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Projects Nice to Have: A New Story About Old Upholsery

Discussion in 'Traditional Hot Rods' started by J.Ukrop, Dec 1, 2023.

  1. J.Ukrop
    Joined: Nov 10, 2008
    Posts: 2,815

    Staff Member

    J.Ukrop submitted a new blog post:

    Nice to Have: A New Story About Old Upholsery


    Continue reading the Original Blog Post
  2. 32Stoker
    Joined: Jul 1, 2015
    Posts: 380


    I heard that Joey. When I restored the Dick Flynn Coupe I left the interior untouched. There’s just something about the smell, texture, and appearance of old hand-made Naugahyde upholstery that makes it traditional…

    FC105BE1-6418-474E-8E24-20FF5A44AD16.jpeg 4B7CCC36-F10F-4D75-BEAC-8453DDF82B0D.jpeg
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2023
    heavydumper, skooch, -Brent- and 15 others like this.
  3. Tim
    Joined: Mar 2, 2001
    Posts: 17,195

    from KCMO

    Awesome man.

    my honest opinion, for the seats I would go buy some burgundy marine grade vinyls from Joanne’s or the like and some black and do it yourself. I can walk you through making the patterns etc if you need a hand.

    the amount of miles you put on that car it’ll match in no time where if you find survivor seat covers after that same amount of miles they’ll be trash.

    one cross country drive and they’ll look perfect
  4. Spooky
    Joined: Mar 3, 2001
    Posts: 2,248


    Joe, that looks spot on!
    dana barlow and 41 GMC K-18 like this.

  5. 41 GMC K-18
    Joined: Jun 27, 2019
    Posts: 3,629

    41 GMC K-18

    "Everything old, is new again"
    Your roadster is a perfect example of that!
    dana barlow and chryslerfan55 like this.
  6. Joey, You and I have something in common, the paint and interior have always been on the nice to have but list.


    I have had my old beater for 34 years, the last time the car was painted was 1963 and I finally installed a real interior in in 2001.

    I wore out two sets of Tajuana blankets before the new interior. HRP


  7. 34Phil
    Joined: Sep 12, 2016
    Posts: 558


  8. Those aged door and side panels give your roadster street cred.:cool:
    dana barlow and chryslerfan55 like this.
  9. Black Panther
    Joined: Jan 6, 2010
    Posts: 2,142

    Black Panther
    from SoCal

    One of the reasons I jumped on my '38 Chevy was the interior. Probably finished in 1957...been off the road since 1964. The interior has WAY more detail than I would have thought of. The black amoeba patterned Naugahyde still looks brand new, it's amazing. The interior has the smell of a perfectly kept old English car or something. Very pleasing to be in...sorry for the lame pictures. Some are the ones sent to me by the seller before I bought the car..a couple less cluttered ones, I took.

    79742.jpeg 79740.jpeg 79746.jpeg 79747.jpeg 20230606_134719.jpg 20230606_134730.jpg
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2023
  10. Joey, the main thing is that you are enjoying what you are doing. You are dancing to a different drummer, and I am enjoying the tune through your trials and tribulations.
  11. I dig it!
    J.Ukrop likes this.
  12. BamaMav
    Joined: Jun 19, 2011
    Posts: 6,743

    from Berry, AL

    My car has been redone inside sometime in the past. It was probably an expensive job, they did both seats, doors and quarters in black and gray vinyl with button tufts.They even did the surrounds on the doors, and a cloth headliner. But it sat for an unknown period of time, the doors leaked and the carpet inserts pulled loose from the cards. The headliner also absorbed a lot of dirt and dust, and an infection of mice didn’t do any of it any favors. Luckily they avoided chomping on the vinyl and limited themselves to the carpet and in the trunk.after a lot of scrubbing it all turned out to look decent enough to keep. It’s somewhat worn, but not worn out. Old vinyl just has more soul than perfect new vinyl.
  13. chiro
    Joined: Jun 23, 2008
    Posts: 1,186


    Awesome. That's been on my "Nice to have" list for a while too. Vintage interiors are indeed hard to come by. If anyone has a lead on one for a '30-'31 Ford coupe please let me know.
  14. mr.chevrolet
    Joined: Jul 19, 2006
    Posts: 8,875


    the red & white interior was as I bought it. (1990) Done in 1955. looked great but very fragile. had the seat and door panels re-done but kept the headliner. . 37-42.jpg 4sale-2.jpg 4sale-3.jpg 4sale-4.jpg 4sale-5.jpg
  15. The naugas installed in my merc some time in the 60s is staying
  16. I’d sit in it.
  17. alanp561
    Joined: Oct 1, 2017
    Posts: 4,643


    You might want to re-think that, I've seen you up close and red nauga clashes with your eyes ;).
    dana barlow and chryslerfan55 like this.
  18. I like the Clash
    alanp561 and chryslerfan55 like this.
  19. I love the new threads Joey. Perfect fit and an excellent score!

    My plan with my Merc has been to ultimately end up with a Hirohata clone of sorts. A million years ago, something struck in my mind that since they had Herb Martinez reupholster the original, maybe, just maybe Herb still had all the original upholstery laying around and maaaaaybe it could be had. I mean, how cool would it be to have the worn out, ratty original Hirohata upholstery in my car. I decided to find Herb's number and call and ask. Long story short, while we did have a great conversation, the upholstery was long gone. Shoot. LOL
  20. The interior that was in my '31 when I bought it a "few" years ago. It had been a So Cal car back in the day and still had most of the Tijuana interior left; complete with a lot of newspaper stuffing from San Diego dated 1965.
    interior1.jpg interior2.jpg
  21. alchemy
    Joined: Sep 27, 2002
    Posts: 20,504


    Almost maybe ten years ago, I bought the old red and white Naugahyde upholstery from a California customized 36 Ford roadster. A local guy's dad brought the car from California to Iowa many decades ago. When the son inherited the car, he rebuilt it with none of the old custom touches (Desoto bumpers, smooth hood sides, Packard grille), and of course didn't want the old upholstery either. I had it in the shop for a few years, but realized I'd never get to it before it dried totally out.

    A couple years ago I sold it to Fireman Dan of the Omaha area for use in his cool red 32 roadster. Hopefully he was able to salvage some of it for the car.

  22. Tim
    Joined: Mar 2, 2001
    Posts: 17,195

    from KCMO

    @alchemy the interior makes that roadster! That’s awesome it’s got such a story to it!
    Driver50x likes this.
  23. jnaki
    Joined: Jan 1, 2015
    Posts: 9,372



    It was the summer of 1960 and as teenagers, we were all caught up in hanging around our cruising grounds in various family cars, hot rods, or cruisers. It was all part of the teenage high school scene and to be seen (pun intended). The shiny paint jobs stood out like a circus and the fast hot rods/sedans took up the back row as if it were the staging lanes of Lion’s Dragstrip. Plus, they were all facing forward toward the main drive-in restaurant building and were able to see every car, waitress and food trays being brough to the waiting teenagers in their cars.

    The talk was usually the standard teenage rambling. Who has what new car, speed parts or new engine, dating which girl, etc. It was all a part of growing up in So Cal and elsewhere. At the time, for us, it was important to hang out with friends and talk shop on hot rods, but that car load of girls that just drove in with mommy’s car caught everyone’s eyes. So much for hot rod talk or drag racing on Cherry Avenue, down the street.

    When one night a faded reddish paint 1940 Ford Sedan Delivery rolled up into the driveway was a highlight of the summer. We all heard the motor before it was inside of the driveway parking area. The owner was an old friend from our junior high school days and into high school. He had not been around for a while and what he drove into the lot was amazing. A 348 powered 1940 Ford Sedan Delivery. A what? We knew what a 40 Ford looked like as a bright red 2 door sedan, Buick powered, was parked down the row of cars.

    But no one had ever seen a Sedan Delivery, except for a milk man delivery, a grocery store delivery car or a TV repair guy. Even then, it was a not your everyday hot rod or high school cruiser. So, it held everyone’s attention. The sound was music to my ears.


    Come to find out, the Ford Sedan Delivery was just finished that week and this was the first Friday night cruise. All reddish color, black rims and small center hubcaps made it look race ready and fast. But, it was the "sound..."

    As he parked in the lot and everyone surrounded it, the owner was busy explaining the details. In my mind, it was the perfect combination of fast hot rod, big v8 motor and a form of surf station wagon space for our long road trips. An all in one combination that would certainly satisfy my next hot rod to accommodate my surfing journeys all over the So Cal coastlines.

    The bucket seats must have come out of a foreign car as they were adjustable, but, not in the best condition. Soft, comfortable and adjustable were fine with me. It was the car that sold me and the old seat condition could be cleaned and buffed up with upholstery cleaner and conditioner.

    For some reason, those bucket seats were more comfortable than any of our sedans. No longer did we have to sit at almost 90 degree factory angle of the seatbacks. They were adjustable for who were the driver and passengers at any time. (at one point, many days later, my friend drove this Sedan Delivery for the weekend and he was 6 feet 4 inches tall)

    So, for as old and used as the sedan delivery seats were, bucket seats were now the seat of choice. Throughout our surf journeys everywhere, those bucket seats took a beating, even with beach towels covering the Naugahyde seats. Double up the towels for a partial wet bathing suit ride home, moist weather all along the coast when just sitting on or near the sandy beach at the water’s edge was a curse on all things hot rod.

    But, the whole car was fairly easy to keep clean using the newly formed pressure spray hoses installed in a new building structure just down the street from our Westside of Long Beach home. It certainly helped when the whole car was covered with mud during our rainy day mudslide race course driving tests at the nearby huge empty field. It was next to the oil refineries we used for everything, including open exhaust testing and tuning without any repercussions about noise.

    For all of the thousands of miles of coastal road trips, we spent those miles comfortably sitting on those adjustable seats. It was a goal to get some upholstery in the back cave, including insulation. Some cold mornings, the inside walls had moisture built up and sometimes, the roof moisture dripped down on to our sleeping faces. Yikes!

    When I sold the sedan delivery in order to go away to college, the seat upholstery looked as new as can be and the feel of sitting on nice clean Naugahyde, despite being old, felt good. YRMV
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2023
  24. stubbsrodandcustom
    Joined: Dec 28, 2010
    Posts: 2,292

    from Spring tx

    I have always wanted a full nice interior... Best I have ever done was nice tuck and roll seats. A comfy seat is prime time always in my book. I finally bought a abs kit for my 56 pickup as someone finally starting making one. So I have test fit the panels. Never removed them since. The door panels, I did this last weekend, I got tired of no real tie together from outside to inside, so I wrapped these with some Mex blankets... Just what it needed. Now I do want to do a carpet job soon on her, that's the finishing touch it needs, but Ill get around to it once I get a new shifter installed. 56-21.jpg

    My 34 Tudor, all orig Molehair, it needs recovering so I am running Serape blankets for now.
  25. 1940Willys
    Joined: Feb 3, 2011
    Posts: 804


    Nope, don't dig it. I can smell it from here. Sorry Joey. I'd cut some masonite using what ya have there for templates. Then contact cement on some sherpa blanket material to that.
    dana barlow likes this.
  26. Cubby47
    Joined: Aug 9, 2021
    Posts: 30


    I bought a 12foot roll of diamond stitched black Naugahyde from a guy at a car show in Castro Valley at the Elks Lodge a few years ago. He had in the back of his old Chevy pick up with a camper shell. He said " I was going to do my pick up but never got around to it " $50 cash and its yours. Done deal. I have done the seat, door and kick panels and two Cushman scooter seats and still have enough for the headliner in my 40 pick up !! Deals are still out there.
    dana barlow likes this.
  27. It's a shame I don't have a pic of my 38 chevy coupe that I owned in the mid 70's. It was done in the mid 60's. 283 bored to 302, 4 speed, 57 chevy posi rear, blue and white pleated interior, chrome window garnish moldings. The only pics I have are of the outside. Didn't I know I would get old and want to show people what I used to have???? :)
    2FORCEFULL, Outback and Driver50x like this.
  28. Driver50x
    Joined: May 5, 2014
    Posts: 427


    Wow. Actual 1962 hot rod upholstery. Now that is traditional, in a good way.
  29. dana barlow
    Joined: May 30, 2006
    Posts: 5,123

    dana barlow
    from Miami Fla.
    1. Y-blocks

    Love the storys;
    We ten to want what is just out side the limit of our piggy bank. But also love what ya can get to a point.
    Some make up lame excuses ,an tell there self its style. :( Others ether see that as lazy ,or also believe same*=groups of" That's good enough"often = Wow that's cool.< That's alright too :cool:,I like how each makes there self happy with what they have. :D. So not to get all that view wrong.

    Seems there are less now,of car clubs,that help each other out a lot. Many of the clubs I knew about ,an the three I was in ,in the 50s n 60s traded skills . That worked pretty well.
    As a young teen,already knew,nothing much falls out the sky.
    Dad early on told me,"If you want something,save/earn ,or learn how to did it your self*"
    The other thing he said a lot" Do it right* the first time,or you'll be doing it again ";)
    The learn how part,was my way.
    Learned to plan ahead, to design [engineer],to weld,paint,the last was upholstery <My first way of doing upholstery was to go work at a shop,as floor cleaner an odd job go get it kid. That was how I got my first interior,done by a great old guy "Nuwt" RIP,who owned the shop!=Many years later ,that cool nice interior had lived it's life out,an needed replacing. Remembering stuff I watch Nuwt do,an finding extra info on the WWW,;
    Too pass along some skill,an tips,as we did long ago ,an now here as well,is part of the fun;;

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