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Reupholstering my seats


Shawn Piper

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In the 80's, my aunt had the seats reupholstered. Unfortunately, the upholstery was done in black when they should have been blue. This was something I wanted to fix.

 

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The first thing I did was tear down the seats. The horse hair padding was basically powder so this process was really messy.

 

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Once the seats were dismantled, I pressure washed all the crud from the frames. The rust was removed using Metal Rescue Gel... this stuff works amazingly well and I highly recommend it.   

 

Some seat parts were damaged, such as the interior plastic dust covers, so I acquired some derelict seats for parts. 

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Other parts I sourced on eBay Germany, such as the fasteners. I bought new fasteners because mine were stripped from the previous upholstery job (I know the Philips style isnt correct for a 69, but it was better than what I was working with).  

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The hinges and seat rails came apart and I sent the pieces out to have them re-chromed and zinc plated. It was at this point that I knew I could never reassemble these things (the huge hinge spring looked like it required a special tool that I didn't have). 

 

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Fortunately, there is a local shop called Autobahn Interiors that specializes in vintage Porches. They had the right tools to re-assemble the seats and were also able to recover them using the correct German vinyl.  
 

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In this process, we discovered that my seats were a rare, wide-backed variety.

 

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And here are the completed seats.  The rear seats don't have the basket weave pattern across the whole thing because the upholstery shop didn't have an iron big enough.  Overall, I'm very pleased with them and I think they are a huge improvement over what I had.  

 

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Edited by Shawn Piper

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Nice outcome for the seats. Tell me more about the “rare wide-backed variety”...what size and what years?

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Backrests were “wide” from March 1966 (the first 1600-2) until 1970-ish. Model 1600’s, generally without fully reclining seats, had wide backs with vinyl covering most of the hinges. Model 2002’s, which generally had reclining seats standard, had similar wide backs, but the outside (door side) recliner, chromed, was fully visible while vinyl covered much of the inner hinge.

 

I had a very early 1970 in 1973-74 (VIN 1668093, manufactured September 8, 1969) and I believe it had narrow-backrest seats, with fully-exposed recliners on the outside and inside. I think... If I’m correct, the wide-backrest seats ended at the end of the 1969 model year.

 

Mike S., Michael, and I, and others, discuss this issue in the following thread:

 


I would like something better than my old memory to document the change from wide to narrow backrest. BMW seats, unless they’ve been substantially rebuilt, have dated manufacturing tags attached, generally in the backrest. Check your date tags. Attached below is photo of such a tag on a seat manufactured June 20, 1972 (“20. 6. 72”).

 

Regards,

 

Steve

 

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That's absolutely right. The interior-facing hinge is partially fabric covered but the external hinge is exposed.  My seats also didn't have provisions for the chrome eyelets around the headrest posts.  The seat rails are also different.  

 

Here are my tags, which I kept

 

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On 1/6/2021 at 9:28 PM, Shawn Piper said:

That's absolutely right. The interior-facing hinge is partially fabric covered but the external hinge is exposed.  My seats also didn't have provisions for the chrome eyelets around the headrest posts.  The seat rails are also different.  

 

Here are my tags, which I kept

 

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Fabulous, Shawn!

 

Besides looking great, you've got nice documentation:

 

One of the Rentrop cards -- the two Rentrop cards have reinforced holes for attachment to the frame, one displays "P.A.R.A." (P.A. Rentrop AG) -- has a June 6, 1969 manufacturing date ("6. 6. 69").

 

Another tag -- perhaps F.S. Fehrer -- shows a June 1969 date as well ("Juni  69").

 

Bravo on the seats!

 

Best regards,

 

Steve

 

 

 

 

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