Jensen Carpets | Conservation or Replacement
The Museum discusses the decisions Jensen owners have to make in regard to sympathetic carpet conservation & replacement.
West Bromwich manufactured Jensen FF cars (along with Interceptors) were finished with best quality Wilton carpets. The vast majority were trimmed with a matching coloured vinyl edging, although leather edge finishing was available as an option.
Both the passenger and driver carpets had rubber heel pads in a so-called ‘pyramid square’ pattern. Additionally, a passenger side foot rest was also fitted into the foot well as a standard feature. This could be removed to allow extra leg room if required.
When the carpets were trimmed at the Jensen factory, they were marked on the backs; in coloured crayon or chalks; with the chassis number of the car. Occasionally the trimmer marked the backs with his factory trimmer’s number, rather than the chassis number (the reason for this isn’t known).
The first few FFs were built up and trimmed at Vignale in Italy.The materials and workmanship provide many subtle differences when compared to a car trimmed at the Jensen factory, West Bromwich. Particularly noticeable are the rubber heel pads, which have ‘horizontal lines’ as opposed to the ‘pyramid squares’.
Conservation of existing carpets
Many Jensen cars today; including FFs; will already have had a carpet change within the life of the car. However, if your car has been looked after, and still retains the original carpets, a decision has to be made regarding conservation of the original carpets, or replacement.
The Museum’s response is one of sympathetic conservation where possible. If a car has been well maintained throughout its life, the majority of the carpets may be in good enough condition to retain. If this is the case, then a simple clean with a carpet cleaner and left to dry, will probably bring the colour and material back to life. Often, it will be found that although most of the carpets are fine, that the driver & passenger carpets have simply worn out. In this instance, a marque specialist trimming firm, such as Rejen in Hampshire, can make up replacement driver & passenger carpets using your originals as patterns. This company in particular, have a sympathetic approach to trimming and carpeting work, and undertake any necessary trim-work for the Museum.
Replacement of existing carpets
If the carpets are beyond any realistic conservation (often brought about by water ingress and damp over many years), then the only option is a complete replacement. If replacement is required, then ideally the new carpets when fitted should look as close as possible to how they would have looked when the car left the factory. As with any conservation work, a marque specialist trimming firm will able to get the ‘original factory look’. Luckily, where Jensen FF cars are concerned, Wilton carpet was fitted in all but the first Vignale built cars. Wilton carpet is still available, and the majority of the original Jensen carpet colours are still within their range.
Rejen, have gone to great lengths to source the correct style and colour vinyl edgings. This company also hold all the original Jensen factory templates for cutting the carpet to shape, and their trimmers have been trained to trim using the same styles and nuances employed by the trimmers at the Jensen factory.
If Rejen are employed to make up and fit a carpet set to your car, they will also, if asked, mark up the carpet backs with the same chassis number / trimmer number as the originals.
The Museum treats the car’s underlay the same as the carpet, in other words, sympathetic conservation or replacement. Three original types of underlay were used in Jensen FF cars. Vignale built cars had a typical underlay with a black slightly resinous finish to the top face. Once the cars were being built up at the Jensen factory, West Bromwich, the company fitted an underlay with the brand name ‘Cushin Tred’.
This underlay had a green coloured top face with an impressed square pattern. On the MK.III cars, a form of rubber underlay was employed.
Both the black finished Vignale type underlay, and the rubber underlay can be replaced if necessary with modern equivalents. Currently there is no equivalent on the market for the 1960s manufactured ‘Cushin Tred’. The museum has looked into the re-manufacture of this underlay, and test samples look hopeful. The Museum expects to have a suitable modern equivalent of this green underlay manufactured in the not too distant future.
If you are undertaking a retrim / replacement carpet set for your Jensen, and do not wish to archive the old leather or carpets, then the Museum would be interested to hold them within our materials archive. This applies to all Jensen cars, not just the Jensen FF. The Museum will pay all courier costs.
SPECIAL NOTES: Please contact us if you wish to donate your original Jensen car materials to the Museum.
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