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Original '68 1600-2 Cloth Rear Seats (I think...)


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After years of collecting, I find that the rear seats which were in my early '68 1600 are the best I have.  They were in the car when I got it, and the date tag under the bottom correlates well ( "7 Wo 68") with the car's late Feb. 28 production date.  The cloth parts are faded, but both the cloth and vinyl parts seem to be otherwise in fine shape.  The vinyl sides of the bottom match the dark brown door cards and rear side panels.  The horsehair actually looks pretty good, but I'm sure it will shred and deposit bits in the under-seat area, so we'll see about rebuilding them with new padding.  And maybe a bit of dye to get the color back to original?

 

Were cloth seats normal for US-delivered cars in early 1968 ? 

     Does the material in the pictures look like those? 

           Andres indicated that the car came the usual way via Max.

Does anyone have a good representation of the original color of the cloth portion?

seat 1 0421.JPG

seat 2 0421.JPG

seat 3 0421.JPG

seat 5 0421.JPG

seat 6 0421.JPG

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Cloth seats on a US delivery car during the Hoffman Motors era would be unusual, but more likely on a 1600 than a 2002.  I've not seen one before, and don't remember any when they were new in the dealership.  Any indication that the car was an overseas delivery sale?

 

mike

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Delivered to Hoffman Motors on May 5, 1968 per BMW.  I have not info about the time between then and my getting 15+ years ago except that it lived in San Diego before my ownership.  I'm not an Upholstery Expert of any sort, but don't seen any signs of reconstruction and it has the label on the seat bottom in the picture (none on the seat back).  Perhaps someone can tell if the cloth material looks authentic. 

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Your seat frames and pads are likely original to the car  (“7 Wo 68” means “7th week of 1968” for those not familiar with this dating convention). The seat covers, however, are a mixed bag! The smooth vinyl side panels appear to be original but the fabric portions of the seat covers, however, are not an original BMW fabric. And, those fabric seat faces do not follow the original pattern for cloth-and-vinyl seats: solely the pleated areas of the seat faces  — 35 pleats wide in the rear, 12 pleats wide on each front seat — were originally covered in fabric. The un-pleated areas that flank the pleated areas were originally upholstered in smooth vinyl.

 

BMW’s original, ca. 1968, cloth fabric was not of this “pockmarked” texture. It was more “lightly ribbed” in texture. 


Most 1968 or 1969 model ‘02’s with the brown cloth-and-vinyl interior would have had the S 17/15 interior (“S” designates cloth and vinyl, “17” is the color of the cloth, “15” is the color of the smooth vinyl), as shown on the first accompanying photo. This is a photo from a November 1968 version of the factory’s periodic paint and upholstery brochure. And November 1968 is somewhat later than your car’s manufacture.

 

if your car has a February 28, 1968 manufacturing date, making it approximately VIN 1563700, it probably had the earlier, “chocolate brown” interior, rather than the somewhat lighter tobacco brown represented by S 17/15. The chocolate brown interior was the “brown interior offering” from March 1966 until approximately March 1968.


A Hoffman-imported car from very early in 1968 would likely have had an all-vinyl chocolate brown interior, very similar to the sample labeled K 13/05 in the November 1968 brochure illustrated below (“K” designates an all-vinyl interior, “13” is the color of the molded vinyl, “05” is the color of the smooth vinyl). By the date of this version’s publication, however, the chocolate brown interior was no longer available on ‘02’s and was replaced by tobacco interiors.

 

Below are a few photos (the second through sixth photos) of an early 2002, VIN 1660482, manufactured in March 1968. It retains its original all-vinyl interior, in chocolate brown, in amazing condition. I would expect this interior to be found on a 1600-2 manufactured in February 1968 for the U.S. market, if... the original exterior color was Florida, Manila, Nevada, Sahara, or Tundra. Am I missing any 1968 exterior colors that generally paired with a brown interior?

 

It’s often hard to judge colors from photos. If the vinyl side panels of your backseat are, in fact, chocolate brown, the smooth-and-pleated face of the seat, originally a combination of smooth and molded vinyl, has been replaced by this later fabric. But the side panels were retained from the original seat covers.

 

How about some photos of your front seats and door cards? What carpet is in the car?
 

Just as a reference, the seventh photo below shows an ultra-rare surviving cloth-and-vinyl interior, illustrating the original disposition of cloth and vinyl on the seat faces. This one is in an amazing 1966 1600-2, recently sold on BAT and formerly owned by @02Anders. Smooth vinyl end panels in black flank the 35 cloth pleats in light gray. The original seat fabrics have not withstood wear and time nearly as well as the original molded vinyls (a.k.a., Skai). Thus, original cloth-and-vinyl interiors in useable condition are quite rare, and were rare decades ago, even in the Euro-spec markets.


In the eighth (last) photo, copied from your original post, I’ve circled in blue a side panel that could well be an original chocolate brown, smooth-vinyl side panel.

 

The following article might provide some additional information for you, especially if, for instance, you wanted to restore your car’s interior as a cloth-and-vinyl interior — reasonable facsimiles of the cloth are likely much easier to find than facsimiles of the molded vinyl:

 

 

Regards,

 

Steve

 

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FYI, Steve's photos of the chocolate brown seats are from a 2002; with fully reclining seats.  They had big, chrome recliner mechanisms.  1600s would have seat backs that had three adjustments, with a much more modest aluminum-clad mechanism holding cushion and back together.  

 

mike

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