By Frank Clarid
Originally published in the Austin-Healey Magazine
Have you seen the carpet kits available for Sprites and Midgets? They cost $100 and up and they do not fit properly There is a solution and it should only cost you about $30 and a little elbow grease. These are the items you will need:
Two rolls (4 yards) auto carpet from any auto parts chain store (such as Pep Boys) or discount store (such as Wal Mart). You can even go to a carpet store! Average price in my area is $5 per yard or $ 10 per 2 yard roll of any color.
A razor utility knife with extra blades.
If you still have your original carpets you can use them as a template. If not, or your present carpets do not fit correctly, no problem, just follow these simple instructions.
Remove the seats and tracks.
Measure the length of the floor from rear bulkhead to the front frame rail, up over and down frame rail, and measure width across the floor pan.
Cut 2 pieces, I for each side about 24 inches by 36 inches.
Lay the carpet in the floor and trim to the center hump and front cross member with the razor knife. Keep the pieces you just cut off as they will be used for the frame members at the footwells.
Cut a piece of carpet 48 inches by 24 inches for the rear deck and bulkhead. This curves right around and looks much better than the 2 pieces that come in a kit.
Trim to fit. Use the cut off pieces for the rear wheel wells and their frame rails. Cut a piece 19 inches by 19 inches for the back of the center hump. The two most difficult areas are the wheel wells and the front of the hump with its curves and shifter hole.
For the wells, glue up both suffices cut out for the seat belt bolt if your Sprite is so equipped. Fold the carpet and cut through the fold (double cut) for a perfect fit. Try this with an old heavy rag or sweat shirt to get a pattern.
As for the front hump, this must be done in 3 pieces. Cut the left and right sides 1-inch taller than needed. Cut the top 2 inches wider than needed. Hold the two pieces in place and mark the top corners with chalk. These will have to be sewn together. A heavy duty sewing machine works best, but it can be done by hand if needed. A little binding around the shifter and rear edge gives it a nice finishing touch. Again, use an old piece of rag as a template.
Once all the pieces have been fitted and trimmed, spray the glue on both surfaces, let stand for 1 minute and press into place.
The carpet should hold in place for many years and can easily be removed with some mild pulling should you want to inspect the floor panels for rust from time to time. For a really nice touch, try some carpet padding under the rug. You won't believe how much road noise this eliminates. Glue it in the same manner as you did the carpets. I have done this procedure 4 times now 2 with padding and two without. I've had no problems with loose carpeting going on 5 years and I saved myself some money in the bargain.
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