Interior... Part Deux - Part Deux
Last month I apologized for the late update siting learning to sew as my excuse. I'm going to use the same excuse this month as well. That said, the hard part is now done. (Famous last words, I know).
It seems almost impossible that sewing new upholstery for two bucket seats could take someone a month, especially when you watch YouTube videos and guys (pros) are doing them in less than an hour. But let me tell you, for the non pro doing his first set it takes a bit longer. Anyway.... the process started with the removal of the original covers which being 55 years old were trash and all the old foam. Funny thing about foam, it likes to turn to dust after that amount of time.. which tends to make it easier to remove but creates quite a mess in the process.
Another thing that pops up, and you rarely see this on YouTube videos is a frame that needs repair. I ran into this on both bucket seats. The backs were both fine and just needed a little cleaning, but the bases required extensive repair. Here is what I found once everything was removed from the frame.
In some areas the frame holding the springs in place was entirely rusted away. In other places the springs themselves were rusted away or rusted so much that they were basically unusable.
Luckily the base was fine and I was able to find replacement spring material. To fix the main frame of the bases I used steel rod and welded the rod to the existing structure. I then welded spring sections to the frame where needed and in both cases the driver's and passenger's seat bottom frames turned out well.
Next order of business was to install the foam. I did not use the expensive seat foam from one of the major Mopar suppliers. Since this is a budget build I used PUI Seat Foam foam from Summit Racing which was listed as fitting A, B, and C body buckets from 60-65. It's good quality, but depending on the year it will need to be trimmed here and there for the upholstery to fit properly. I'm not complaining given the price was substantially lower than the "good stuff", and the quality of the foam seems just as good... its just that if you go this route keep in mind that you may need to borrow the wife's electric knife and re-shape the foam a little for everything to look right.
Sewing the upholstery was a bit harder on the buckets since the size was smaller and everything is more compact than the rear seat, but with a bit of practice and some time spent planning the sewing process (what seams to do when) just about anyone could do it. Here is the passenger's bottom seat upholstery just laid over the foam.
And here is the same seat bottom once the upholstery has been stretched and hog ringed in place. There are some minor wrinkles that will work themselves out but overall it came out just fine.
The seat backs were not as difficult but still required some finesse in fitment. Once they were done the seat could be reassembled.
The driver's seat was pretty much a carbon copy of the passenger's seat process. Here's the finished product.
The final problem that needed to be solved was the hard cover for the back of the buckets. The factory used a thick cardboard covered with matching vinyl material. Since that cardboard is hard to come by I used Luan plywood... the old hot rodder's standby. This was covered with a layer of 1/4" sew foam and a layer of matching vinyl. Because the Luan is a little thicker than the original cardboard it will be a bit more difficult to mount, but with a little patience it will work and look very nice.
I will be using this same material for the door panels, trunk separator and package tray. So now that the seats are finally done, its on to the rest of the interior... starting with the package tray.
That's it for this update. Hopefully the next update won't take quite so long.
Check back often for more updates...
Polara Home Page