Door trim restoration

On many 1960 model Ramblers the door trim panels can be easily refurbished with basic handyman and spray painting skills.

The main problem I have had with the door trims is the stiff card/masonite backing being affected by water and warping as well as the trim clips pulling through the card.  Often it is not possible to remove the trim panel without the clips pulling though the card.  This is frustrating since now the door panel will not be held securely back in place.
Problem solution
One solution to this problem is to make a new backing from epoxy fibreglass board.  This comes in 2.5mm or 3.00mm thicknesses which are very close to the original card thickness.  The epoxy board is very strong and not be affected by moisture.  There is no problem with the clips pulling through the board when removing the trims.

The original card can be used as a template to cut new ones from the epoxy board.  Appropriate size drills and hole saws can replicate the holes.  New trim clips are also available if the old ones are damaged.

The vinyl trim can be removed from the card backing by carefully pulling it away.  A sharp Stanley blade can assist in separating the vinyl layer from the card.  Patience can be required here since some spots can be stuck to the card.  Be careful not to let the blade contact the vinyl.

Once the vinyl trim is free test fit it on the new epoxy backing board.  Spray contact adhesive can then be used to glue the vinyl to the new board.  Small clamps maybe required to hold the edges in place until glued.

If required the vinyl can now be painted with vinyl paint.

A good automotive paint shop can match your colour.  The DuPont system allows the same colour to be matched in vinyl, 2K or acrylic lacquer systems.  So if you happen to have or find a current DuPont colour this can also be used.

I have found that the vinyl paint can give a higher gloss level than the original vinyl would have.  Ask for the maximum amount of matting agent to be used.  On trims I have done the initial result was matt however once installed in the car and after several weeks I am sure the door trims have a higher gloss now.
Finished door trim with non genuine speaker fitted

Rohan Borrell Technical Officer