Need help with headliner


Sharpest Tool
Feb 6, 2010
Ann Arbor MI.
First Name
Willys Model
  1. Wagon
Willys Year:
  1. 1961
Are there any Willys wagons with good headliners and completed interiors in the Detroit metro area? I'm starting to get going on the interior and don't really know how it is supposed to look. I would love to be able to see one in person. Even some detailed pictures of the headliner and the trim around the doors would really help. Or, does anyone know of a good link online that's shows how to finish off the interior? Thanks.
The guy I bought my Wagon from did all the interior himself. He was very proud of the headliner and I like it a lot. As you can see in the pics, it's not stock. He used a fuzzy material that has a thin foam backing. The material is similar to what is used in the headliners of cars today. As you can see, he painted the stock headliner bows and mounted them UNDER the material instead of above. The side panels and panel above the windshield are made of a thin plywood with the material glued on and screwed to the body.

Again--it's not stock, but I think he did an excellent job and I really like the way it looks. You probably already know this, but if you click on the pics they will get larger for a more detailed view.

Good Luck,
Old Willy


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Here is a partial look at my headliner. I got this one from the jeepster man back in '96. Not a professional instal by any means, but it's in. :)
Headliners will come with the support sheaths sewn in, so all you have to do is run your bows thru, and then start pulling and tightening.

What I didn't know back then, is that a heat gun comes in real handy for making sure things are taught.
Hope this helps a little bit.
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My wife volunteered to sew my headliner, and looped the fabric where each bow was located. There is some distance from the end of the bow to the start of the sewing as seen in the pics. I guess this gives you the ability to move the end forward/rearward to get out the wrinkles. My headliner is the same tweed as the door panels, and when all installed, I sprayed a little water to get it to shrink taught. The trim pieces at the door posts and rear posts are 1/8" poster board with the fabric contact cemented in place. If I remember correctly, the headliner stapled to the wood inserts behind the trim. Window trim covers most of it. Installed in late 2003 and still holding up. I glued a layer of foam and a layer of dynamat to the top first. Dome light is from a Ford, has one main bulb and two spots. Swap meet, $10.


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Looks good, Gary.
Nice that your wife helped you out as well. Eventually, I'll redo mine, but it's been holding for 15 years, I guess it can go a few more. :lol:
Nick, let us know when you start this, and maybe some pics along the way to help others that might want to tackle this task.
Good luck. :cheers:
germain, Can you add a picture of your side panels? I'm considering using a similar fabric for my interior (different color). Can you elaborate on the 1/8" poster board? I'm not exactly sure what that is. Is it the stuff that comes in a 4'x8' sheet at the hardware stores?

Give Willys America a call.

My catalog lists the headliner at $155. They have all the original colors and patterns and they are ready to install onto the original ribs. Not to take away business from the eBay guy (looks like a good product there too), but I prefer to support a Willys parts supplier to keep them going. They're great people to work with. I've ordered everything through them, and they're always very knowledgeable when you have issues.
I have no connection to the ebay guy, just something I ran across.
I do know that the headliner bows go in order....some are different in size.
mpc; if you enlarge the pics you will see what looks like a seam along and about 1" above the metal window trim. That is the edge of the poster board I borrowed from my kids, they used a lot of it for school projects. It's dense cardboard, and can only be cut with a utility knife, scissors won't work. The only reason I knew what to do here is one side of the old headliner had these fabric covered pieces in place along tne metal trim, just stuck in before the screws were totally tightened. I copied the shapes, but they really just follow the metal trim contours, and are slightly larger to fit behind and still show outside of the trim. I guess you could make one long piece, but my kids poster board was only 24x30. I glued the fabric on with spray contact cement. These are cosmetic and do not hold the headliner in place.
The cool part of the tweed fabric is that it stretches in two directions, making the wrinkles at the corners go away easier. If you put the bows up you will find that the spacing at the front and back bows is wider in the middle of the roof, narrower at the corners. My wife sewed the loops for the headliner bows with this variation in width of the end panels, with the headliner layed on a flat surface. If you don't, you will have a fold in the corners.
The thing no one has mentioned is stapling the headliner in place. Replace any wood strips that won't hold a staple or you will have the thing falling out on you.
Hope this is helpful,
Thanks. I didn't mean for the headliner. I meant pictures of the side panels at the doors or below the windows. I was curious if it was relatively easy to wrap the tweed fabric around the corners without it bunching up too much.

The vinyl fabric the previous owner used on my panels was cut into 8 or 10 pie slices and wrapped around the corner, then glued to the back of the panel. It was meant to keep it from bunching up, but you can see the cuts and it looks pretty cheesy.

I'm also considering using something pretty thick for the panels like 1/4" thick plywood. Then attaching the fabric to the back of the panels with a staple gun. It might look weird having the panels stick out that far though. Has ayone tried something like that?
my build thread shows the door panels, made from smooth wall paneling. It is rigid, but thin enough to look good on the door. I did the wedge cutting at the corners, but didn't have but one corner on a kickboard with a cut exposed. i installed them with velcro strips on all edges for a no fastener clean look. My panels are also tweed tops and vinyl bottoms for ease of cleaning. to give the fabric/vinyl some cushion, there is a thin foam layer glued to the panel first. An auto upolstery(sp) supply can provide the correct thickness materials. For the floor they recommended boat carpet. A few visible cuts, but it has held up and was easy to glue to the dynamat insulation.
O.K., found your build thread. Thanks. That looks good. Nice and clean. I guess there's no way around those sliced wedges, but it sounds like you did a better job of it than my previous owner.