listers, I mentioned the other day that I'd be
willing to outline the steps usually taken to
install carpets in the first fellow's situation,
which was a BT7. What resulted was a deluge of
requests to set it up complete with detailed
pictures on a web site that a number of fellows
graciously volunteered to supply. Whew! Thanks to
all for the kind offers. A lot of folks mentioned
the Moss video, and it of course is geared to
their products of that time, complete with foam
backed cut pile bound nylon stuff!
do not currently have a BT7 here to photograph,
nor do I have the time or inclination to travel
somewhere else to do this right now. Anyway, I'll
try to outline the steps I usually take to
install a quality carpet set such as the one
Heritage Trim and Interiors is currently
supplying for a BT7:
1. To begin the
area must be completely clean and well painted in
the main colour of the car. All old remains of
carpets, under lays and felt paper should be
removed or at least carefully inspected for rot
2. The front
"kick" panels must be removed. Take out
the trim screws with their cup washers to
3. The inner
and outer horizontal alloy threshold plates must
be removed, along with the old door threshold
seal. These are held in place with small posi-drive
pan head screws. These screws will likely need to
be replaced, as they really suffer over the
years, and some may simply twist off when you try
to remove them.
4. The rear
quarter panels must be removed. This is
accomplished by removing the vertical door shut
pillar alloy plates, which will expose the
slotted wood screws that screw inboard into the
wood quarter panel leading edge block. With this
block released, remove the two acorn nuts and
washers from the rear wheel arch seat belt mounts.
There are also self-tapping sheet metal screws
holding the top "plateau" of the
quarter panel to the wheel arch. This should
release the quarter panel which has its rear edge
fitted into the bracket which locates the lift
out rear tonneau panel.
aforementioned tonneau panel brackets must be
removed, undoing the screws and nuts that locate
it through the rear wheel arch.
6. The gearbox
tunnel, and the forward bulkhead panel (if it's a
side shift model) must be removed from the car.
7. The rear
occasional seat pans must be removed from the car.
These are fastened into position with 4 self-tapping
trim screws and cup washers passing through each
pan and into the surrounding metal. This is also
a good time to inspect and renew the sealing
rubbers around these openings if necessary.
dipswitch assembly complete with mounting bracket
must be removed from the driver's side toe board.
This can be left suspended from its cable for
now, or can be hung from the pedals to aid in
keeping it out of the way while installing the
felts and under lays:
1. On all the
flat floor sections a layer of black felt paper (30
lb. tarpaper) is laminated to the painted steel
floors. The felt paper is overlaid with a 1/4"
thick layer of jute that has a black upper
surface similar to body undercoating material. A
coarse square weave is visible in the black
coating. The male carpet snaps are positioned and
their centre hold down screw passes through the
jute and the tarpaper, anchoring all into place.
2.On the toe
board portions of the foot wells (and the
vertical gearbox panel on side shift models) the
jute underlay is glued directly to the painted
3. While paying
attention to the vertical gearbox panel on the
side shift model, make sure the black rubber
draught excluder piece is riveted into position
on this panel with flat split rivets. This is an
inverted "U" shaped piece of rubber,
not unlike inner tube rubber, which is so shaped
to drape around the gearbox and therefore cut
down most of the hot air flow from passing back
into the gearbox and drive shaft tunnel area.
4. On the
gearbox cover of the BT7, the jute is glued to
the underside of the carpet with the black
surface facing down. The female portion of the
ring type carpet snaps pass through carpet and
underlay to be held in position on the tunnel by
the snaps. You should be able to locate the
original male snaps (or the screw holes) on the
gearbox cover and the tunnel to correctly locate
the new snaps.
1. The first
pieces to be installed are the left and right
inner sill covers. These run from the rear edge
of the inner sill forward onto the toe board area.
When laid out flat for preliminary inspection it
will be found that the carpet is cut with a
slight curve taking it wider for the front few
inches. This angled carpet will be applied to the
outboard side of the sill so its edge will be
nicely hidden by the bottom edge of the front
hardboard kick panel. There will need to be a
small dart cut out of the front corners of this
sill carpet so the ends can lie flat on the
angled toe board, and the sill carpet can be
glued to the top of the sill and follow down the
inboard vertical surface, leaving the inboard
edge of carpet making a tight 90 degree bend onto
the flat floor. This sill carpet must be trial
fitted before any glue is applied to ensure there
will be a good fit all along from front to back.
At the very back, the sill carpet should have
darts cut to allow the end to tab and glue to the
wheel arch and the rear vertical panel. Apply a
fresh and good quality contact cement to the sill
carpet and to the entire top surface and inboard
vertical surface of the inner sill.
folks choose a spray on trim glue, but so far I
prefer using Lepages Premium Contact Cement,
applied with a brush. Allow plenty of fresh air
where you are working.) Apply glue also to the
areas where the ends will tab onto at the front
and the back. Let the glue set up for a good 15
minutes then carefully work the carpet into place
beginning with the outer edge of the sill top,
making sure it fits right to this outer edge.
Keep in mind that the alloy threshold plate will
be fitting tightly to and covering this edge.
Work slowly and carefully to ensure a good fit,
pressing and smoothing the carpet as you go. I
use my thumb in a teaspoon as a handy means of
getting carpet and vinyl smoothed into corners
and along inner edges.
2. The toe
board to inner gearbox sidewall carpets go in
next. Examine these carefully. The ones we got
from Heritage have fine white chalk lines
indicating where they need to have darts cut to
allow the carpets to bend through the inside 90
degree curve from toe board to side wall. Trial
fit these carpet pieces carefully while dry,
ensuring they fit well with their outboard bottom
edge squared cutout aligned and fitted to the
inner sill and the dart fitting exactly into the
inner corner. When happy with the fit, apply glue
to the toe board surface only. Fit and press this
area into place before carrying on with gluing
the inner vertical sidewall. On the side shift
models, this vertical carpet should extend right
to the edge of the metal. Later, when the "U"
shaped bulkhead piece is fitted, a carpet to
carpet seal will result.
3. The next
pieces to be fitted will be the large carpet
section that fits around the rear seats and the
one that extends down the vertical heel board
panel. Originally these pieces were separate,
though often the suppliers of carpet today will
make this all one piece. I'll describe them as
per original; separate pieces. Again fit these
sections dry, taking note of any edges or corners
that do not want to fit smoothly, cutting small
darts out if required to rectify any awkward
areas. On the outboard edges the carpet
surrounding the seat openings will edge up
slightly onto the rear wheel arch. On the
outboard edges of the vertical heel board, a
slotted bracket holds the rear quarter trim panel
in place. The carpet must butt right up to this
bracket. At the bottom of the heel board panel,
the carpet must bend and extend slightly onto the
flat floor section. The inverted "U"
shaped area of the heel board carpet must also be
turned and fitted slightly onto the drive shaft
tunnel. This will give the look of continuity
when the floor and tunnel carpets are installed.
Also be sure to have the carpet fit evenly around
the openings of the rear occasional seats,
leaving about >" perimeter of bare
painted metal around these openings. Lastly, make
sure to trim a clean 90-degree cutout where this
heel board carpet will meet the carpet at the
back end of the inner sill. When you are sure
this all fits well, apply glue to one half of the
carpet and the car at a time and proceed to
install, as before, smoothing and ensuring there
are no wrinkles. The two sections of carpet must
butt smoothly to each other forming a continuous
looking piece of carpet. Usually these butted
joints won't actually be seen, with the seat pans
overlapping enough that only a bit in the middle,
between the pans may show.
4. There will
be three small carpet pieces that will be fitted
and glued into the rear corners of the cockpit
area behind where the lift out tonneau panel fits.
One will fit into the acute angled corner on the
left side of the car, butting up to the back edge
of the rear wheel arch, and leaving a vertical
edge on the rear sloped panel (where the top
folds and stows). The second one will fit on the
opposite side of the car, fitting similarly, and
leaving a vertical edge. The third has three ears
all going opposite directions. This will tuck
into the rear right corner, wrapping somewhat
around the sheet metal surrounding the fuel
filler neck. It sounds confusing here, but when
sorting out the three pieces and their locations,
all will become apparent.
5. On the side
shift models, the gearbox forward bulkhead panel
should be trimmed and fitted next. This will have
the aforementioned jute layer glued directly to
the panel, and the carpet should be glued only to
the outer perimeters on the backside only. This
will result in the completion of the carpet-to-carpet
seal we spoke of earlier. This panel will be
fastened to the aperture with self-tapping trim
screws and cup washers, 3 down each side.
6. The tunnel
carpet can be installed next. First ensure that
the tunnel has a good fit to the floor and the
forward bulkhead, with good seals and the
rectangular rubber inspection and filler aperture
plugs are in good condition and fit well to the
Next make sure that interior trim colour vinyl is
fitted around the hand brake lever mounting area.
This vinyl is simply contact cemented to the
tunnel metal in the immediate area of the hand
brake mounting screws. It should extend about 4
inches or so in every direction away from the
mounting screws. The tunnel carpet when fitted
will be cut away and bound in this area, exposing
this vinyl trim and allowing the lever and
ratchet assembly to operate freely.
If the car is a side shift model there should be
a strip of interior coloured vinyl glued along
the front lip of the tunnel, extending back away
from the lip about 1 ½". When fitted, the
tunnel carpet's leading edge will stop at this
upturned lip, leaving the vinyl-trimmed lip
exposed. The flat flanges of the cover that screw
to the floor should also be trimmed in vinyl.
Also to be noted on the side shift gearbox models
you should fit the rubber gear lever boot to the
cup surrounding the base of the gear lever. The
rest of the boot should form a cup with only the
upper most lip of rubber fitting to the metal
With the tunnel panel screwed into the floor with
4 sheet metal screws and washers down each side,
make sure the shift lever aperture is well
centered on the base of the lever, and not
fighting the rubber shift boot.
Note that there are 4 male carpet snaps fitted
down each side of the tunnel. If they are not
still there, you should be able to locate the
original mounting holes and mount new ones. They
should be about 2 inches or so up from the bottom
When satisfied that all is fitting well, fit the
tunnel carpet into place, butting the leading
edge as mentioned to the forward tunnel lip, and
making sure the carpet material is equally fitted
down each side of the tunnel and drive shaft
tunnel. Pull the carpet evenly out and down to
get a smooth fit. Ensure that the trimmed ring of
vinyl binding fits centrally around the gear
Locate the bump of the male carpet studs beneath
the carpet and mark the exact location on the
outer surface with a piece of white chalk.
Install the round ring of the carpet snaps (provided)
with the 3 piercing tabs through the carpet and
carefully fit and crimp the tabs over onto the
female portion of the snap on the underside of
the carpet. Fit these snaps one at a time and
check each one for carpet position and fit. If
you locate one a bit off, simply uncrimp the tabs
and reposition the snap assembly.
Usually there is extra width of carpet allowed
here, and any extra beyond an inch or so can be
trimmed away with a sharp knife later. I use an
Xacto knife with a fresh blade for this. You want
to be able to make a clean precise cut with no
ragged edges or straggling threads remaining.
Now, with the white chalk, mark the absolute
centre of the drive shaft tunnel. This will be
used to locate where the armrest will be sewn on.
Remove the tunnel carpet, and cut a slot down the
centre of the line, and two "Y" shaped
cuts, one at each end, so the flaps formed by the
cuts can be opened up to gain inner access to sew
the armrest into place.
The recess for the ashtray must be located and
the carpet carefully cut out using the Xacto
knife. The chromed ashtray assembly is located
and screwed into place using two #6 flat head
Phillips self-tapping screws passing through the
bottom and into the tunnel.
7. The rear
floor carpets can be located next. Note that
there are clearly left and right side pieces,
determined by the spacing of the carpet vs. seat
track slots, the slight chamfer on the outboard
rear corner, and the chamfer on the inboard front
corner to clear the gearbox tunnel.
Temporarily fit the carpet piece into place and
make sure there is no interference in the fit of
the outer perimeters to other carpet sections,
and the slotted sections which should be able to
clear the seat slides. Each rear floor carpet
piece will be located and held in place using two
carpet snaps as described previously. These two
snaps are located toward the rear of the carpet
about 3 ½" in from the outer edges and from
the rear edge. Again as with the tunnel carpets,
the male snaps will be felt through the carpet,
the chalk mark is made and the ring tabs pierce
through the carpet. Finally the female portion of
the snap is locked in place by bending and
crimping the 3 tabs out flat. Test fit and adjust
8. The forward
floor carpets are now fitted in a similar manner.
Note that as of this writing Heritage Trim and
Interiors has assured me that they now prefit and
install the two front snaps under the sewn in
Austin heel mat on the driver's side. The two
rear snaps will be about 3" in from the back
and outboard edges.
The floor carpet pieces are made a bit larger on
purpose to allow for the slight differences in
tunnel and bulkhead positioning. These carpets
must be final trimmed along the inboard edges as
necessary to give a smooth and continuous fit
where it meets up with the vertical plane of
9. The parcel
tray carpet piece can simply be set into the
tray, assuming that the tray has been properly
trimmed in the appropriate vinyl. Make sure that
the edges all fit smoothly, including the cutout
for the windscreen washer bottle.
10. The rear
quarter trim panels can now be refitted to the
car and fastened in place as previously described.
The flat steel plateau that rivets to the panel
and is positioned in the car with the self-tapping
screws will now be fitted with carpet. Again
ensure the edges fit precisely and butt up to the
inner wall of the panel, and that the clearance
holes for the hood frame socket are trimmed to
fit. It will also be noted that there is a 90-degree
notch out of the carpet toward the front edge.
This is to clear the little wood block which is
trimmed in vinyl and is screwed in place using a
self-tapping screw passing through the block's
counter bored center hole. This trimmed block
will in turn have the polished anodized satin
alloy capping piece fitted using 3 pan head
countersunk chromed wood screws. This capping
piece holds and anchors the rearmost edge of door
threshold seal to give the area a completed look.
11. This will
now have all the carpets installed. You can now
carry on reinstalling the alloy shut trim plates
and threshold plates, both inner and outer, the
door seals, the rear tonneau panel brackets, and
Well, I believe
that's about it for the BT7 carpet installation.
I hope I've been able to describe things well
enough to get you through the job.
It really became apparent to me while writing
this that each series has its own unique details
and steps that must be taken to do the job
correctly. I dare say, there's probably a book's
worth of details that could be written on
trimming out Healeys, with at least a chapter on
each series. I am no professional when it comes
to trimming these cars, but with the correct
materials, colours, quality workmanship of the
components, I think a very respectable results
can be achieved.
This has not attempted to deal with colours,
aftermarket heat insulating tricks, or the
subject of fitting armacord boot trim, interior
vinyl trimmed panels, etc., let alone seats,
tops, tonneau covers and so on.
some other time...