When I bought Bondorella, her interior was pretty much stripped.No headliner, visors, knobs, dash pieces, ashtray… you get the point. Over the years, I’ve managed to replace all of the pieces and make her actually feel like a warm and cozy truck again.
Frankly, I’ve probably gone too far… but the accessories are so cute! I added a precious little vacuum powered fan to the steering column, and a bakelite necker knob that matches my bakelite shift knob. Kristin from the Gasoline Girls is going to pinstripe the ashtray. It’s all comin’ together….
With no headliner, the echoey interior started to get a little maddening. I’d been waiting to get the seat reupholstered first—I have some pretty grandiose plans to do a custom tooled leather seat, complete with BONDORELLA emblazoned across the back—but since I still didn’t have the seat in the works (and we’re heading out on a road trip) I figured I might as well just do it. Because of the elaborate nature of my seat idea, I figured I should go subtle with the headliner, original style. Know what the original was?
CARDBOARD. Cardboard? Ew?! Who wants a cardboard headliner?
Even though it seemed like a not-s0-attractive option, I decided to go with it, first putting some dynomat to absorb vibration and noise.
Then I carefully slid the cardboard headliner into place. First off, the side screws didn’t line up. Bummer, but not the end of the world, right? And then… it happened….
To be honest, it was probably my fault and not the fault of the Dennis Carpenter headliner kit. Here’s the deal: In order to get it up to the dome light bracket, I had to put a little pressure on it. Okay. A lot of pressure. This photo above is the result of that pressure. NOT GOOD. Pretty hideous, right? Not only did the buckled, cracking cardboard bother me… the cardboard itself bothered me. It looked like… well… CARDBOARD
The solution? Just cover it, right? So I hit the fabric district in Downtown L.A. with my car club pal Kristin, and we found a couple of super cool vinyls for the headliner. Saturday morning, we got together, and covered it with the redish metallic polka dot fabric.
In hindsight, we totally should have used some foam between the fabric and the cardboard. Sadly, the Franken-scar of the buckled cardboard shows through… so basically, it looks the same, but with cuter fabric. Pushing it up to reattach the dome light only accentuated the buckling. So I started thinking… maybe the bracket where my dome light attaches wasn’t stock? Maybe if I used a spacer, that would help the whole geometry of the headliner. And yes! I was right. Granted, it didn’t heal the Franken-scar… but it will do for now. And I do so love the whimsy of the fabric.