GROUND UP RESTORATION OF A MOTORING ICON
OUR TORANA HATCHBACK PROJECT RECEIVES AN ALL-NEW CABIN THANKS TO AUTO IMAGE CAR INTERIORS W e’re on the home stretch with our latest giveaway project car and one of the key jobs was to re-trim its tired interior.
We entrusted that to industry veteran Sam Fisicaro and his crew at Auto Image Car Interiors in Thomastown, Vic. Sam started 26 years ago as an apprentice at EDS Auto Interiors (which manufactured Aerotech sports seats) and ended up running the company before striking out on his own 16 years ago.
Since then Auto Image has trimmed everything from street machines and hot rods to Harley seats. “These days we specialise on Aussie and US muscle cars and restorations but we’ve also done the new cars like the HDT retro Commodores,” Sam said. “An old boss of mine used to say: ‘If you can’t do anything that comes in through the door, you’re not a true trimmer’. We can do it all.”
Good stuff, but we didn’t make it particularly easy for him.
Uncle Phil dropped the Torana off two days before Christmas and told him we needed it back the next day for final assembly before the Torana could be shipped to Canberra for its debut on the Unique Cars stand at Summernats. It seemed like a tall order but Sam has done plenty
of Toranas – 12 in the last six months he reckons – so he was ready to rock as soon as the car hit the deck.
“We’ve done a lot of these specialty cars and I knew we’d have a crazy deadline, so we geared up for it and knew we’d be able to get the job done in time. If Unique Cars had wanted something more custom it might have been a different story but we were going for an original look.
Everyone likes a stock interior.”
Luckily he had a head start, as the front seats – originally tan, and mis-matched to the black rear seat – had been dropped off a week earlier and were already 90 per cent trimmed and basically ready to slot in when the car lobbed.
“We usually work from the roof down,” Sam explained.
“The roof lining goes in first, then all the sides and door panels and the carpets and seats go in last.” Sam tackled the roof while Garth worked on finishing the seats and Brad did the sound proofing and the boot area.
These days there are many high quality reproduction parts and materials available to restore an Aussie classic to a showroom finish.
Sam turned to Novatex International for the vinyl required, using Slate long-grain vinyl with golf ball inserts for the seats and a herringbonegrain vinyl for the roof lining.
“Novatex has brought out a lot of Holden reproduction vinyls which give us the opportunity to get a car back to original,” he said. “Before that we had to use materials that were close, or try to work with second-hand inserts because you couldn’t buy stuff like original golf ball insert vinyl.”
The reproduction Polyweld door panels came from Pro-Stitch in NSW and fitted straight on and Knox Auto Carpets supplied the terrific old-school classic loop pile carpets.
“It’s a little more expensive but it looks fantastic in the car,” Sam reckons.
Rare Spares came to the rescue, as usual, with a bunch of items including sun visors, armrests, interior light, window winders, console and reproduction hardware like clips. It all went pretty smoothly, Sam said.
“We got it done with plenty of time to spare.”
Job well done, fellas!
GET IT RUNNING
Mick over at Glenlyon Motors has been ringmaster for this project and has proven to have the patience of a saint.
Look forward to an upcoming story on his advice for your project.
Glenlyon Motors (03) 9380 5082 Precision International (engine components) Autotrax Group (transmission) Glenroy Exhaust Corporate Auto Body Auto Image Car Interiors Aussie Desert Cooler Shannons Insurance Performance Ignition Services Dashboard Doctor Quick Fuel Injection Koni Suspension Tuff Mounts Lowe Fabrication McDonald Brothers Rare Spares