Over the past year I've had a few early Porsche 911's to restore the interiors on. One was a '65 in Bahamas yellow with a black interior and the other was a '66 in Slate grey with a red interior.
In both cases I decided to use interior kits from Autos International who are reputable Porsche interior specialists. I purchased carpet, headliner and panel kits as well as seat covers and new molded latex seat foams.
While I could make all of these things from scratch, it saves a fair amount of time and money to just buy these components already sewn. Whenever I use kits from another source I always inspect the build quality and especially the stitching. I often run components through my sewing machine again just to tighten up seams that might not be up to my standard, or make alterations if necessary.
It's interesting to follow original brochure literature from the time - it shows that the carpets on these were usually black velour, the seats came with either embossed (leather or vinyl) seat centers or hounds tooth in corresponding colours.
As usual, I started by documenting and restoring all the interior components first. I strip and repaint all the seat frames, replace or restore all the seat foams and armrest foams. Then recover the various components with new leather or vinyl covers, trimmed as original with the hand stitching as required.
I always take loads of pics to capture all the trimming details as I take things apart so I can restore each component properly.
The first thing I install on the car is the headliner and all the insulation -
Then comes carpet - in both cases the customers chose to use German square weave carpet which was the Porsche factory standard on earlier cars like the 356. It's a good looking carpet and its very durable as well. The rear areas always require some work in smoothing out the contours with underlay before the carpet is glued in place.
Next step is to install the panels. First I make sure the inner door mechanisms are all installed and working smoothly. Then make sure to add vapor barrier before installing the door panels. The rear panels always require a bit of coaxing and attention to detail to get in properly. Sometimes carpet needs to be packed out in corners to avoid gaps.
I had already re-trimmed all the original waist rails and armrests so these components were all ready to install with the panels...
The dash top and lower dash surround both had to be restored and re-trimmed separately. These I restored with new foam and leather/vinyl respectively. Then re-installed to the car with the addition of some new wood and freshly restored gauges to finish the dash.
Next I finished the rear seat areas by installing all my freshly restored rear seats...
You'll notice on the '65 car in black, the rear seat cushions had leather skirts glued and hand stitched to the carpet around the lower cushions. A neat detail found on these earlier cars!
Then came time to install my finished front seats to finish off the interior..
Last but not least - the boot interior carpets were installed -
And there you have it! - 2 beautiful early Porsche 911's with freshly restored interiors.
I've always had a huge love of Porsche and the clean lines and styling of the early 911's make it a timeless classic.
It's always an honor getting to work on cars like these - Inevitably I was feeling so inspired that I went and built a few scale models of these cars as I was working on the real thing lol. But that's for another article...
Until next time -