Good morning - 21 January - On door panel inserts

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21 Jan 2011 09:02 #2983 by martinss
Yesterday I pulled the door panel inserts on my '88 S4. What I found got me thinking.

One of the interesting things about restoring a car is learning how it was constructed. After my initial surprise seeing the welding slag and hand applied seam sealer on the hatch floor, most things I've found have been really well engineered. Perhaps overly complex at times; arguably really good engineering can sometimes find a simpler way with fewer potential points of failure.

Sure the passenger floorboard is really that - a board of plywood over the CE. That was fairly typical for the 70's when the 928 was designed.

What I didn't expect was that the door panel insert would be hardboard. Actually hardboard was also fairly commonly used in cars like plywood at that time. Thin hardboard has very little structural strength - it easily deforms - it is quite absorbent and quickly develops a smell. It is not the best thing to cover with leather in a car without additional sealing and support. Especially if that leather is prone to shrink.

Hence my warped door inserts. Especially since they have no support, and are only fastened at the rear not the front (where they are tucked behind the door handle surround). There are some cutouts at the front that look like they were for more clips - but they weren't used. I wonder if they were in early cars?

While left and right inserts are obviously mirror images, Porsche used one blank for both sides. You can tell that since thin hardboard is textured on one side and smooth on the other.

I've been thinking of adding a custom insert to provide a little colour relief to my all black interior and eying Paul Champagne's gorgeous inserts . Paul clearly sews the leather then applies it to the panel afterward.

So I was surprised to see that Porsche sewed the leather right through the hardboard! That was some sewing machine. I doubt it would have been possible to do this through plywood. It also makes removing the leather without damage much harder. Not that I need to, other than to make a template.

So what does all this say? Not much I suppose. It's just a commentary on the times and inevitable compromises even on what was a very expensive car in the day.

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21 Jan 2011 11:15 #2984 by 928mac
holy cow martin :) this is a hell of a post for a good morning thread ha ha ;)

I know what you are saying about how some manufactures did things back then and even now today.

You should copy and past this into the gen thread as it would make a good discussion.

Good Morning 928 friends TGIF
Hope you have a great day and get to work on or drive your car.
I may spin a few more bolts off.

Cheers
Brad

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21 Jan 2011 11:33 #2985 by pcar928fan
Replied by pcar928fan on topic Good morning - 21 January - On door panel inserts
I talked to Paul about that once and I think he did say that he sews through the board too...at least around the edges as I recall. I could be wrong, I have slept at least one good night since then, but I swear that is what he told me and I too was shocked a sewing machine could get through the board.

James
78 Silver / Black-white #295
84 Ruby Red / Black AO84
88 Dark Blue / Linen-Black
92 Polar Silver / Dark Blue 92EURO
93 Arrow Blue / Black

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21 Jan 2011 12:18 #2987 by martinss
Looking at Paul's pics it looks like he may keep the 1/4 board to the edges but then double up for most of the panel, as well as adding padding. I'm thinking of that approach. I guess I should actually talk to him...

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21 Jan 2011 12:19 #2988 by martinss

holy cow martin :) this is a hell of a post for a good morning thread ha ha ;)...


More of a topic-de-jour Brad!

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21 Jan 2011 20:32 #2993 by 928mac
BTW James, thank you for trying to back me on the pic tread.

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23 Jan 2011 18:47 #3016 by pcar928fan
Replied by pcar928fan on topic Good morning - 21 January - On door panel inserts
^^^^^
True that Brad! Has rubbed me the wrong way more than once.

James
78 Silver / Black-white #295
84 Ruby Red / Black AO84
88 Dark Blue / Linen-Black
92 Polar Silver / Dark Blue 92EURO
93 Arrow Blue / Black

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