Rebuilding my 68 AMX

I have this 1968 AMX (a two seat pony car with a big engine). I bought it in 1972 and parked it in 1986. To resurrect a car whose manufacturer disappeared about 40 years ago and few new or even used replacement parts exist presents some challenges. This means some things have to be either repaired or recreated. For instance to repair a dent in the left rear fender, I had to cut out the worst section and make new pieces from new flat steel.

That was pretty straight forward but took a lot of massaging to get the contour right. So I won’t be documenting that here. On the inside of the car the interior is mostly in good shape but while it was in storage some nasty little squirrels, I think the red ones with scraggly tails, found their was into the trunk and up on top of the headliner. They built a nest and ate a whole the size of a silver dollar (or if you don’t know about those – a little larger than a golf ball) right through the mostly cardboard panel. They made it sag,  piled nesting materials and acorn shells in there forcing it out of shape and the fluids they left caused the plasticized paper covering to peel away.

Not being the kind to accept failure and pay someone a thousand dollars or so for a good used one (if there were any) or to have an upholstery shop made a new one – that would either not look much like the original or would cost probably as much or more than the impossible to find used one, I did what I do. I figured out how to repair the one I had.

The original was made of laminated craft paper and with a layer of plastic foam  inside and on the exposed surface there was the layer of plastic coated paper which gave the texture and the black color. This “cardboard” piece was pressed with a grid of lines fore and aft and side to side. It was also notched s o it could follow the contour of the roof. That panel was then glued to some carpet padding (really – the stuff made from random bits of foam rubber) and then glued to the inside of the roof of the car.

First issue was the big hole the squirrels chewed through it as well as some smaller damages (a couple I remember making while loading things into and out of the rear non seat area behind the front seats. Realizing that the cardboard is really just paper – I made Papier-mâché from bits of shredded paper and water. I also used a little Elmers Glue All. I pressed this mash into the holes and damaged spots building it up over the surface. once it all dried, I used sand paper and some other tools to smooth it down and shape it to match the original.

Then, to reshape the sagging placed I sprayed the cardboard in those ares with water and used weights and blocking to hold it in shape while it dried. After a few repetitions the shape was mostly right and the places rhat weren.t quite right would flex into shape and all was good.

Next, to make sure everything stayed together I spread more Elmer’s over the whole surface. Knowing that i needed to toughen the surface and also recreate the texture (a pattern of fine lined running randomly side to side on the surface) I used a stiff used paint brush to spread contact cement across the entire surface. I later painted the back surface with the same contact cement.

The final step was to spray it with satin black spray paint.  I then used more contact cement to glue new carpet pad to the back side.

Installation was by spreading Liquid nails construction adhesive on the carpet pad, lined up the holes for the sun visors in the front and the steel clips on the sides. Then two cargo straps from sides of the roof holding rolled up furniture pads to press it tight to the roof while the adhesive dried over night.

And Bob’s your Uncle