I’ve finally finished the SM’s interior. Or I have if you don’t count the doors, because there are still a few hours of chin stroking to go before I get those electric windows reassembled.
All the same, it looks fantastic. The SM’s interior was always super-stylish but mine was looking tired. First step was to strip everything; out went the ruined carpets, the cracked dashtop and the US-spec instrument panel (with its nasty seat belt warning monstrosity ruining the looks).
In came a new carpet set from Coverdale Carpets. That cost nearly £400, which really hurt, but it’s beautifully made. Every part fitted perfectly, and any section that needed cutting was already accurately marked on the backing for guidance. Only two moans – the style of the sewn-in rubber mats on the driver’s side footwell sections aren’t quite to original style and are in black rather than the correct brown; and the canvas webbing is missing from the backing of the carpet pieces that attach to the rears of the front seats.
Before the carpet went in I used foil-backed soundproofing, surplus from a roll I bought from Moss Europe for my MGB GT. Most carpet sections were glued in with aerosol impact adhesive but where that threatened to get too messy, I used brush-on adhesive.
SM specialist Andrew Brodie found an uncracked dashtop from a fellow SM owner. That cost me £150 and hours of skimmed knuckles and frustration to replace. A UK-spec instrument panel came from Andrew’s old company, Brodie Engineering, now run by Stuart Ager. That was £50, and I rebuilt it with the original instruments, painstakingly cleaned and polished.
Thankfully the original headlining is ok but the window pillar trims were wrecked. They have to be fitted before the rear panels and the dashtop can go in. Stuart Ager sourced some spare used headlining material that I was able to recover the trims in, as original.
Then came a hold-up. I accidentally crushed the cardboard heater tubing and couldn’t find the correct diameter replacement. Eventually I mentioned it to MG specialists Frontline Developments, who sourced me the right stuff from nearby Revotec. Perfect! It’s wire-reinforced plastic, and much tougher than the old stuff. It cost about £15.
The seats went to Elite Coach Trimming in Wellingborough, who did a fantastic job of restitching the many seams that had come adrift. The seats had to be entirely dismantled for this, at a cost of £200. Worthwhile though.
Other bits? Static rear seatbelts, bought from Peterborough’s Millfield Autos for about £50. Their clasps look reasonably similar to those of the original front belts and they bolted straight in. Everything else was simply cleaned and polished – right down to every screwhead.
And that just left the original radio, fitted by the American Citroen dealer from new. It wasn’t working, so I sent it to Retro Retreat, who fixed it, rebuilt it and added iPod connectivity for £85. Apparently the engineer thought it was the worst built radio he’d ever seen. Bit disappointing!
And there we have it. I love the result!