Report from the...ahem...upholstery shop

Well, I say "ahem", because it's my first try, and it may be presumptuous to call it a real upholstery shop, but anyway...

It was not in the budget this year to farm out the upholstery for the coupe, but I did not want to spend all summer in a tin box without any insulation or comfort.


Affordable Hot Rod Interior

I started out making a board from door panel material, available from the upholstery supply house.



This is pleated vinyl, also called "poor mans tuck & roll" !
If you worry about it being "era correct" it was available in the late fifties. Also, we are going for a decent job on a budget here.
The pleated vinyl uses Dacron as the pleating material, and it comes 54" wide, marine treated and fade resistant. About $22.00 per yard.

Available from many upholstery suppliers, just Google "pleated vinyl"


This is the piping or vinyl welt cord I used, available from any upholstery supply house in many colors.


Being new at this, I had to figure out what goes in what order before I start sewing !


First test...

I little crooked, but I get the concept...


Ok, let's try to make something...I bought this industrial strength sewing machine on eBay for $120.00
Please note era correct "sewing table", it is crucial for that vintage feel and good result ;-)


Here is door panel 1.0. It looked OK, but a bit boring...also, I did not like the visible


Using Au-ve-co #1720 door panel clips, I can eliminate the screws. You punch the hole about 1/2 inch lower that the corresponding hole in the door, because of the offset in the clip.


Door panel version 2.0.
Better, and more interesting, but still not right. The "horizon" is too high !  Also, see the hole for the lock. That's what happens when you don't PLAN !


Using some set points I created a more balanced pattern on the panel.


Then I transferred the pattern to the top vinyl material.


It looks "backwards", but this is how you mate the two panels together with this pattern.



OK, now how did I do that?

First I cut out foam that fit the top part, and glued it to the panel. Also, glue the pleated part to the panel.


Then lay down your top material, but don't glue it to the foam. You want the vinyl to stretch across the foam.


Apply contact cement to the backside, and the outer edges of the vinyl, wrap and press...and Voila ! You got a door panel.


Door panel 3.0   By George, I think we got it ! With some shiny reproduction trim parts, it looks presentable.


Using the finished door panel for a guide, I continued the same pattern on the front kick panels.


I also made a front firewall cover.


Looks pretty cozy. The rings around the pedals are dimmer grommets.


I also made a cover for the seat. The seat is a center seat from a mid nineties? Chrysler van. $40.00 at the local U-Pull.


This is half inch jute padding. It works great to make the carpet a little more comfortable,  and for sound proofing.


The carpet is black loop carpet that was cut to fit. I edged it with black vinyl edging.


 I also got a small heel pad from the upholstery store.


Rear sail panels


Using the old glass pattern, I outlined the size of the hole in the sail panel.


I ended up making it from thin aluminum sheeting.


Then I just glued matching vinyl to the panel.


I also cut out a board for the rear bulk head, that goes all the way down to the floor, and covered it with vinyl.


So for about $300.00 including the sewing machine, I have an interior that look quite presentable.

I still have the headliner to deal with, but I am having way too much fun driving the car right now. The rain will come soon enough here in the North West, so there will be plenty of time to work on the finishing touches.