Ed's D

My 1983 De Lorean DMC-12, VIN 16908

2013 Chicago St. Patrick’s Day Parade

VIN 16908, my car club and I participated in the 2013 Chicago St. Patrick’s Day Parade. Wind, rain, and snow didn’t keep us from participating! Being the very last unit in the parade didn’t keep us from particpating!

You can also see photos from the event here, and you can see my car in photo 147: http://www.printroom.com/ViewGallery.asp?evgroupid=0&userid=silentbob918&gallery_id=3234401&curpage=3

Staging on Columbus Drive, with Soldier Field and The Field Museum in the background:

Five Deloreans particpated. I was at the back:


I think VIN 16908 was at the very end of the parade. The street sweepers followed us!

I shot video while driving, but I haven’t posted it. I was also caught on instagram: http://instagram.com/p/W7lB7BFQNK/

Headliner and Trim: Repair and Recover

I think I finally worked out how to properly use thumbnails in WordPress. The following project took many hours, and so did the blog!

My headliners were warped, had wrinkled fabric from a bad recover job, stained from roof leaks, and had window sealant on them. Warped, and bowing into the rear window:

Headliner (1)Headliner (2)

To help remove the headliners, I bought this kit at Harbor Freight, but it didn’t help that much. I ended up using force to get them out.

Headliner (3)


Headliner (4)

Gotta take off the seals, and rip off the fabric:

Headliner (5)

Poorly recovered:

Headliner (6)Headliner (7)Headliner (8)Headliner (9)Headliner (10)

Here’s some Window sealant from the previous owner:

Headliner (11)

I removed them all, and they look terrible:

Headliner (12)

I wanted to install a different rear cabin light, so my rear upper trim board had to come out. It already had rust stains, and was broken:

Headliner (15)Headliner (13)Headliner (14)Headliner (16)

I decided to attempt to repair my trim board with fiberglass. Other than its ugly appearance, it turned out ok for my first fiberglass job:

Headliner (17)

I found a vinyl that is a decent match. I bought enough to recover my rear upper trim panel, and a future project – my seatbacks:

Headliner (18)Headliner (19)Headliner (20)

I tried using GM Trim Adhesive for the vinyl, but it didn’t hold very well. The vinyl backing absorbed a lot of the glue before it could tack up. I ended up using contact cement, which is a very tight, strong bond. I don’t think the trim board would survive if I tried to remove the vinyl again.

Headliner (21)

New(er) Saab light installed:

Headliner (23)

This picture does actually does too much justice. There are still imperfections in the trim board, but it looks better than what I started with.

Headliner (22)

I added some new velcro to attach the lip on the board to the underbody. After being out of the car for over a year, I’m happy to have this trim reinstalled.

Headliner (24)

New rear upper trim boards currently cost $312.90. I definitely saved money, but spent many hours fixing it.

My headliners were barely salvageable. I built a jig to hold them while I fiberglassed them:

Headliner (25)Headliner (26)Headliner (27)

Fiberglassing the center section, and piece of door trim:

Headliner (28)

Fiberglass work in the middle of winter in my cold garage was quite a challenge. I managed to go through two containers of resin, when I probably could have only used 1/4. I also used a lot of glazing putty to try to smooth them out. Now I’ve got two yards of new headliner fabric, ready to start recovering:

Headliner (29)

Headliner (30)

The material I chose is called “Smoke Grey” which is a little darker compared to the standard gray being sold at the fabric store. It’s advised to use thin fabric. I went the cheap route, instead of some higher priced material at auto parts stores. It’s about 3/16ths of an inch thick. A lot thicker than my previous material:

Headliner (31)

I marked lines on the back of the fabric, with the grain, so I could keep the fabric straight:

Headliner (32)

I knew the sharp angles of the door headliners would cause wrinkles like they had previously. I built another jig with some foam, a board, and some clamps so I could stretch the fabric before applying it:

Headliner (33)Headliner (34)Headliner (35)Headliner (36)

Some heat to help form the fabric:

Headliner (37)

I let the fabric sit for a few days. I still ended up with some wrinkles, but it worked ok. Gluing it down:

Headliner (38)Headliner (40)

I put the foam from my jig into the headliner while the glue dried:

Headliner (41)

I messed up the fabric on the back headliner, and needed goof-off to remove the glue and fabric. I had just enough fabric to do it again:

Headliner (42)

Here’s under my headliner. You can see the “cave paintings.” I digitally blocked out my key code, and you can see my *original* VIN, 11908!

Headliner (44)Headliner (43)

I had some leftover dynamat that I always intended for the doors:

Headliner (46)Headliner (45)

Ford Style Fir Tree fasteners are horrible to work with! The originals are taller for thicker trim/headliners, while the Fords are meant for very thin trim, and thin headliner fabric. Original left, Ford right:

Headliner (47)

They also don’t have the cam-like screw on the top. Original left, Ford right:

Headliner (48)

I cut my own cam into the fir trees, and bent them for my thick headliners. I broke several, and used almost every one before I perfected my design. I used clothespins and carboard strips to help clamp the fabric while the glue set up. By the way, if you need clothepins, check out a hobby store. Clothespins, along with typewriter ribbons, and Shlitz Beer are nowhere to be found at a supercenter.

Headliner (49)

I used GM Trim Adhesive to stick the fabric to the underbody. I had to protect the interior from overspray:

Headliner (50)

They’re finally installed! Too bad they don’t look that great:

Headliner (51)Headliner (52)Headliner (53)Headliner (54)Headliner (55)Headliner (56)

Gap in the door headliner:

Headliner (57)

I got some of the bows out, and stiffened them up a bit. The stains are gone, but the fabric is too thick, and looks “puffy.” Once again, I didn’t follow Dave’s advice about using thin material.

New headliners with fiberglass backing are currently $450. I still saved money, but with all the time and effort I spent, I didn’t get much in return. My headliners don’t look much better than before.


Item Vendor




3″ Brush Menards

$ 1.20

$ 0.10

$ 1.30

3″ Brush Menards

$ 1.20

$ 0.10

$ 1.30

Ford Panel Retainers (Fir Trees) Autozone

$ 3.99

$ 0.34

$ 4.33

2 Yards Headliner Fabric (Smoke Grey) Hancock Fabrics

$ 14.99

$ 1.35

$ 16.34

Black Shang Vinyl Hancock Fabrics

$ 14.99

$ 1.35

$ 16.34

Bondo Fiberglass Resin Walmart

$ 13.94

$ 1.15

$ 15.09

Bondo Fiberglass Resin


$ 13.94

$ 1.39

$ 15.33

Bondo Fiberglass Hardener

$ 2.48

$ 0.25

$ 2.73

Bondo Fiberglass Mat

$ 5.67

$ 0.57

$ 6.24

Paint Brush

$ 1.47

$ 0.15

$ 1.62

Paint Brush

$ 1.47

$ 0.15

$ 1.62

3M Trim Adhesive

$ 11.87

$ 1.19

$ 13.06

Dap Weldwood Contact Cement Home Depot

$ 10.97

$ 0.91

$ 11.88

Clothespins Hobby Lobby

$ 3.47

$ 0.27

$ 3.74

Velcro Meijer

$ 6.99

$ 0.59

$ 7.58

Goof Off Home Depot

$ 5.98

$ 0.46

$ 6.44

3M Trim Adhesive Walmart

$ 11.87

$ 1.19

$ 13.06

5 Piece Auto Trim and Molding Tool Set Harbor Freight

$ 6.99

$ 0.58

$ 7.57

$ 145.55

New Cabin Lighting

I started this post several weeks ago, and have since started using the WordPress thumbnail feature. I apologize for the strange post style.

My cabin lights were yellowed and feeling flimsy. The light above the parcel shelf was always hanging by its wire, and never seemed to fit. My goal is lights that are a little more modern, brighter, maybe bigger, but remain cheaper than NOS or 3rd party options. I removed the trim and headliners so I could begin exploring my options.

Parcel Shelf Light:

A unit I took from a junkyard Saab. I like how it’s trapezoid shaped, so it fits well with the shape of the parcel shelf:

Uses a festoon bulb:

A light I took from a junkyard Volkswagen Jetta:

Exact same length and width. The depth is shallower.

The LEDs I ordered from China:

Measuring amps:


With the Saab unit, I cut off the festoon bulb holder with a dremel, retaining only the lens. I glued on two of these panel lights behind the lens:

My recovered trim, with the new Saab light installed:
It works:

I prepped the VW unit with 600 grit sandpaper, and SEM Plastic & Leather Prep. Now for some SEM Landau Black Color Coat:

My painted (or dyed?) VW housing, and the new LED festoon unit ready to be used as my map light:

Installed in the headliner:

My new light is a big difference when compared to the old light! It’s a little more modern, yet subtle update. The new map rocks side to side. In the center position, it lights in courtesy mode with the doors open. Rock it to the passenger side, and it turns off. Rock it to the drivers side, and it’s a map light.

DSC_00196 (18)
DSC_00196 (16)
DSC_00196 (13)
DSC_00196 (14)
Well I think I accomplished my goal. In my opinion, the lights look great, and they cost less than this light and a DMCH NOS unit (currently $74.95). I’m pretty proud of this.

Costs (shipping not included):






Salvage Yard Admission


$ 2.00

$ –

$ 2.00

Volkswagen Jetta Dome Light

$ 5.50

$ 5.50

Saab 900 Dome Light

$ 5.50

$ 5.50

Saab 900 Dome Light

$ 5.50

$ 5.50

48 LED Panel Light


$ 3.03

$ –

$ 3.03

48 LED Panel Light

$ 3.03

$ 3.03

(2) 16 SMD LED Festoon

$ 1.91

$ 1.91

SEM Landau Black Color Coat

Summit Racing

$ 9.95

$ –

$ 9.95

SEM Plastic and Leather Prep

$ 10.75

$ 10.75

3M P600 Sandpaper

Advance Auto Parts

$ 4.99

$ 0.41

$ 5.40

Insulated Disconnect Pairs


$ 2.57

$ 0.20

$ 2.77

$ 55.34