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1978 Spider
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Discussion Starter #1
It's time for me to replaced the panels on my 78 Spider. The upper sections are still good, but the bottoms are getting warped and some of the vinyl is bad.
Has anyone made their own panels, and could you send me a photo?
Thanks,
Jim
 

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Door panels

I didn't make my own lower door panels, but it would not be difficult. It is simply vinyl stretched over a thin particle-board type wood. I've included front and back pictures. You can use the old material as a pattern for the new ones.

I recolored mine from blue to black using vinyl dye and they now look like new.

When you do this, repair the map holder brackets. I fashioned new ones out of aluminum. There are other posts on the bulletin board about this.
 

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71 Berlina 74 GTV 17 Giulia Q4
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nice job, congrats!
 

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1978 Spider
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Discussion Starter #4
Mine will be even easier, it doesn't have the map holders. I'll have a go at them in a couple weeks when I have time.
Thanks for the reply.
Jim
 

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I just did this last week, and it was really simple. I just took the old panel off and used it as a template on a new piece of 1/8 in. masonite. There is also a piece of backing material between the vinyl and the masonite. I replaced that and used spray adhesive to secure it to the masonite. Then I just stapled new vinyl on just like the original (using 1/4 in. staples). The only thing I have remaining is to get my wife to sew up some of the vinyl to make the piping that goes around the outer edge. (The Alfa's not really a priority in her life.:rolleyes:) Unfortunately, I didn't take pictures along the way.
 

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Masonite doesn't play well with moisture. If you use it, coat the board with a coat or two of an outdoor polyurethane - on both sides. Then be sure you install the plastic liner on the door before mounting the panel. Also be sure the drains on the bottom of the door are clear. Alfa doors are made to be wet inside in the rain, and drain out the bottom. A coat of POR wouldn't hurt inside the bottom of the door either.

Robert
 

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A picture of the new door panel installed on the door is attached. Not the best lighting, but you get the idea. My car has power windows, so I didn't re-install the plastic cover where the hand crank would go. As I mentioned, I still need to make the replacement piping around the outer edge.

 

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Masonite doesn't play well with moisture. If you use it, coat the board with a coat or two of an outdoor polyurethane - on both sides. Then be sure you install the plastic liner on the door before mounting the panel. Also be sure the drains on the bottom of the door are clear. Alfa doors are made to be wet inside in the rain, and drain out the bottom. A coat of POR wouldn't hurt inside the bottom of the door either.

Robert
I agree that Masonite isn't the best material, but that's what was in there, and I assume that it was original. Of course, we're having this discussion because it warps and deforms with moisture. My car is garaged and doesn't go out if I would have to put the top up, so I didn't focus on the moisture issue. I did, however, see on the board the link below to a thread about using ABS sheet material for door-panel replacement.

ABS Plastic and Door Panels - THE H.A.M.B.
 

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I didn't mean to imply that masonite shouldn't be used, just that it should be protected; it's just an extra day or so for it to dry and harden well. Even high humidity can cause problems long term, and a few coats of poly can prevent them all.

Robert
 

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I didn't mean to imply that masonite shouldn't be used, just that it should be protected; it's just an extra day or so for it to dry and harden well. Even high humidity can cause problems long term, and a few coats of poly can prevent them all.
I didn't consider the humidity. That's a good point. I only did one door so far, so I'll treat the other when I replace it. Thanks.
 

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1978 Spider
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Discussion Starter #12
After reading the thread at H.A.M.B., I think I'll try ABS plastic.
Rich-Thanks for the link!
Jim
 

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After reading the thread at H.A.M.B., I think I'll try ABS plastic.
Let us know how it turns out. I thought it sounded pretty good and would be curious how easy it is to work with that material.
 

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1978 Spider
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Discussion Starter #14
Will do,
It won't be for a few weeks, but I'll post photos.
Jim
 

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piling on..

a bit..but here's my 79 panels.. before and after... Did most of whats discussed above.. used the old for a template, took my time, did a panel in one evening in the kitchen. Spray adhesive and some short staples, stretched the new material. Got the vinyl from upper end fabric store that had auto quality stuff with stretch to it, nicer color for me too.... and coated the uncovered part with one coat of paint/sealant. I live in NM.. we outlawed rain and mold years ago, so for my area, this should last beyond my funeral..
 

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Don... Handle was just on temporary... Both panels are waiting on a shelf along with redone other stuff whilst we paint the car this summer I hope.. but thanks.. D
 
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