Jason and TJ’s Mk2 Cortina project gets a new interior.
The long winter here in Adelaide has been a perfect opportunity to get the interior sorted on TJ’s Mk2 Cortina, and the newly-installed two-car car garage is a perfect place for Dad and Son to get the job done. It all begins with the original 15-year-old barn fresh interior that can only be best described as half trim/half gutwrenching stench.
Mould, mildew, rat and mice infestations and indescribable horrors lie in wait, ready to be discovered. Fortunately for me, I had TJ! He was given a small brush and told ‘go forth and clean, young Jedi’. 30 seconds later, he re-emerged with a distinct green tinge to his face. The smell was that bad.
Plan B was enacted, which involved a complete interior hose out with a high-pressure cleaner. Next up, everything was stripped out. The old seats were carefully removed, and quickly sold on to recoup some money for the project. In a lucky turn, all four door cards were surprisingly good condition, saving us some much needed Dollars. The original rubber flooring was dead, as too the padded dash top that had cracked severely in the scorching Australian temperatures.
With the Cortina stripped, we stood back and hatched our strategy. It would be a case of installing new carpet, installing late-model seats front and rear, repainting the dash and add in some creature comforts along the way. Cheap and easy to do, the interior would be a cool pace to pilot the Mk2 from.
First step was to seal the floor, and defend the steel from any rusting (which there was none to start with). In went the new carpet underlay, and finally a fresh layer of chocolate brown carpet finished the job nicely. TJ cleaned up the small trim pieces and kick panels, and they went back in as well.
“WITH SOME CHEAP TWEAKS, THE INTERIOR’S NOW A COOL PLACE TO PILOT THE MK2 FROM”
While the dash was apart, we rebuilt the factory heater box, and removed the gunk in the process. The wiring for the dash was removed, checked, and re-installed. The two gauges were checked, cleaned and put back in. Before all this happened, TJ spotted the 1600E premium dash face padding in his searches, and despite us not having one, we came up with a cool compromise. We masked the dash off and painted the insert black, giving the dash a sporty feel. Job done!
Next up a set of Mitsubishi seats were installed front and rear. The rear seat back required some cutting and shutting internally to fit, but overall, the seats went in without any major hassles and provide a more comfortable and supportive place to ride from. Those mint door cards were treated to a quick splash of colour spray to perk them up, and now contrast well with the freshly painted door steel.
TJ has always been perplexed by the long gear shifter, and wanted to add something special to dress it up. He chose to install an obligatory 8-ball shifter
knob to match the air cleaner, and then put a smaller wooden sports wheel and aftermarket tacho to really provide a sporty feel. Back in went the cool ‘80s style auxiliary three-gauge under-dash cluster that came with the car originally, which responded well to a clean-up and wiring check. TJ is starting to develop a keen eye for the finer details, and he followed up with a few quirky rat rod style touches like the surfer gas pedal and dash badges to keep the cabin an interesting and fun place.
Apart from a few issues with the headlining, the interior is now finished. A stereo and speakers need to be installed, but that can wait until the Dollars build up in the bank again. TJ is learning what it takes to get an old car back on the road, and he is also recognising that he needs to save up for quality parts that work first time.
Now the Cortina is in the very final stages of making the transition from barn find to street cruiser. Spring is here in Australia, and in the next episode, after a few final touches… we hit the road!
Stripped and cleaned the interior, fitted new seats, and an 8-ball gearknob Fitting some new wheels, and cruising in the car! We should have it on the road in about a month’s time Interior is finally starting to look like somewhere you’d want to sit. Original seats were sold on... yes, really! The Mk2’s metal dash gets some new paint. What’s been done this month: Next on the to-do list:
More modern seats match existing trim colour. TJ gets busy cleaning out years of crud while 8-ball knob was essential purchase (below). Xxxxxxxx