View Full Version : Headliner advice

03-05-2006, 08:08 PM
I need a new headliner in my 1950 Champion (without the Starlight wraparound
rear window). Is it worth tackling it myself, or am I just better off giving it
to an interior shop at the same time I have the seats re-covered? 'Cause upholstery
I think I want to leave to the experts.

03-06-2006, 09:17 PM
Try Phantom Auto (http://www.studebakervendors.com/phantom.htm#ANCHORTOP) or SMS Auto Fabrics (http://www.smsautofabrics.com/index.html)

Rich Pease
Ogden, UT
59 Lark 2dr
61 Lark Regal Cruiser

03-06-2006, 09:53 PM
If you've never done one you might want to farm it out.
I put one in my 51 coupe but, at the time, it was devoid of glass, windlace and dash. It worked out well but I wouldn't want to try it with the glass and windlace still intact and the windlace is easier with the dash removed.

03-06-2006, 11:48 PM
Thanks, that was an informed opinion I was looking for. I think I'll order a headliner
and let the upholsterers deal with it.

03-07-2006, 12:02 AM
I came in late on this one, and am glad your headliner question was answered to your satisfaction. Still, I wanted to say I'm sorry about your chrysleritis. I had that one time, but managed to have it removed. :D

http://rocketdillo.com/studebaker/misc/images/Current_Avacar.gif[/img=left] - DilloCrafter

1955 1/2 Ton Pickup
[i]The Red-Headed Amazon

03-07-2006, 08:49 PM
I might add that the shop manual details how to replace the headliner and, unless your upholsterer has experience with the older cars he/she might appreciate a Xerox copy of those instructions.;)

03-13-2006, 10:20 PM
I am having my 50 champion starlight repainted and they have the glass out. I got it a new headliner from SMS and it worked out good. I know you have to remove the glass on a starlight to put that headliner in and you will need to get new windlace also.

50 Champion
60 Lark
63 Hawk

03-14-2006, 04:57 PM
Is it nessessary to remove the windsheild and rear glass on the 53 Starliner in order to replace the headliner? Thanks,

Darryl C. Lewallen

03-14-2006, 10:33 PM
I don't have my shop manual in front of me but I believe that is necessary.

On a related note, when you remove your old headliner you will find chunks of tarboard sound deadener that were originally glued to the roof. I would take this opportunity to scrape off as much as you can (it's dirty nasty stuff), rough sand the roof, spray it with paint and glue on a more modern, more effective material.

I don't usually steer people to J.C.Whitless but I got a roll of sound/heat insulation from them and covered every square inch before installing the headliner and it made an amazing difference in the reduction of road noise. I also put it under the carpet and behind the back seat.

03-15-2006, 06:17 PM
I also ordered a headliner and wind lace from one of the suppliers then found I needed to pull the windshield and rear window, which required new rubber seals. I was going to install it my self but by that time I had spent so much money I thought it would be better to have it done professionaly for $300.00. I was not that happy with the results and wish I had just done it myself as it would not have looked any worse. I had to redo a lot of it anyway.

03-15-2006, 08:23 PM
On the '53 hardtop you do not need to remove the glass. Unlike some other studes, the headliner does not wrap over the sheetmetal window openings under the window gasket. There is a tacking strip behind the garnish or trim moulding around the front and rear windows. Remove those mouldings and you will see that the headliner is tacked or nailed to a sort of heavy cardboard strip that is in turn nailed to the inside of the car body with small special nails.

You will need to take out the back seat (I had all the seats out of mine) and also remove the door panels from the back seat area. I replaced all the rotted tacking strip with a plastic strip replacement I got from a vendor of auto restoration "stuff". Its 5/8" wide and about 3/16 thick or so. I put the new strip in with small sheet metal screws instead of the nails. I also used short staples in a stapling gun instead of all the tiny hand-hammered tacks that the factory used. I've heard its important to clean and paint the bows if they show any signs of rust as rusty ones will cause the new headliner to rot. Staple the new headliner in the back first and pull forward to get it tight. The rear most bow catches on a couple of hooks that are spot welded to a brace by the back window. Once you pull that tight, the rest will float with the material so you want to stretch that tight. Staple the front and then work on the sides from the front to the back. There are claw strips along the edge that you tuck the material behind and it won't come out. Its sort of a do it once process since I think the headliner would be ruined if you try to redo a boo-boo. I'd never done one before and it turned out pretty well. I took my time at it. A hair dryer or light touch with a heat gun can help strink it a little its slightly wrinkled after its in. I read up on the install process many times before I tried it. You should also let the new headliner lay out of the box, preferably in a warm place to let the folds flatten out too.


'53 Champion Hardtop