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tjthorson

Need some help recovering seats on a 63

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As I posted before, i am restoring a 1963 to be a nice driver for my dad. I dont need NOS, or show quality stuff at all. I just will need to recover these seats as the moisture has taken their toll. The smell is awful in the leather, the cloth binding the leather to the frame is crumbling. I took a seat to the local upholstery shop, which is highly respected - to ask for a quote.

Now, i knew it would be expensive - but I wasnt sure how much. I guess - I need a sanity check - and if someone knows if I can find aftermarket covers for these seats. I have the saddle leather - it doesnt need to be leather - just close in color and a nice pattern.

The upholstery shop says that to do the four seats, in an imitation leather, that will look and wear nice, replace all the padding and repair the springs where necessary.

$4000.00

That may or may not be a fair price - I have no idea. If that is the the going rate, then I will have to find it somewhere, I guess....

Need some guidance here... What do I do?

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Check out Clark's Corvair (Calvin Clark does Riv stuff too, he just did the Corvair stuff first so the name stuck) for re-upholstery kits. Leather, vinyl, or cloth. Leather is about twice the price of vinyl. He also sells replacement seat backs and seat buns - the foam. I would think that you could probably find an upholsterer to put the new ones on for a fair price if you don't think you can do it yourself. Calvin has a reputation for quality in both the stuff he sells and the business he runs.

http://www.corvair.com/user-cgi/pages.cgi?category=buick&dbkey=24&level=1

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I would think you could use some OEM GM vinyls to replace the leather. GM had Light Saddle, Saddle, and Dark Saddle trim codes through the years, so there are options in that respect for both cloth and vinyl fabrics. I think the last Saddle trim code was in 1977, being replaced with a little different brown in 1978 as "Camel Tan".

$4K does seem a little stout, but that could also depend on if you're bringing him the whole car to deal with or bringing in just the seats (taking them out yourself). I suspect the shop is also counting on rebuilding the foam items themselves rather than using restoration parts per se. Re-springing the seat frames the seat frames can be an involved process, though. Must be a good amout of labor involved (and quoted) somewhere in that $4K amount.

One thing I discovered in looking at some GM velour fabrics is that the ones used in Chevrolets look very much like what was used in similar Pontiacs (i.e., Caprices and Bonnevilles, in this case, about 1985 vintage). I was looking at the Caprice fabrics when a long-time trim shop upholstery man mentioned that I wanted the Pontiac-spec fabrics rather than the Chevrolet-spec items. Upon side-by-side comparison (he had them both as they did dealership warranty work), the Pontiac-spec fabric was thicker and heavier, but with the same outside finish, so that's what we got for about $1.00/yard more money (or thereabouts, as I recall). Interestingly, the GM trim code matched the GY4 trim code on the 1972 Chrysler Newport Royal perfectly. And it has held up "like iron", looking like it came that way (just replacing the fabric inserts in the orig covers).

For your general model year, the GM Madrid vinyl was what was used back then. That was also a somewhat common vinyl which many trim shops used for "generic" covers, too. It could well be a pretty good match for your Riv, too, and "look factory" in the process.

I think it always looks good when the factory pattern on the seat covers is maintained in the replacement covers, but with different fabrics that match the factory trim codes.

You might check with the local GM dealers to see who they send their warranty seat cover work to. In many cases, they will replace just part of a leather cover that has unusual wear on it rather than replace the entire cover. So they have to be good in that respect (to pass for OEM quality work). And you might also check with some of the higher-end import dealerships for the same information. That'll give you some choices to investigate, even if you do end up getting the ready-made covers and foam items from Clarks.

In your looking around, be sure to look at their trim books ("Detroit" and "DeLeo") for ideas of fabrics and vinyls and how close they'll match the existing factory trim code. This way, you'll have some knowledge about the situation when you talk to Clarks or whomever about your desires and eventual outcome. Like being an "informed shopper".

Just some thoughts,

NTX5467

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Thanks! I contacted Clark's Corvair. A set of covers in matching saddle - but in vinyl - for all 4 seats is $505....

The foam for each seat is $104....

I am also ordering their interior wood kit, and the rear package tray, and carpet. That should cover the interior.

BTW - I am convinced now that the upholstery shop didnt want to be bothered and gave me a big number to scare me off. That $4k was for me bringing him the seats out of the car...

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Todd,

I have dealt with Clark's in the past and they are a great company to work with. Materials and workmanship has been top notch. Keep us posted on the interior work!

Tim McCluskey

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Todd,

You will be very happy with the Clark's kit. I used their seat covers, pads and carpet on my 63, quality is great.

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Heh - I signed my dad up for the ROA and he got his welcome packet in the mail. He called and emailed me 3 times today with various questions.... many related to "when are we gonna fire it up! wink.gif here is an excerpt from his last email....

<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Quote:</div><div class="ubbcode-body">Todd;

Next years Riviera Owners Assoc. meet is in Galena, Il. Around June 20th. You up for it if all works out, it looks like the brains of Buick restoration are there.

</div></div>

Looks like I GOTTA have it ready for next "car" season... And thanks to all you folks here - shouldnt be a problem....

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