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Hi all - I have a 1600 with a medium brown interior, Florida green exterior.  My upholsterer has hit a wall in trying to source brown vinyl that's in the ballpark with the door cards that are in fine condition. I'm not expecting a perfect match.

GAHH and World don't have browns. A few other sources say they're back logged.

 

Anyone have this issue or suggestions?

 

Thanks.

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By medium brown do you mean chocolate brown/UPS brown?

That color is unique to early cars and hard to find. SMS Auto Upholstery in Oregon has closest match I have found to the basketweave pattern of early cars. They do have several colors, including a dark brown. It looks nice but I don't know if it's a close enough match to mix in with an old interior. 

Also, the early cars had a unique faux stitching on the seams between the pleats. I don't know of anyone who reproduces this. If that level of originality is important to you, you'd have to look for bits and pieces from old interiors and patch what you've got, maybe with some re-coloring along the way.

 

 

IMG_1127.JPG

SMS basketweave.jpg

SMS sample.jpg

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Do not dismiss the power of vinyl dyes. They are regularly used by good upholsterers to unify vinyls that vary in color because of their texture, supplier, finish, or age.

 

If you’re a nut — I’m a nut — you can spend a lot of time and money and put together seats from various original and modern vinyls. Afterward, dying will unify the pieces. Below are my spare front seats for the tii and the ‘76. These four seats are patchwork quilts of old and new vinyl, done so that I can have original heat seams. Even then, the ‘76 seats have a single thread in each seam, along with the original heat seams, keeping everything from sliding about. You probably wouldn’t notice it if I didn’t tell you.

 

If you are less nutty, or would like to “finish” your car this decade, get new molded vinyl, as close to the original molded pattern as possible — Michael has shown the way above — have it sewn to resemble the originals, 12 pleats front, 35 pleats rear, and dye it to match the original door cards.

 

Or buy GAHH or World Upholstery seat covers, and dye them to match the original door cards.

 

The common denominator? A high-quality, carefully-chosen dye! Done best by the hands of an experienced professional.

 

Regards,

 

Steve

 

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Many thanks for the great ideas. I'm aware of SMS and their samples and I agree, they seem the best match with pattern. I think the issue is supply, according to my upholsterer. 

Thanks Steve and Esty for the dye endorsement. Btw, here's a pic. My front seats are in fantastic condition, just need re-stuffing. The rear seats were chewed up.

Thanks!

 

 

 

IMG_20200828_153617371.jpg

 

 

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10 hours ago, Mars55 said:

 

 

 

IMG_20200828_153617371.jpg

 

 


Gorgeous condition! Quite amazing actually!

 

The “Chocolate brown” or “UPS brown” interior was phased out some time around March 1968, replaced by the lighter Tobacco brown. Currently, the latest Chocolate brown interior I’ve recorded is in VIN 1660482, a 2002 manufactured on March 15, 1968. If yours is a 1600-2, I’m guessing it’s before approximately VIN 1564000 (mid-March 1968).

 

Regards,

 

Steve

 

 

 

 

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On 4/27/2021 at 9:15 PM, Mars55 said:

 

... My front seats are in fantastic condition, just need re-stuffing. The rear seats were chewed up...

 

 

 

IMG_20200828_153617371.jpg

 

 


Remember: I’m a nut!

 

I’m guessing your seats might still have the original horsehair pads (a.k.a., gummihaar). The quality and longevity of the pad material was best among the earliest ‘02’s and worst among the latest ‘02’s. By the time my ‘76 was built, the crappy original horsehair pads had a life expectancy of 20 years, even on a well-cared-for, always-garaged, one-owner example such as mine. Your pads appear to be in fabulous condition, if they are 53-year-old pads — and they well might be!

 

My point? Whereas I see that the compression of the driver’s seat pads has allowed the side panels to go slightly slack, I’m not certain your passenger seat has reached the same point. And, going forward, the passenger seat will never see the use of the driver’s seat. I would consider replacing the horsehair pads on the driver’s side only — but only with correct horsehair pads.

 

Your early seats have the wide backrests only found on the early cars: March 1966 through, possibly, October 1969. To address this, you need to make certain you get the wider backrest pad. There is an earlier seat discussion on this point and GAHH and/or World Upholstery sells the wider backrest pad, but I believe you need to ask for it. Yes, this is vague, but it’s guaranteed 68% correct! 😉

 

As to your rear seat, you say it’s chewed up, but, given the amazing condition of the front seats and door cards, I’d re-use everything I could possibly re-use of the original rear seat materials. For example, if only the rear backrest is trashed — due to sun exposure — I’d replace the fried vinyl on that, but keep a good original seat cushion. Yes, a stitched backrest, in new vinyl, won’t exactly match an old heat-seamed seat cushion in 53-year-old vinyl. But provided you get the size and number of pleats correct, and you dye the old and new to match, the difference will be something only you and four other people — that’s the global count — will notice. 😉

 

And it’s a great feeling to drive your 53-year-old car and know that the interior is mostly original, but looks fabulous. And at least two of those other four people who notice the difference in the backseat will simply smile knowingly, and not broadcast it on B.A.T... 😋

 

As in medicine, first, do no harm. Few ‘02 interiors have survived in the condition of your car’s. Cherish it.

 

Recall, I’m a nut!

 

Regards,

 

Steve

 

 

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