I recently had the pleasure of reupholstering the cockpit of an MGA roadster. The catch was there were no original parts to use as a pattern. I had to do some research. After an exhaustive search I came to the conclusion there was not much about MGA roadster cockpit rail repair and upholstery on the internet. If you have the pleasure of undertaking this task the goal of this post is to make your life easier.
I started with bare rails.
To the best of my knowledge my client bought a rail kit from Moss Motors www.mossmotors.com. I could not find a kit on the site myself so I can’t confirm it exists, but I was brought a kit with all the frame rails, a couple pieces of leather, and a couple pieces of vinyl. That is where the mystery started. It became apparent very quickly there was some hardware missing. If you find yourself in this position do yourself a favor and order the ”HARDWARE KIT for all cockpit rails” part number 321-810. Things will look a lot clearer when you receive the hardware kit.
After you sort through the nuts and bolts you will need to start assembling all the parts. When you have the kits in front of you assembly is not hard to figure out. You can also look on the Moss Motors site and get some hints from their exploded diagrams.
Line up the door top rails and door corner rails. I prefer to center them as much as possible. You will need to use some filler later, and centering minimizes the amount of filler on one side or the other.
Mix up your filler of choice and start covering anything that isnt smooth. If you neglect to do this eventually you will see every crack and screw head recess through your covering. Also every edge is a point for potential wear.
Your rails look terrible. Sand them smooth.
I don’t have any pictures showing the application of the upholstery. My advice is: Use short staples on the aluminum parts and longer staples on the wooden parts. If you have a steamer it will help you get the leather on the corner sections smooth. If you have a heat gun it will help you with they vinyl. Don’t burn yourself. Practice if you can.
This is what it looks like when assembled.
The door rail.
The rear corner rail.