Sunday, November 5, 2017

Interior Modernization Project, Part 22. Finishing Touches...

So with all the major panels done, what was left?

The details, that's what!

First, as I had hinted in previous posts about the front doors, we had decided to modernize by having reflective + light up LED courtesy lamps in the front doors.  Actually, I had initially sent over some old Nissan Laurel white door courtesy lamps, but they did not look right as you can see below.
Close up. Regular lightbulbs

Since a Laurel is a sedan, they sent me 4...
Although the idea was to sink them into the leather, this is when I decided white wasn't the look I wanted.
Backside antics
So, I decided that I would prefer a red lens, and for longevity, LED.  
Cesar found this locally, but it looked too thin.
I looked on Yahoo Auctions for something made by Nissan, but in the end found something cheap on Rakuten.
Thin enough and easy one bolt installation 
And big enough but not too large (and not thin like Cesar's find).
Even though I had only sent over the rough dimensions of the lens unit in several photos like the previous 2, Cesar went ahead and prepared the doors.

I was amazed that he had the confidence to do this...
Backside showing that these LED reflectors would be securely mounted.
Filling in the holes so the leather can be smoothly applied over.
A kind of a thread-lock, perhaps?
A preview of the door with the cutout for this lens.
Five days later, Cesar informed me that the lenses had arrived, and sent me the following:
LED securely attached, with leads out.
And talk about perfect fitment!
OK so what was next? Well, given that there was bound to be some leather left over, we had decided to really go for a complete leather interior:
See this seatbelt guide? We decided to wrap this in leather too.
As I mentioned in another earlier post, I could not figure out how to remove this seatbelt guide, without cutting it. And yes, I unbolted the seat belt but getting this guide piece off without cutting would mean disassembly of the seat belt spring mechanism, and for safety reasons I did not want to do that. 
You can see how my Dremel cut the thinnest part of these seatbelt guides.
Cesar showing me how he wrapped it all in leather!
Here are the pieces, completed. 
You can see that the extra length gets pulled around to the back
And there is enough pressure to keep it all from unravelling. Quite clever!
And don't forget the overhead hand grips I had also sent:

These came out quite nice too. 
The lighting isn't very good but you can just make out the stitching on the underside...
As well as the gear shift lever boot and handbrake boot:
Note I went with all black stitching.
The reason is, OEM was all black too, and it helps to highlight the red stitching elsewhere. The cars I HAVE seen with red stitching on the boots, tend to look, in my opinion, a bit over done.
Close up showing the beautiful stitch work
So you can see the brake lever stitching. 
Then, due to a delay in the production of my carbon pieces (or rather, the pieces got lost in the mail and eventually got sent back to Marc, who had to resend...), Cesar got impatient with the center console piece and decided to wrap that in leather. What do you think?





Finally, my friend Alessandro had remarked that, true bespoke parts needed to have some kind of plaque as proof. Like the ones that Nissan has on the R35 GT-R:



Great idea, right? My problem was, however, that no matter how many times I asked Cesar to send me a photocopy of his signature, he never obliged me. I guess, maybe he thought it was a risk? He is a smart guy after all... so I had to improvise.

I found a company in the US, PlaqueMaker.com that makes custom plaques in different metals. Of course I chose titanium, and asked them to inscribe this message:


The finished result was a bit different, but as Cesar demonstrates below, it looks pretty good and the size was just right.
Perfect way to finish this project, right?
So Cesar was now finished, and was getting things wrapped up and ready to be sent out when the following finally arrived at his place:
Whoops! But just in time...
So what's next? Stay tuned...

Monday, October 9, 2017

Interior Modernization Project, Part 21. The Rear Side Panels!

As I mentioned in my previous post, Cesar (actually his son Alex) had sent a few more photos, not just the ones of the doors being prepared for the leather.

Unlike last time, I did not receive 20 photos, just the following 3!




Then again, these are pretty simple compared to the door panels. No need for Alcantara, just some nice stitching in the right places... and then about 10 days later, he sent me these photos:

You can see he had pre-sewn the pieces

Then used weights to hold down while the glue dried

Close up of the stitching in this corner

And this is how the vinyl templates were all laid out on the hide.
So with the center console and main dash done, and now with both front doors and the rear panels also finished, what is left? Stay tuned...

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Interior Modernization Project, Part 20. And Now Onto The Doors...

So as if the dash alone wasn't an absolute miracle of old world craftsmanship, ingenuity and some OCD, Cesar was far from done. Indeed, a couple of weeks after (the flu slowed him down!) he sent me the following photos of the work being done already on the door panels I had sent him from my own car.

And as is rapidly becoming my habit, I'll let the photos do the talking...

Obviously the white lines show where the stitching will go.

And here is a rough sketch of where the courtesy lamp would go



I had asked Cesar to cover the green spots in Alcantara. His response, "no problem"! Yellow and Red were the spots we had debated on where to put the courtesy lamps.
Door pocket guides have been removed to be covered in Alcantara







Adding reinforcement to that section of the driver door that had deteriorated due to one too many heavy elbows

And it wasn't just the doors he was working on, he also sent this photo to show the difference between his brake lever boot and the Redline one.
Cesar's vs Redline

Cesar's has the snap, the Redline is velcro
 Sharp eyed readers will see that the photos of the doors are only for those of the driver door. He sent a bunch over too for the passenger door but they are basically the same as the ones above and I am too lazy to post them.

He DID send some other photos, which I will post in my next post...