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Windlace installation

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  • Interior: Windlace installation

    I’m thankfully armed with nice paper editions of the 59-64 “Body Parts Catalog” , Volumes 1&2 of the 59-61 “Shop Manual” and the 59-60 “Chassis Parts Catalog”. One would think one could find mentions of the windlace, as a part, or in a replacement procedure...anything.

    The only mention of this 8-letter word is in the Body Parts Catalog, drawn in Plate 21-2 for my F body, item “D”. If folks could direct me to any other spot that mentions part number and it’s color I’d be oh so grateful! Same thing with procedure - I figure the headliner replacement (Vol2, Body-General, pg 24) would have talked about it, but nope.

    As it turns out the factory material is simply too far-gone to save - frail from within and from outside, so I have 27 feet on order from S-I in “Taupe”.

    I’m absolutely wanting to save the original headliner so I have a question around the door frame portions of the Lark. With the rear qtr trim panels off, it’s fairly obvious how it mounts and suspect the same is true at the footwell kickpanels.

    Does anyone have advice or photos that describe how the windlace and headliner are pinched together around the door? Is there a flexible tooth rail that I bend carefully back and tap back down, etc?

    Thanks as always in advance.

  • #2
    I made a tool from a stiff putty knife after rounding off the corners. I also used a needle nose pliers to pull a small section of headliner down at a time. First push in and up to release the headliner from the teasel strip. As you work your way in one direction or the other just release the headliner carefully. You will then notice screws holding the windlace in place. It is those screws you need to remove to remove the windlace and replace. I don't know if you have a HT or sedan but along the A pillar there are V shaped pieces of metal that pinch the windlace in position. Make sure the width of the windlace you are using will grip on these points. If not you will need to add a small extension piece. Post some pics once you get the headliner open and be patient! Good luck!
    Rob in PA.


    • #3
      Many thanks, Rob.

      Basic, basic 2-door Sedan!


      • #4
        It was like I was removing the Shroud of Turin from its original location. Describing this OEM headliner as a delicate textile would be a huge understatement.

        As I chose the driver’s side windlace first, starting from the B pillar, it’s my opinion that the windlace had to have been installed before the headliner. The v-points Rob describes above could only have been pinched down with the headliner out of the way. I’m open to hear others’ opinions, though...

        Perhaps tough to see in the pics, but the headliner is kept away from the body on the “teasel” strip that Rob also described such that the windlace nicely fills in the gap. Same thing at the A-pillar where the dash panel sits a ~1/4” away from the body.

        While I was super-careful at the B-pillar where the headliner is tucked in as a small bunch, once I figured out how the windlace was not part of the headliner itself, I simply tore it away and then cleaned up the remnants left on the v-points.

        The length is nominally 9.5 feet per door on this 2-door sedan, in case folks are ordering for their Lark. Kept a little remnant for the next owner.

        I’ll post pics after the new material gets installed, likely in early March.


        • #5
          Yes, the headliner is installed after the windlace.

          I have a lot of pics from when I replaced the windlace on my '54 sedan; I can post some if you need them. You will need to slit the 'extension' piece (that is sewn to the windlace to reach the tabs/v-points) when you go around the curves. The tabs/v-points need to be knocked down pretty hard so they bite into the extension; I used a brass punch and a hammer. Not fully trusting the tabs, I also used adhesive to glue the extension piece down. Right off, I can't remember what I used, it may have been contact cement. But I'm pretty anal, so I'm sure most folks don't do this extra step of gluing it. But I've seen too many cars that had the windlace replaced and it's loose and hanging down.
          Winston-Salem, NC
          Visit The Studebaker Skytop Registry website at:


          • #6
            Thanks for that.

            I won't dare try and remove this original headliner when installing the new windlace - I'll get creative with some combination of a long thin drift and taps of a hammer to sneak in between the 'liner and the 'lace with copious amounts of luck and prayer....


            • #7
              And then their is the little channel formed around the body by different panel edges. thh windlass has a small sewn in tib that fits these channels to prevent the windlass from pulling out.the toothed strip wont do it alone. in the middle pict. the rib is near your thumb. just a small detail to ponder. Luck Doofus


              • #8
                On one car I added a small piece of vinyl to extend the width of the windlace. I stapled it about every 1.5 ". It worked well and stayed in place especially after reinstalling the teasel strips and screws.
                Rob in PA.


                • #9
                  Plan on being "very" patient when tugging around the headliner ! You'll be very lucky if you don't tear things along the way. The slower you go, the better. I'd suggest getting your skills and tempo on the center of door sections first. Gradually work your way up to the corners / seams / light opening and rear pillar turns....... Stop and check your work frequently.... and may the trim gods be with you.....


                  • #10
                    The original windlace had a 3/4" tail that almost seemed like it was make of plant fiber. It was thick and fit well under the retaining tabs. I just replaced my windlace and had a seamstress sew a 1" additional tail piece of the heaviest ribbon I could find. This served two purposes; like was stated above, I applied glue at points to keep it from drooping and the wide ribbon gave me good working space, also it allowed me to bunch up the ribbon under the tabs giving a more secure hold. I don't know the condition of your head liner, but any effort to gently remove mine eventually resulted in it tearing and I used good head liner tools. If you want really nice windlace and head liner, I suggest removing the 60 year old headliner, properly and securely installing the windlace and if your not up to it, have an auto upholstery shop install a new head liner, it's not all that expensive.

                    My windlace came from Joe Flores of J&J Auto Fabrics in Rialto CA. I originally tried using two sided fabric tape to adhere it to the body and then to install the additional ribbon, that just didn't cut it. The windlace had a split tail where the fabric came around the core and the ends met. I had the seamstress insert the ribbon between the two tail pieces and run a continuous stitch. Lots of working material and plenty strong.


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                    • #11
                      I’m out of the country on business, so won’t get back to it until end of Feb, but the first effort around the drivers side saw no tears or damage. Slow and careful, for sure.

                      Slim needlenose pliers and my trusty dental picks (the $5 HBF orange ones I’ve found hundreds of uses for) were key.

                      thanks for all the follow up, gents.


                      • #12
                        I did the installation of the windlace and headliner. It was the first time for me. I ordered the windlace and headliner from Southeast Studebaker and Rene' Harger's employees did an outstanding job on the finished product. The tail on the windlace was long enough to catch the teeth. When I initially hung the headliner it looked like a loose fitting shower curtain. As you can see, glue and binder clips were my friends around the rear and front windows. I used a one inch wide putty knife with the edges rounded off and dulled to tuck almost all the headliner edges under the windlace.

                        The worst mistake (of several) was thinking that there was too much material on the sail area of the headliner. I initially roughed it out without gluing it and thought I could trim a couple inches off. Bad Move!! when I actually started to install it with the glue, I ran out of material at the front of the sail panel area and when I tried to stretch it toward the back of the sail panel area I got a wrinkle in the vinyl that is there to this day. I put some heat on it from my heat gun which helped a little but I did not want to ruin it. A glass installer came out to the house and installed the front and back glass. I am pretty happy with the end result. Another mistake I made was not paying careful attention to the very first seam back from the front window. When done, and the glue dried I noticed it had a wave to it instead of being straight.

                        I wanted to post this to give you encouragement and a couple of errors I made so you can watch out for them. I am sure you have done your due diligence by searching this forum for help and suggestions that have been given over the years. I did and private messaged a couple of individuals which helped me gain confidence and knowledge before I started on the installation. Good luck!!

                        Charlie D.

                        Attached Files


                        • #13
                          Terrific pictures! What a great combination that red over blue. Your job quality looks fantastic.

                          I have only done one complete headliner installation and that was on a 1961 Dodge Lancer 4-door, the lesser-known cousin of the Plymouth Valiant - same funky Exner body style.

                          Here with my 59 Lark I honestly hope to keep the original textile headliner despite the typical soiling on spots. While I may loosen the headliner around where the windlace teeth are, the bulk of the headliner will stay on the bows and listings, etc.

                          Thanks for the words of encouragement.


                          • #14
                            soiling might indicate critters..... wouldn't want them to stay....dead or alive...!


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by NCDave51 View Post
                              Terrific pictures! What a great combination that red over blue. Your job quality looks fantastic.

                              I have only done one complete headliner installation and that was on a 1961 Dodge Lancer 4-door, the lesser-known cousin of the Plymouth Valiant - same funky Exner body style.

                              Here with my 59 Lark I honestly hope to keep the original textile headliner despite the typical soiling on spots. While I may loosen the headliner around where the windlace teeth are, the bulk of the headliner will stay on the bows and listings, etc.

                              Thanks for the words of encouragement.
                              If you have soiling or water stains on the headliner it's because you have leaks between the drip rail and the roof or leaking gaskets around the windshields. You might also have condensation on the inside of the roof dripping on the fabric from above which can cause the bows to rust. Most people are intimidated by the idea of replacing a headliner but they're not that expensive ($300 or so) and with the right tool and patience you can do a good job. I had staining on my '48 Starlight and when I pulled the headliner I found rust from a leaking windshield gasket, plus, the headliner bows were rusty from condensation and there were some external caulking seal leaks around the drip rails. That stained the headliner and the wind lace and practically every older cloth headliner car will have those stains. I did a replacement on a '60 Lark four door years ago with little problem. I realize the Lark is a different fabric that the older models but the problems that result are the same. On the '48, I painted all of the bows and wind lace clamping pieces with POR-15 paint so they will never rust again. Give the replacement of the headliner some thought and make absolutely sure you find the sources of the staining. My '48 will surely outlast me but at least the next owner won't have to deal with the problem.