Author Topic: Distinctive Industries brand headliner - need some opinions !!!  (Read 189 times)


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Before I start this, let me say I have ZERO experience with headliners other than removing my original. I've never put one in, never seen anyone put one in, or even seen a reproduction in person before!

I picked up a Distinctive Industries brand headliner from Ecklers warehouse in Titusville, FL. The kit included the headliner, sail panels already covered, and sunvisor material. I opened the box while I was there for a quick look to compare the appearance to a piece of my original GM. It was a good match appearance wise. In the photo below, the three small pieces are sitting on the Distinctive sunvisor material.

After getting it home and really looking it, here's what I found..... and need some questions answered.

1) Compared to headliner sample pieces I got from TMI, PUI, and Legendary, the Distinctive was the closest in appearance to a piece of my original GM headliner that was tucked under and had never seen the light of day......The pattern of the TMI and PUI are correct but both have a little duller sheen than the GM piece.  The Distinctive's sheen was spot on the GM. The Legendary sample was nothing like the GM......So appearance wise, the Distinctive is great!

2) Out of the box, the Distinctive has a very strong vinyl odor! Exactly like if you took a brand new vinyl shower curtain out of it's packaging and how strong it smells....I couldn't take smelling that every time I got in my car....Is this normal? Do all brands smell that way out of the box and would it fade over time?

3) My biggest concern is how you would mount these sail panels. The original GM's had four brackets fastened to the back of the sail panel. A clip went in the bracket and then the clip was pushed into holes in the sail panel structure of the body. The distinctive sail panel has no brackets for the clips to fasten to. There are patches of reinforced cardboard on the back with small holes in it. My guess is maybe you are supposed to put your clips in these holes. The problem with that is that first off, you need four clips per side and there are only three holes, the holes are too small to put an original clip in, and the holes are close but not in the same position as the clips on the originals. Two of the at least an inch off! I have no idea how I would mount these.

So I'm needing opinions on this Distinctive headliner and sail panels. Is what I'm seeing here (and smelling) here the norm with all manufacturers or should I return these and look for something better?


ps....For what it's worth, I measured the thickness of all the samples I have here. I'm not sure if the differences are significant.

                         TMI  .0210 inches
Distinctive Industries  .0220 inches
         My original GM  .0235 inches
                         PUI  .0240 inches



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Re: Distinctive Industries brand headliner - need some opinions !!!
« Reply #1 on: November 07, 2018, 01:36:00 AM »
My guess would be there is a ton of people on the forum with headliner experience.

Any more thoughts on this? My biggest concern is installing the sail panels. Do all brands of sail panels on the back look like the one from Distinctive? Do some come with brackets for the push in clips like the original GM?

I posted this on Team Camaro also. A memember on that site said he got his from Classic Industries and it had the slots for the mounts. I don't know how long ago he got them but when I look them up on CI's website, it says the pre-coverd panels come with Velcro for attachment. The uncovered sail panel boards come with no hardware.

I'm still concerned about the strong odor too and if it would fade over time.

So I'm still trying to figure out what I have here with this Distinctive Industries headliner and sail panels. Something worth keeping or something I need to return and start looking elsewhere.



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Re: Distinctive Industries brand headliner - need some opinions !!!
« Reply #2 on: November 07, 2018, 02:50:52 AM »
Dave, I haven't gotten to the stage of replacing my headliner yet, so can't comment on the reproductions out there, however I am interested in following this.
Agree that the repro sail panels look much harder to mount.
Best advice would be to contact Distinctive and ask them firstly about the strong smell, and secondly how they imagined the panels would be installed (no instructions in the box?).
You may have got fresh stock, and it may just need to be 'aired out' to reduce the smell.....
Is there anything wrong with your original sail panels, apart from the headliner material itself? I would try to use the new material to recover my originals, if there was no other issue. Then junk those cardboard pieces!
Tim in Australia.
1969 04A Van Nuys Z/28. Cortez Silver, Dark Blue interior, VE3 bumper, Z21, Z23, D55/U17, D80, flat hood.
Sold at Clippinger Chevrolet in Covina, CA. Ex-E/MP at Lions Dragstrip in Long Beach.