There are certain things that truly bother a car guy. Exhaust leaks, an unknown rattle, and a sagging headliner top the list of annoyances. Today, we’re working in our home garage to tackle the sagging headliner in 1964 Corvette coupe. For most cars, it’s probably better to leave a headliner installation to the pros, but for 1963-’67 Corvette coupes, it’s a pretty straightforward install.
We called up Zip Products for a new, reproduction headliner in black to match our upholstery. (Other colors are available.) We reused most of our original parts, but Zip also offers new sunvisors, rearview mirror, trim screws and necessary clips if you need them. If you’re working with any color other than black, matching the original vinyl-covered sunvisors is nearly impossible so it’s best to replace them with new units for the best color match.
The majority of the headliner swap involves Phillips head screws, which retain the various trim pieces that hold the headliner in place. No other tools are required, besides some form of cutting utensil in case you need to trim the headliner for a precise fit. Once the headliner is in place, it’s a matter of installing the original trim pieces.
We handled this install in a matter of approximately three hours. It greatly improved the appearance of our 1964 Corvette coupe and is an affordable option compared to sending the car to an upholstery shop. As long as you have a Phillips screwdriver and a little bit of patience, you can tackle this project in your home garage. Follow along with our install, and you’ll see some tips and tricks that will surely help with your project. Vette
The original headliner in our 1964 Corvette coupe no longer followed the contour of the roof. Instead, it sagged in two areas and had several areas of dimples that didn’t help with the ailing appearance.
Our first step was removing the sunvisors. Our visors were in great shape, so we decided to reuse them instead of ordering new ones. All the hardware involved in the swap features a Phillips head, so the tool list is rather short.
The rearview mirror is next in line for disassembly. It is held in place with two screws. Now would be a good time to replace the mirror and bracket if yours has typical pitting.
Then, we remove the six screws from the A-pillar molding. With the screws removed, the molding can be pulled outward to release it from the mounting tab.
The windshield molding fits beneath the A-pillar moldings, so it is next on our list. Two screws hold it in place.
The rear of the headliner slides between the roof and the halo trim panel. In order to remove the headliner, we need to release some of the tension off the halo panel. The leading screw on the halo panel also holds the “over door” molding.
Next, the over door molding can slide forward to free itself from the mounting tabs, which keep the channeled trim piece aligned.
After the over door trim slides out of the mounting tabs, you’ll need to carefully wiggle the trim piece away from the roof. This clip is the last thing holding the trim in place. Zip Products offers new clips (PN I-1174) for this trim if you break the originals or simply want to replace them.
Now, we remove the remaining screws in the halo panel to give us a little more room for the old headliner to slide out, and for the new headliner to slide in.
At this point, the headliner may require some wiggling to get it loose from the front edges, but after the front is loose, it should easily slide out from under the halo panel.
The new headliner came from Zip Products (PN I-820.20). It is manufactured by Corvette America and features vinyl material bonded to a rigid plastic backing. We opted for black to match our original interior.
We slid the back of the headliner between the halo panel and the roof for test fitment. Trimming may be necessary to get a precise fit. Tin snips makes easy work of fabric, foam and even the plastic backing if necessary. The idea is that the headliner fits just inside the lip around the birdcage.
When it came time for final fitment, it’s best to have a helping hand to keep everything in place and make sure both sides are even. Carlee was a great helper for this project.
The windshield molding can be loosely installed to hold the headliner in place while we work our way from back to front with the moldings.
The over door moldings can be tricky, as they must align on the front and rear mounting tabs. We also have to snap the clip into place to secure the molding.
When the over door molding is secure, we can button it up with the screw that passes through the halo panel.
The A-pillar moldings come next. These moldings must first slide onto the same mounting tab as the over door molding before the screws can be installed.
Continue the A-pillar molding installation on the passenger side. Now would be a good time to have an interior screw kit within reach.
The rearview mirror can be reattached with two new screws.
Finally, we reattach the original sunvisors using new screws. After they are attached to the roof, you can adjust the tension of the visor to your liking.
The refreshed look is a far cry from the sagging and dimply headliner that is now in the trash. We only spent a few hours in our home garage without any special tools and our 1964 Corvette headliner install is complete.
Photography by Tommy Lee Byrd