The leather Recaro seats were sent away to Bob Hammond who owns Hammond’s Trimmers and Upholsterers in Peterborough. It was a long job, taking over three months to complete. Fortunately this all happened during the winter when the Car was in hibernation.
With the seats away I removed and recovered the centre console with a stitched leather kit. This included new leather handbrake and gear knob gaiter. It was a complete labour of love because despite the kit fitting quite well it still required lots of small adjustments and cuts. Oh and lots and lots of Evostik (can I recommend the “Time Bomb” stuff as it is much easier to apply and manipulate).
With the centre console out of the car, I also removed the handbrake switch and cleaned in tin WD40 which returned it back to life. This is a very tricky switch to access so make sure you give it some TLC during the removal of the console!
The clock has to come out to remove the console and this was carefully stripped and cleaned as the glass had a lot of gunk on the inside. This requires a bit of tin opening and care not to damage anything.
Next job was to remove the dashboard and restore this. Again I used a pre-made leather kit. Before this was fitted I used some filler on the cracked and damaged parts with a lot of sanding to make sure the dash was nice and smooth.
The dashboard was recovered with its leather skin. As I predicted it was a complete nightmare but it is done and looks pretty cool. It is a very curvy shape and consequently needed a lot of adjustment cutting and trimming. I managed to refit the dash and got the rest of the parts all back together again. Everything (touch wood) seems to work for the time being. Worst bit was getting the black dash front back in place without ripping my new leather cover with those horrible springs Ford used. So I used some thin sheets of metal to protect the leather as I pushed it back into place.
One slight issue with the leather dash cover is that the ventilation holes in the top of the dash are now covered and sealed off. This worries me a little bit because the Ford stereo gets extremely hot when in constant use. So I fabricated a 12V fan and mounted it on the top of the radio housing. I used a ferrite core to prevent horrible noise coming off the fan motor and wired it in using the 12V feed to the electric aerial. This way the fan only runs when the stereo is switched on. With this in place I could refit the radio into the dash and the fan sits nicely in the cavity between the top of the radio and the underside of the dash. Hopefully the breeze created with disperse the heat across the dash so I finds its way out naturally.
The interior was recently complimented with a re-covered leather Capri steering wheel and leather covered gear knob. All correct and period for the car. Cost me a fortune and it nearly killed me getting the old steering wheel off. After hours of pulling tugging bashing and watching all sorts of YouTube videos about how to do it, I was about to give up. I squirted some WD penetrating fluid on it and left it. In a final attempt I managed to get it off.
What was the trick you ask? In the end the method that worked for me was to get a thin metal rod on the back plate of the wheel (you can just about get to it from the rear) and then smack it with a hammer metal on metal. By rotating the wheel a bit each time I was able to get it to budge and finally come free of the splines. The captive nut was left partially on at all times to prevent any unpleasant injuries! Plenty of copper grease on the new one - one of the worst nightmare jobs I’ve ever done on the car and never again I hope!
I managed to get some of the money back by selling the old leather wheel on Ebay for £65. Result!
Front centre console with new stitched leather skin, gear lever & hand brake gaiter. Clock area still to be trimmed before refitting.
Rear centre console with new leather skin. This proved very tricky to get the leather correctly sitting in the sharp bend.
Removed dashboard with filler added to cracked and distorted part. Lots of rubbing down to make sure it was smooth.
Centre console armrest with new stitched leather skin fitted. Underside part was unscrewed to fit the leather neatly.
Offering up the leather skin onto the dashboard for the first time. Took three nights of sweat tears and swearing to fit it.
The dashboard surface was rubbed down with sandpaper to make sure there was a suitable key on the surface for the glue.