding the square cutouts to the cushion bottoms as original to make them soft and squishy like the original Dunlopillow.
The covers were hand tacked as original and I even added the 'BN' scribble that was found on his originals...
With the interior components all finished and ready to go, I shipped it all back to Curt's home in California...
...5 months later as the snow was beginning to fall in my home town of Victoria, Curt invited me down to his home in sunny California to install it all in his beautiful car!
It was a wonderful and educational working holiday installing his interior and talking Healey details with him and several other local Healey owners who stopped by to visit!
Here's what I was able to get done in the 4 days I was there:
- the top and weather equipment will be added at a later date when he has the rest of the materials and hardware to finish.
I started with installing all the boot Armacord....
Followed by the sill carpets, rear tunnel, wheel arch covers and rear cockpit Armacord...
Next I installed all the jute insulation and carpets...
I added the armrest, seat belts, and underseat Armacord...
And finally, the seats...
As I was finishing up on the last day, we rolled the car outside to get some good shots of it in the sun - the beautiful creamy shade of OEW paint is spot on and it looks elegant with the dark green interior! - What a gorgeous colour combination!
For a 30yr long restoration - this BN1 is almost done! It's just down to some minor details and weather equipment now.
It's always an honour getting to work on cars like this, that have been so meticulously restored and done right!
I'm grateful for the opportunity to add my part the Rightway -
Thanks again Curt and Nancy for being such wonderful hosts!
Until next time -
9/6/2019 10:05:37 am
Do you happen to have a similar photo shots of an interior for the Longbridge 100 Six BN4?
12/11/2020 09:02:54 pm
Regarding the two shades of green Karvel carpet that Geoff mentions, they are specifically denoted as H3 and H5 respectively. The correct shade used in Austin Healey 100s was H3 which was darker and has a blue / green hue, very much like a "Spruce" green. The Karvel carpet that I sourced years ago was the H5 variant and is lighter with a yellow hue. Since my H5 carpet is lighter, it was easier for Geoff to dye the carpet the darker shade of green.
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