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MG MGB Technical - Door panel material

I'm in need of new door panels, kick panels, etc. I'll just cover with vinyl. what's a good, durable material to use? i'd like something stonger than cardboard, thinner than plywood, and easier to work with than metal. any ideas?

don g

Hi Don.

Fiberboard is what my originals came with.

BEC Cunha


thin air craft ply wood is a usable substitute to the cardboard. You can saw out the right shape, drill the necessary holes, prime and paint it and glue the plasic on. I tried it once and will do it again next time. Have a look at 1/8" material, it is the same thickness as the cardboard, i think.

hope this helps


Like Ralph, I have used standard wall paneling, it's 1/8" and cuts easily. Try to use ones made of real wood,not the cheapest and not the most expensive. For the larger pieces like door panels I cut it with the grain running vertical so as to give it a little more strength. I put the paneling side inside,to be covered with the material, and the backside then looks pretty original. I ended up using good upholstery adhesive as most staples are too long and end up coming thru the front side. Hope this helps.
MK Mike

I made new panels out of a pressed board that I bought at THE HOME DEPOT. Comes in 4x8 sheets. Very inexpensive and easy to work with. Then I brought the panels to a local upholsterer. Very expensive but just what I was looking for.
Dana Wilson

3mm (1/8") MDF board from your hardware supplier will be easiest to work with, as it has no grain and is simple to cut using a jigsaw. Used by many upholsterers.
Dana is probably suggesting the same material.
MDF doesn't like getting wet, but neither did the original fibreboard!
David Overington

Thanks all!

don g

After doing the walls of a shower stall with 1/8" plastic, I had some left over. So I used it for a door panel. It's not going to deteriorate when it gets wet, cuts easy enough with a jigsaw, and not very expensive. It's available in home centers and lumber yards, has a pebble finish on one side, comes in 4X8 sheets. It might have some glass fibers in it, too.

The pebble finish looks fine painted black as a divider/gas tank cover in my TR3, too. I had some thin plywood from an old hollow door that I used as a tank/trunk divider in my TR4, left it as the stained/varnished wood finish - looks great. I like using leftover stuff, especially when it works so well.

I did as MK Mike did ~ about 20 yrs ago on the advice of my upholsterer. The difference in his suggested use was that the paneling be varnished with a good grade of marine spar varnish (or polyurethane), both sides and all edges, before he would apply the upholstery. These have held up very well ever since and gave him the opportunity to sew the panel covers (thru the piping) directly to the panels (his sewing machine would sew right through the soft plywood without breaking needles, as with masonite or plastic), thus, stabilizing and maintaining the look of new for the life of the panel. A recent photo is attached.

Bob Muenchausen

Masonite at 1/8" thick is the closest material to what the originals were in my 73B.

I'm fortunate that in my business I have a CNC router and the ability to trace any part and get it into the computer for tool path generation.

I traced what was left of my old door panels (water damage to the bottom 3")and then cut new backers out of the 1/8" masonite on the CNC. Came out perfect! Just stapled the old original vinyl to them and reinstalled. Not quite "new", but looks sound and clean, and I maintained my factory original vinyl coverings.

I still have these cut files on the computer and would consider cutting more panels for a very small charge (just to cover material expenses) if anyone would like.

BH Davis
BH Davis

You need to get some very thin foam to go under the vinyl. Cheap enough and readily available at rubber shops like clark rubber. 5mm easily squashes down to nothing, but gives the vinyl a smooth professional look when finished. spray on glue (or wet/tacky paint) for the middle, and on the edges I had planned to use a stapler and Contact adhesive. The staples were redundant and I stopped using them almost immediately. The contact adhesive was more than enough. The yellow/green stuff you buy by the tin and put on with a brush and wait until it goes tacky
Thin 3 ply is very close, if not the same, thickness as the original water soluble material. It was hard to tell in my case because it had swollen and gone lumpy. I had no trouble at all using an ordinary, very cheap paper stapler, to put staples in the ply, so I can see that a reasonable thick sewing machine needle would not have a problem, as Bob says. An ordinary houshold sewing machine would do the trick easily. You need to get a leather needle if you really want to get fancy. I quite like the plain unadorned look.
I just gave the ply a quick spray of cheap paint as I was in a hurry. I figured that the wood only gets wet from time to time and the surface need only be sealed. Three years later it's as new. I get a leak just above the window winder for reasons I can't fathom. Marine grade paint is of course superior.

On my old GT I used some plastic stuff I got from a sign manufacturer. I can't remember what it is called though! It was white, about 3mm (1/8 inch) thick and quite soft but rigid. Easy to cut with a knife and easy to drill. Also very easy to glue to. As Peter mentioned I used some thin foam under the vinyl. I also just went with a plain piece of black vinyl and that came out looking fine.

Simon Jansen

great info- thanks!
don g

This thread was discussed between 10/11/2007 and 15/11/2007

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