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Technical Cost of new interior

Discussion in 'Traditional Hot Rods' started by treeman53, Jun 7, 2022.

  1. proartguy
    Joined: Apr 13, 2009
    Posts: 553

    from Sparks, NV

    A lot of upholstery work is what you don’t see. A seat may look well done until a seam fails or an insert lets go, then it is apparent all upholsters are not equal. I see a lot of interiors where pleats don’t line up and wavy seams. As said, it is the little stuff that makes the difference. A nice interior and good work seldom come cheap.

    In the case of the o/p it may hard to justify an spendy interior depending on the car’s potential value.
    chryslerfan55, egads and dmar836 like this.
  2. gimpyshotrods
    Joined: May 20, 2009
    Posts: 20,501


    And people wonder why I have beach blankets hog ringed to my seats, over new foam.
  3. Fogger
    Joined: Aug 18, 2007
    Posts: 1,674


    My 3W is the only one of my cars that I have had professionally upholstered. Lance Troup was an incredible stitcher/artist and did many cars locally in the San Fernando Valley. He upholstered many cars for Magoo back in the '70s and '80s. He used Connolly leather on my seats, door panels, kick panels and carpeted the trunk and cab. My job was done in '87 took three months and cost $6K. For the expert quality and final results it was well worth the money. It has held up beautifully. But now I'd imagine it would be closer to $20K. I was fortunate to buy the interior kit from LaBarron-Bonney for my roadster and installed it in my shop. My '55 Delray is all original and very close to perfect. If some new project came up I'd buy a sewing machine and learn to stitch.
    chryslerfan55 and -Brent- like this.
  4. Who was the guy?
  5. Budget36
    Joined: Nov 29, 2014
    Posts: 9,031


    I’ve never been shocked with upholstery costs, but I’m pretty much a bench seat guy in pre-60 pickups. I need to get my seat done again, a few months back I was given a $700 quote. I called back last week and it’s now 900.
    I don’t have time or space to buy a machine, etc, just have to pay.
    chryslerfan55 and -Brent- like this.
  6. chopped
    Joined: Dec 9, 2004
    Posts: 2,112


    I'd be afraid to sit in a $15,000 interior.
  7. ironandsteele
    Joined: Apr 25, 2006
    Posts: 5,539


    I just dropped one off at the trim shop so I guess I'll soon find out! Luckily he's a friend and treats me very well. He did warn me that prices are up across the board on materials, which I expected. I don't mind paying for things I can't do myself, as long as it's fair and everyone is happy.


    Last edited: Jun 11, 2022
  8. JimSibley
    Joined: Jan 21, 2004
    Posts: 3,533


    In the 30 years that i have been building cars, interior has always been just slightly less than a paint job. Today a decent cheap paint job is about 7000$ And a real nice one is 15-20000$. Today a cheap decent interior is 5000$, and a nice one is 10-15000$. This seems about right, if you ask me. Now, with that said, I cant afford to have anyone else work on my car, so I do it myself.
  9. footbrake
    Joined: Sep 3, 2009
    Posts: 128


    It's 1980, my '47 ford just done and I had a lady that does upholstery do the seats,headliner kick panels,back side panels , in black Naugahyde rolled and pleated. Also did the rugs $600.00
  10. dmar836
    Joined: Oct 23, 2018
    Posts: 196


    I think it’s safe to say that price, alone, is not much of an indicator. I think pics would help. Remember, much of what makes quality is what you cannot see.
    I have done jobs that I know will not likely last, out of cheap, thin materials or because it had to match and only an inappropriate material was provided. I love the, “I’m not looking for a show job - it doesn’t need to be perfect…” I refuse to do that anymore because the customer, also always a friend, enjoys the upfront look and cost but will be disappointed in the long run. And how do you intentionally throttle down your quality to save the customer
    money? What some think is awesome is not even acceptable to another.
    chryslerfan55, ClarkH and egads like this.
  11. Ziggster
    Joined: Aug 27, 2018
    Posts: 1,156


    Reading these types of threads is an awakening for someone like myself who has never had to go to a body shop or upholster shop. Wages certainly aren’t keeping up with the cost of living/materials. I purchased an OT vehicle two years ago really just for the interior. I paid CAN$4K, which I felt is what it would have cost to get it redone if needed, and was planning to swap bodies, but that plan fell through, so now I’m in neck deep in doing all the rust repair myself. Just a few custom made patch panels cost CAN$2K, and that is just the tip of the iceberg. This hobby is not cheap. That is for sure.
    chryslerfan55 and redoxide like this.
  12. Had the entire interior redone, in a customer’s 1954 Chevrolet 4 door approximately 6? years ago.
    Two-tone White and grey high grade vinyl. Had to build all 4 door cards from scratch, new carpet, headliner, wind-lace, package tray etc…
    Final product looked killer(smelled good too)
    Problem I had, and customer more so..quoted between $3-$4,000. Final Price was $6,500.
    Took forever, of course, AND dude never called with update’s on pricing. Needless to say this all left a bad taste in my friends mouth and he will never ever do business with that guy again.
    50C30AEE-2D8C-4C13-83DD-2E0638A30E10.jpeg 6E577A38-532E-4A01-9825-F52CCD49FE83.jpeg
    chryslerfan55 likes this.
  13. Again, in SoCal., North Hollywood Auto Upholstery is the best work for the most reasonable price that I know of.
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2022
    Lil32 and Fogger like this.
  14. Squablow
    Joined: Apr 26, 2005
    Posts: 16,043


    I have to disagree here. Late model car seats in an old car ruin the car and are not traditional looking at all. Please don't consider doing this. I've yet to see a set of modern seats put in an old car as-is and not look like cheap trash. Have also seen people go to great lengths to modify new seats, cutting down high backs and reupholstering to make them look more early-style, but it almost never works out well.

    I'd rather see Mexican blankets and patio chair cushions on old seat frames than a set of high back modern buckets.
  15. corncobcoupe
    Joined: May 26, 2001
    Posts: 6,047

    Staff Member

    I should have left out the words " late model" and just hit the junkyard scoping out seats that aren't all chewed up.

    You get the jist.
    Remember my first post aboout it - I said I'm good with a DIY seat covers or a Blanky on a bencher as long as no springs up my Kazoo. :eek:

    In stead of paying someone a boat load of money to reupholster everything, find some junk yard seats and make it work.

    Key word is budget here since the conversation turned to re-upholstering now costs a boat load of Bennies.

    Budget...... looking good and cheap - there's so few of us out there .....:D
    chryslerfan55, Tman and Budget36 like this.
  16. hepme
    Joined: Feb 1, 2021
    Posts: 229


    Like you, i was floored with what they wanted to do my 55 chevy. Being super cheap, i bought an aftermkt headliner and installed it myself-first for me and it came out fine. Then I found a medium priced set of seatcovers that looked similar to what i wanted, had them put on by a pro, very reasonable. Carpet-same as headliner. Door panels i found at a swap meet, wrong color so i painted them to match. No, will never win anything but rides good and looks o.k.-i can live with it.
  17. Budget36
    Joined: Nov 29, 2014
    Posts: 9,031


    I tend to agree, but a seat cover can hide a lot of the “modern look”.
    Pulling off the head rests and using covers is an option that saves a lot of money.
    I’d guess if someone is paying 15K for a paint job, they wouldn’t have a problem paying the cost for interior as well.
    I’m in the “use what works” camp, which is code for tighter than a frogs ass;)
    Tman likes this.
  18. A quick search shows 6K is now $15,438.17. Not sure if that is correct, it seems low?
    $6,000 in 1987 → 2022 | Inflation Calculator (
    chryslerfan55 and Budget36 like this.
  19. KFC
    Joined: Jul 17, 2008
    Posts: 414

    from UK

    I usually find that by the time people get to me (the upholster) they have already willing over paid for engine rebuilds and paint and whinge about my bill.

    upholstery is Labour intensive and materials are expensive. I only want to work to a good standard not cut corners to meet an unrealistic budget.
    If I had to charge for the interior in my 41 it would easily be 20000$ including materials and tax, if not more.
  20. gimpyshotrods
    Joined: May 20, 2009
    Posts: 20,501


    My Falcon has "modern" seats. They are from a model range that stated in the 1980's, and manage to look like buckets from the 1960's, with the headrests removed.

    It would have been impossible to use a bench, as I am sitting next to a T56.
  21. Someone here recently posted some buckets out something OT like a Jap sports car that had the headrests removed and re-upholstered. They looked like the English seats that have been used since the 50s in hot rods. The best part is you get some modern features like lumbar support and a million adjustments. I think they may they may have been in a 32?
    chryslerfan55 likes this.
  22. dart4forte
    Joined: Jun 10, 2009
    Posts: 198

    from Mesa, AZ

    Same here
    gimpyshotrods likes this.
  23. Some can afford to pay outrageous amounts for cars and interiors, others can't.

    To be perfectly honest I can't imagine paying 15 grand for a interior, that's probably why I drove my old Deuce beater for more than 30 years with a couple of Tijuana blankets & safety pins holding them in place.

    I helped my pal Dave build his 40 coupe and he helped me put a interior in my sedan, it came in under 2 grand for everything including all the insulation. HRP





    Last edited: Jun 12, 2022
  24. 5window
    Joined: Jan 29, 2005
    Posts: 8,864


    I know things are going up and a Model A coupe is straight lines and small. But, I bought auto grade materials and di it myself for less than $1K several years ago. I made the dash of curly cherry and the pleated door panels are machine pressed -like JC Whitney used to sell 40 years ago. I aimed for something a hotrodder would have done in the early 80's emulating and old-school ride.
    chryslerfan55 likes this.
  25. stanlow69
    Joined: Feb 21, 2010
    Posts: 6,320


    Rust repair on any 2 given vehicles is never the same. The build quality on any 2 given vehicles is never the same. The condition of an interior on any two similar vehicles is never the same. The end result of the design of an interior to match the quality of a restoration is never the same. I charge by the hour. Pay as we go along so there are no surprises in the final bill, design and the quality of the job. I have done complete interiors for 3 grand up to 20 grand +. All in the same year. No 2 jobs are the same.
  26. dart4forte
    Joined: Jun 10, 2009
    Posts: 198

    from Mesa, AZ

    Any affiliation with Hollywood Hotrods?
  27. goldmountain
    Joined: Jun 12, 2016
    Posts: 3,668


    I knew a long time ago that I wouldn't be able to afford a decent upholstery job on my car and would have to rely upon my own efforts. I purchased two black vinyl bucket seats made in Taiwan from Princess Auto; left the headrests on for whiplash protection. The door and quarter panel trim is heat seam pleated black vinyl from JT's outdoor fabrics. The cheap carpet I found on Amazon. The sewn headliner came from Classtique Auto Upholstery who sell kits for Model T and A's. Is the work top notch? Definitely not, but I can live with it. IMG_1637.JPG IMG_1638.JPG
    chryslerfan55 and Budget36 like this.
  28. Deuce Lover
    Joined: Feb 15, 2009
    Posts: 879

    Deuce Lover

    33 head liner 2.jpg 33 rear seat.jpg 33 seats.jpg 33 Ford side panels.jpg 33 sedan.Front headliner area w:visors .jpg
    I guess I will chime in. Been a Hot Rodder since the mid 1950's.First car after High School graduation in '62. I decided to do a bone stock Ford V8 this time.These pics are of my '33 std tudor I finished restoring here in France. Back to the topic. Before shipping the project in 2016 I ordered a partial LBB uph kit. Had them do the door and rear side panels as well as the sunvisors.I bought 6 yds of the matching panel fabric of the same dye lot for the seats.They did the rear carpet.I bought a few yds of extra for the front since original they were rubber. I installed the headliner and had the orig seats done here.The seats still had the orig mohair but very rotten.Springs were good. LBB cost at the time was approx $2800 incl dropped shipped to where the car was.The guy here who did the seats charged me $1200 labor and furnished the foam and padding.
    chryslerfan55 and jnaki like this.
  29. 51box
    Joined: Aug 31, 2005
    Posts: 1,035

    from MA

    I don’t get why people complain about stuff like this. You can clearly see who has “it” and who doesn’t by the results. The ones that are very good at what they do I mean true craftsman can charge accordingly, just like any other skilled trade. Think about how many hours it takes to build and trim a complete interior. It’s a tremendous amount of time and knowledge to create a nice clean result.
  30. Illustrious Hector
    Joined: Jun 15, 2020
    Posts: 183

    Illustrious Hector
    from Alberta

    I was going to add about how the same can be said about paint and body work. I once overheard a guy standing next to a beautifully done '36 roadster (presumably his) saying " 80% of your budget goes toward getting parts collected, things, assembled, running & driving and the other 85% goes for paint & upholstery

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