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MG TD Interior Comes Together

The TD interior is almost there. Just a few details to complete but enough so there’s something to show.

I’m going to skip most of the “how to’ part on this and concentrate on the assembly order and the results. As with the top installation, starting at the right point will make all of the difference in how the work turns out. If you think of the interior assembles in layers, you’ll be a long way to understanding how things go together.

Cockpit surround, curtain box, wheel arch

Cockpit surround, curtain box, wheel arch

Cockpit Surround and Wheel Arches
Keeping the layer concept in mind, start by covering the cockpit surround. I’ve seen this done several ways—wrapping the individual parts then screwing them back on, screwing them on first then wrapping them are the two most common. I use the latter method because 1) I believe it’s the way the cars were done at the start, and 2) individually wrapping each surround piece then installing them introduces needless complexity to an otherwise simple operation.

Once the surround is finished, I moved on to the rear wheel arches by installing new padding, then the arch cover.  The trick to getting the arch seam straight is to start at the bottom and glue the material down, then give it a slight stretch and glue/staple at the other end right at the seam. Once that’s been done it’s easy to keep the seam straight and finish gluing and stapling the outer edges. At this point it’s good to remember to install the door hinges as they’ll be inaccessible once the rear quarter panels are installed.

Body Trim Roll
On the TD the body trim welt is a continuous piece running from the left rear to the right rear, completely around the cabin. I start by trimming back the welt core about an inch from an end and folding the material over to give a finished appearance. Starting at the leading edge of the cockpit surround (not the corner of the cockpit), I carefully fit the welt snug to the body, relieving with small cuts on both inside and outside corners and carefully staple it the wood using 3/8″ staples. When I arrived at the first door striker area, I marked where the welt was going to cross the striker, slit the stitching between my marks and removed the welt core as the strike will fit over the top of this. I then continued on around dash, carefully positioning the welt so it’s outer edge was flush to the edge of the cowl and stapling it to the wood.

Once you arrive at the second door latch, it’s a repeat of the process to the leading edge of the opposite cockpit surround.

Side curtain box, body welt

Side curtain box, body welt

Rear Quarters
With the wheel arches covered and the hinges installed, I fit the quarters and made any necessary adjustments, then installed them using 9/16″ staples. Before I permanently mount them, I always check there fit and make any adjustments need to make right work. With the quarters and arches complete, install the seat back escutcheons by locating and cutting small holes through the arch material and padding, inserting the backing plate from inside the wheel well, mounting the plates and securing them with acorn nuts.

Side Curtain Box
Continuing with our “top down” theme, I move on to the top of the side curtain box. Covering it is a simple affair of wrapping the vinyl. I wait to install it until after I’ve installed the box lid and the box ends so I can be sure I get the two parts to line up. Once I know the top is correctly positioned, it gets fastened to the tops of the wheel arches with  #6 slotted sheet metal screws and a finish washers (one per side). Complete the installation by stapling the lid to the rear cockpit rail (underneath). I completed the side curtain box by attaching the keeper straps 24″ apart on center. “What about the interior felt?”, you may ask. I prefer to install it after the box is complete  and the fuel tank stand-offs have been installed although it can be done before as well. Just my preference.

Front Kick Panels
With the rear complete, I move on to the front kick panels and attached door sill covers. These typically take a little bit of trimming to get to fit just right but the extra time is really worth it in terms of results. I concentrate my fitting on the curve of the panel where it meets the profile of the door opening as that’s the most visible part. Once I know I have what I want, I staple the panel through the Hide ‘Em and complete it by using brass brads to tack it to the body timber at the front (three brads). Make sure you’ve installed the windshield stanchions before you install the kicks as the screws and nuts will be inaccessible once the kick panels are in. To finish, I usually just trim the Hide ‘Em flush to the panel where they abut or where the door striker mounts.

Carpets
With the interior panels installed I move on to the carpet in this order:

  • rear bulkhead
  • front tunnel
  • rear tunnel (over the handbrake)
  • rear deck
  • center front bulkhead (small moon-shaped piece)
  • left/right rear carpets
  • passenger footrest
  • left/right front carpets

This order results in the correct relationship of overlaps and gives a factory appearance. Before I glue in the rear carpets, I install sound deadener (Hushmat or similar), to the rear of the tunnel as well. The only other trick to installing the carpets is to glues the padding to the front tunnel and front mats before you install them. I also like to staple the edges of the tunnel carpets for some added security.

The floor and deck carpets will almost always need some trimming to fit correctly. A simple way to mark them is take a small piece of soap and sharpen one end to chisel point or use tailor’s chalk if you have it handy. Either one will clean right off without any residue.

Seat Belts
If you’re installing seat belts (I did) this is a good time to do so. The Moss lap belt kit is very simple to work with. I’ve seen these done in several ways but I think the easiest and most secure method is through the rear bulkhead. I drill 3/8″ diameter holes 1″ inboard from the tunnel and quarter panel respectively and 1 3/4″ up from the floor, installing the belt end in the down position so the belt is snug to the floor. Follow the Moss instructions for the correct hardware order.

Left door w/side curtain mounted

Left door w/side curtain mounted

Door Panels
This assumes you’ve already installed and adjusted the doors, including the latches and installed the door side of the hinges.

I began by trimming and fitting the leather door top welt in the same manner as the body welt—trim back about an inch of the welt core and fold the material in. Because the leather is thicker than the vinyl, I find it’s useful to cut small vees at the welt seams to relieve the material and make it easier to fold. Once the top welt is stapled in place, I moved on to the door panel by test fitting it snug to the top welt and checking the perimeter (especially the latch area) for a good fit. Once I’m happy with the fit, I attach than panel through the Hide ‘Em with 9/16″ staples. Install the outside door handle and interior latch hardware.

Side curtain alignment

Side curtain alignment

Side curtain escutcheon

Side curtain escutcheon

Side Curtain Escutcheons
You absolutely must have the top installed to correctly position the side curtain escutcheons as you use the perimeter of the top as a method of locating them. It doesn’t matter whether you fit the front or rear curtain frame first as long as you are observant about lining them up, not only to the top edge, but also to each other. I think this job is made easier with the curtains not installed on the frames as it’s easier to see what you’re doing. Attach the escutcheons to the frames then mount the peg or slot of either the front or rear curtain frame. Align the frame with the edge of the top, correctly position each escutcheon (rears should follow the curve of the quarter panel, fronts should be square to the top door edge) and mark your holes. Remove the curtain frames, drill your holes, then install each escutcheon with slotted, oval head wood screws.

While this is, by no means, a comprehensive set of instructions on MG TD interior installation, it should give the reader a sense of the order of things as well as few of the details that, when correctly executed, really make the work right.

 

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