The seats are out of your MG Midget, and makes the car look positively roomy! Set aside those seats for now – we’ll get back to them at a later date. Your focus now is to remove the rest of the interior, because you’ll likely need to treat the metal underneath for surface rust.
Don’t forget – CHOCK and DISCONNECT – chock the wheels, and disconnect the negative battery cable.
Starting with the “highest” items, and using your baggies, “Sharpie” and digital camera, start removing the rest of the interior.
At the top of each doorway behind each seat, there’s a “finisher” – a small piece of chrome that covers the doorway trim and protects the doorway edges. There is a small plastic “hook” screwed on the inside of the car, and a small screw in the doorway itself – unscrew both, mark as driver’s side or passenger side, and drop the parts and their screws in their own baggies – remember that LH / RH thing…
In the footwell near the door opening, if it still exists, you’ll find the door strap. It’s used to stop the door from opening too far and denting the exterior body. If your car is like mine, one of your door straps rotted away at some point and of course, someone opened the door too far, putting a vertical dent in the body behind the front fender. Sigh!
The footwell strap side is held by two metal brackets and three screws. The door strap side is held by a semicircular shaped piece of metal that rotates on a rivet – use a small standard screwdriver to rotate the metal piece into the strap itself, and pull the strap from the door.
My MG still had a “clamp” at the top of the door trim near the dash. Many cars don’t have this any longer – if you do, gently wiggle a small standard screwdriver under the clamp and pull the clamp open enough to slide it off the trim.
Now, in each doorway, pull the trim off the edge of the doorway. On my car, the previous restorer did not use adhesive to hold the trim in place, so it pulled off fairly easily. You may need to wiggle a metal blade putty knife under the trim to pull it loose.
The glove box is next. The glove box is a fragile, paper based body with a heavier, vinyl covered door. The body is held with a number of screws above and below the body – just search them out, and carefully unscrew each. Also remove the curved bracket that lets the glove box door open and close with control. Wiggle the glove box out of it’s position – take care and don’t tear the body.
Many restorers would recommend replacing the body of a glove box. The body of mine was warped but intact – no rips, just ripples. So I kept mine, but you’ll have to look at yours and decide for yourself.
Aren’t you glad you are using the baggie and “Sharpie” system? You’ve probably already got a dozen bags already…
Now I’d remove the vinyl panels inside the car. Each unscrews from the car body, or has been glued to the car itself. If the panel is screwed to the car body, it likely (or should have) a grommet that fits like a washer or donut around the screw head. This distributes the “hold area” of the screw, and reduces the chance that the screw head will tear right through your new, expensive vinyl panel!
If your car still has the radio console, work on this next – look for the screws holding it to the firewall, and gently pull the case away from the wall. TAKE PICTURES of what wire goes where!! Disconnect the wires – you may have to figure out just how they connect – and coil up the ends and bind them up out of the way. NOTE – you should NOT have to cut any wires, if the car stayed true to the original wiring plan.
And do you still have the ashtray on the hump? That’s held with two screws – it should have a top, a short rod holding the top to the base, the base and a removable tray for ashes. That comes off next. Bag it up!
Lastly, remove the seatbelts – big bolts holding the belts to the body on very sturdy anchors. Remember that LH / RH thing. I ended up having to replace mine since the shoulder strap spring mechanism would no longer catch, but you may get lucky. Frankly, if your seat belts are worn, torn or seriously sun faded, consider replacing this important safety feature.
Now put your sturdy gloves on and pull out the carpeting. This was the dirtiest, smelliest part of my deconstruction. The carpet was shredded in places, was snapped to the body here and there, was glued and screwed, and the last restorer used duct tape to hold things together. Make sure you get it all out – use your adhesive removal chemical if needed – it all has to come off. I did find some coins here and there – a contribution of about $0.53 towards the $4500.00 materials cost!
If you are really unlucky, a previous owner put some sort of sound deadening material under the carpet. Depending on what was used, this is a miserable, tedious, sticky mess to remove. I’d suggest going through the effort to remove it – you want to make sure there’s no rust underneath – so it has to come out. I used a metal blade putty knife with a combination of heat from a hair dryer and adhesive remover to get all of mine out, and it took……..hours.
But – congratulations! With a few hours of work, and about 40+ baggies, you’ve removed a big part of the car’s interior! In the next article, we’ll attack the door panels and discuss what to do with the dash.