When it comes to interiors, the carpets face the most abuse. Dirt, mud and water are constantly being tracked on to the carpet. Spilled food and drinks are commonplace as well, and even with a set of floor mats, the surrounding carpet will eventually become dingy and stained. If the carpet is well-kept and frequently cleaned, UV light from the sun will eventually render it no good and in need of replacement. While replacing the carpet sounds simple enough, there are models that require a little more effort to correctly replace the original carpet. One such model is the early Mustang fastbacks.
These cars have the unique feature of a fold down rear seat, which makes them really nice for hauling skis, surfboards, or other long items that would otherwise not fit in the trunk. The drawback is that when the carpet needs replaced, typically so does the carpet on the back of these panels. Having spent the majority of the past 40 years under the beating sun, the carpet lining is likely to be faded and crumbling, not something you want seen at a show. Replacing these pieces is not that difficult, but can be made easier by following a few rules and taking the proper steps to ensure a good looking and fitting carpet installation.
There are a few non-standard tools you will need for this job. In order to keep the carpet where it belongs, either 3M Super 77, or a spray gun with contact cement is needed. Using the spray gun is best, with spray contact cement available from just about any upholstery shop, but the Super 77 will do the job. You can also buy this stuff in small can at the local hardware store. Just be sure to clean your gun thoroughly after use, or use a gun dedicated to spray glue only. A cheap $20 primer gun is all you need; don’t ruin a $150 paint gun. A flat blade scraper will also be needed.
The process is simple, just follow these steps to a better, brighter tomorrow….well at least you’ll have nice carpet.
1. The original interior on this one owner, un-restored 1967 Mustang Fastback is in pristine condition. That is, all except for the carpet.
2. The removal begins not inside the car, but underneath it. These rubber plugs must be removed to access the bolts in the floor pan that hold in the seats. Replace these if they are missing, cracked or otherwise deteriorated. If you don’t, the holes fill up with dirt and mud and eventually rust.
3. With the seats unbolted, they can come out.
4. With front seats and rear lower cushion removed, the rear seat panels can now be removed. There are 2 screws holding in the stationary rear section.
5. This piece comes out first to expose the bolts for the folding sections.
6. The 4 bolts are then removed.
7. Then the folding section is removed. Be careful if you are not replacing the upholstery, this rear seat looked almost as if it had never been sat on.
8. The rest of the interior accoutrements are removed such as the seat belts, shifter bezel, door sill plates, and kick panels.
9. The original flooring is in excellent condition, not a sign of rust anywhere, even the original sound dampening is in good condition.
10. The folding rear seat takes the longest, so we started there. The trim must be removed first.
11. Then the side trim is removed. You can do this without fully removing all of the trim, and simply loosening it, but it is probably easier to fully remove it. Now is a great time to spend a few minutes of quality time with a piece of steel wool and the trim. Rubbing the trim down will bring the shine back and doesn’t take that long either.
12. Most of the carpet will come off easily, but there will be some that wants to stay. A flat blade scraper makes quick work of it. The hinged area is better left in place, so use the scraper and pull on the edges that is left underneath the trim to remove it.
13. The new carpet comes in large square pieces, not cut to fit. Lay it on top of the original panel and trim it down carefully with a razor knife. Use some clamps on one side to keep it from shifting.
14. The Super 77 is sprayed on the panel and the carpet, then allowed to set for 1 minute before placing the 2 pieces together. This ensures a fully-bonded seam.
15. The trim is then replaced on the panel and screwed down.
16. With the rear section done, the floor carpet can be replaced. The carpet kit comes with the padding attached, which has been pre-punched for the seat belt holes. You still have to cut the carpet though.
17. Lay the carpet in place and smooth it out on the floor.
18. Slice an X in the carpet where the seat belts and seat bolts go. This keeps the carpet form binding up when tightening the bolts. Reinstall the seat belts.
19. The front section is laid down the same way. To keep the carpet from lifting and looking funky, a carefully sprayed layer of spray glue was added to the carpet seam. Notice the painters tape across the back edge. This ensures no overspray on the exposed carpet.
20. The carpet around the floor shifter needed to be trimmed up for a proper fit. Be careful here, razor blades are plenty sharp.
21. Drop the cover over the hole and bolt it down.
22. The door sill areas needed a little trim as well.
23. The new kick panels were reinstalled and then the new door sill plates were added.
24. The rear seat was replaced and the front buckets were bolted in.
25. All done, complete with matching new floor mats. About a days worth of work, this job added some much needed refreshing to an otherwise pristine interior.
A life-long gearhead, Street Tech Magazine founder and editor Jefferson Bryant spends more time in the shop than anywhere else. His career began in the car audio industry as a shop manager, eventually working his way into a position at Rockford Fosgate as a product designer. In 2003, he began writing tech articles for magazines, and has been working as an automotive journalist ever since. His work has been featured in Car Craft, Hot Rod, Rod & Custom, Truckin’, Mopar Muscle, and many more. Jefferson has also written 5 books and produced countless videos. Jefferson operates Red Dirt Rodz, his personal garage studio, where all of his magazine articles and tech videos are produced. You can follow Jefferson on Facebook (Jefferson Bryant), Twitter (71Buickfreak), and YouTube (RedDirtRodz).