The six-month carpet saga

Lakewell two passenger mats

I won’t go into every detail of the entire saga but reproduced below are the salient points. First, the positive: I have learned a lot about outsourcing some of the restoration work. Also, the carpet kit arrived before Lakewell said it would. Things were off to a good start, or so I thought. However, upon closer inspection the most obvious issue was they had sent two right hand floor mats :-/

Don’t ask me how the person putting the carpet pieces in the box did not realize that they were packing two passenger-side mats and no driver-side mat. Email number one to Lakewell. No problem, they said, they would send another but did request I sent the duplicate heel pad back.

The second issue was that two pieces of carpet that are attached to the underside of the dash area were missing from the Lakewell kit. Not a big deal since they cannot really be seen so I decided to leave the original tan pieces for the next custodian of the car to unexpectedly find the next time they have their head upside down in the footwell.

The third and fourth issues were initially minor but as the saga continued, became the cause of increasing frustration. The Lakewell website says that each part will be labelled or numbered to correspond to the illustrated fitting instructions. My pieces were neither labelled nor numbered and the fitting instructions were not even for my model of early 308 GTB. The car in the instructions looked like a QV. I wasn’t frustrated with the lack of labels because I could not work out where the pieces went – I could. I was frustrated because the labels would have told me what parts Lakewell thought they had sent me. 

I started fitting the carpet working from back to front. The first three pieces were over-sized by Lakewell and needed trimming but that was to be expected. So far so good.

Starting Carpet Replacement Ferrari 308

The fifth issue was a big one. The sill pieces were the wrong size and shape. They looked roughly the right shape but they were 15 cm too long, 10 cm too wide. However, they were also not finished along the edges that glue down onto the aluminum sill trim. I realize now that these pieces were probably for a GTS since that has reinforced, thicker sills that probably need more carpet to cover them. The GTS carpet is also not finished along the edge just like the carpet Lakewell sent me.

Incorrectly sized ferrari 308 carpet

My upholsterer took the old and new carpet away to trim and edge the new  to match the old and returned it in two days so I could continue fitting the carpet. Once fitted, the Lakewell pieces  did look rather good!

Lakewell carpet modified to fit Ferrari 308

The replacement driver’s floor mat had not appeared after 6 weeks so another email was sent to Lakewell. Apparently it had been sent but then returned due to a bad address label. Another would be dispatched. With hindsight, it was better that the first replacement did not arrive since it became apparently in the email exchange with Lakewell that they had sent yet another passenger-side mat instead of a driver side mat. Yes, they had made the same mistake… twice.

The sixth issue was also a major problem. This time some pieces were too small rather than too large, incorrectly shaped and not finished correctly at one edge.

Incorrectly sized ferrari 308 carpet
I still don’t know what sort of 308 these carpet pieces are for but as you can see definitely not mine. The pieces to cover the wheel arch intrusions below the A-pillar did not reach all the way to the door frame:
Incorrectly sized ferrari 308 carpet
Lakewell advertise a satisfaction guarantee and with this latest issue they stood behind it again and suggested that if I sent paper templates of the A-pillar original pieces, they would remake these pieces and ship those to me with the third replacement driver’s mat. This I did and waited for the box.
At this point I was not really confident that any of the pieces of carpet Lakewell had sent me as part of their 1978 308 GTB kit were actually correct for my car. Of the seven pieces fitted or attempted so far, only one had been clearly correct for the car. I think I received a mix of parts for different models of 308. This is where the lack of labeling by Lakewell was frustrating. If they labeled there pieces with the make and model, year range and location it would have avoided all these issues.
4 weeks later the modified A-pillar pieces and replacement drivers mat arrived. This time they looked correct for the car. Lakewell must have also realized that the ones they sent were for the wrong car because not only did the replacements match my templates, they were also edged like the original pieces and yet I had not indicated how the old ones were edged on my template.
Once the A-pillar pieces were glued in then the only remaining pieces to fit were the drivers and passenger floor mats. The driver mat was now correct on the third attempt and fitted after masking and spraying contact adhesive:
Gluing_Ferrari_308_carpet
Unfortunately the issues continued with the passenger mat which was not a particularly good fit:
Incorrectly sized ferrari 308 carpet
I decided to fix this myself because going back to Lakewell for a fix would take weeks. Instead I extended the black vinyl covering forward so the gap left by the Lakewell carpet is not noticeable.
So the carpet is finally finished after 6 months and a handful of days. The new carpet looks great but it should never, ever, ever have been this much trouble.
The morale of this story is that if you are going to replace the carpet in an old Ferrari do not order a ready-made kit. There are too many variations from one car to another and from one year to another for the carpet to be a guaranteed good fit. My advice is to simply remove all the old pieces and  give them to a local carpet shop and ask them to cut and replicate the pieces. It’s really that easy. If you want concours then source the carpet from whoever makes the closest match but still give it to your local carpet guy to cut and trim.
Lakewell did correct every issue I told them about which is to their credit. However they clearly sent me a hotchpotch kit of carpet pieces for various 308s. By not labeling their parts or providing a diagram of what’s in the box their process is fundamentally flawed which meant this mix up was allowed to happen. While they stood behind their satisfaction guarantee, their communication was poor. Emails went unanswered and they never explained to me why so many of their parts were wrong.
The last email I got from them was confirmation of the delivery date for the last replacement piece. Note a single follow-up email after that to ask if I was satisfied, how they could do better or how the car looked with the new carpet. The answer to the last question is fantastic! I cannot recommend Lakewell to other 308 owners

 

 

 

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