New Hides for an Old ’Stang

September 25th, 2009

main-thumbIf you think your backside has gotten plenty of abuse over the years, just think about what it does to your car’s upholstery. For over 40 years, the bucket seats in this ’65 Mustang have endured their share of wear and tear, and the results aren’t pretty. Split seams and disintegrating seat foam are no way to win a show, and can actually make driving difficult. Broken-in tennis shoes may be comfortable, but broken-down seats are another matter.

New life for old seats is as easy as installing new seat covers and foam. The covers and foam for this install are direct stock replacements, and come from California Mustang Parts and Accessories in City of Industry, Calif. CMP&A offers an array of parts for all things Mustang, be they late-model or classic. From mechanical to interior to sheetmetal, California Mustang has what you need to restore and repair that Pony in your driveway.
When we say it’s easy to replace the seat covers with new ones, we mean that it’s easy for those who know what they are doing and have the correct tools. The owner of this ’65 Mustang had bought the pieces, partially pulled apart one seat, and then realized that having a pro to do the job instead was probably the smarter option. That’s when he called the crew at Bill’s Hot Rod Interiors in Brea, Calif. When we heard Bill’s was doing the work, we dropped by to check it out. We first became acquainted with Bill’s when they did a custom interior for a killer Camaro built by Buxton Motorsports a few years ago. While Bill’s is quite able to stitch up a complete (and amazing) custom interior, they were happy to install the covers for this client.

Watch as Bill’s Hot Rod Interiors employee Carlos Delvalle turns back the years on this Mustang’s interior with new foam and covers from California Mustang, and gives its owner’s posterior something to be happy about.

California Mustang Parts
and Accessories
19400 San Jose Ave.
City of Industry, CA 91748

Bill’s Hot Rod Interiors
819 W. Lambert Rd.
Brea, CA 92821


The seats in this 1965 Mustang have seen better days, so it’s time for a change.

California Mustang Parts and Accessories offers a huge list of parts for new and classic Mustangs. These seat covers are manufactured as a direct replacement and look, feel and fit like original.

Foam padding breaks down over time. Luckily, California Mustang also offers replacement seat foam that is probably better than the stock units were.

The first step, of course, is to remove the seats from the car. The mounts for the seats have posts that extend down through the floor with nuts and large washers holding them in place.

With the seat assembly on the table, the back section is removed from the seat. Hardly an engineering marvel, the back section simply slips over posts on the seat frame, and are held in place with clips.

With the clips removed, the horns are spread apart with a large screwdriver, and the rear frame is removed.

Items such as the slider assembly are removed.

The upholstery is held to the frame with metal staples — lots of metal staples. Side cutters are used to remove them.

Tough metal wires are run along the edges of the upholstery. These metal wires connect the staples to the frame. They are removed from the old seats and reused if in good enough condition.

With the outer perimeter staples removed, the cover is pulled from the edges of the frame.

More staples connect the cover along the inner perimeter. These are removed.

With the cover upholstery removed, the old seat foam is removed.

The metal frame is carefully inspected. Any broken or loose springs are repaired.

Adhesive is sprayed onto the jute covering the frame and to the seat foam. It should be allowed to dry to tacky before the two pieces are mated together.

The new California Mustang seat foam is installed.

There are pockets surrounding the new covers, and the metal wire is inserted into them.

With the new California Mustang seat cover turned inside out, it is aligned with the inner perimeter.

It takes a special pair of pliers to install the metal staples. They have a recess where the staples sit.

Inserting the staples requires catching the metal wire of the upholstery, forcing through the foam, and attaching to the springs that run beneath the metal frame. It’s not as easy as it looks. It also takes about 12-15 staples to do the job.

With the inner staples in place, the cover is worked over the foam and seat frame. Delvalle takes care to work the upholstery to ensure that it is on square and that there are no wrinkles.

After carefully stretching the material, more staples are used to attach the upholstery to the frame.

When the upholstery is in place, holes are carefully cut to allow access for the slider assembly.

The slider assembly is installed using the stock hardware.

The foam and cover for the back section of the seat is installed the same way as the bottom section.

As part of the cover kit, California Mustangs supplies new backer boards. The mounting tabs are removed from the old unit and installed onto the new one.

Installing the backer board requires more (small) holes being cut into the upholstery, and lining up the tabs. It only takes a fist to tap the tabs into place, but working from one end to the other makes installation easier.

The rear section installed onto the base and the clips installed. Note that it may take a pry bar to get the horns over the post and into place, so a piece of foam or remnant cloth is used to protect the new upholstery during the process.

Items such as the outer trim piece, adjusting hardware and the inner hinge cover are installed using the stock hardware.

And there you have it. The new covers look great and thanks to the new foam, the seats will feel great, as well.

With the seats installed back into the car (a few drops of Loctite on the mounting threads couldn’t hurt), this Mustang is ready to give its owner like-new comfort and as “good as new” style.


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