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CAN YOU IDENTIFY AN OLD SEAT COVER?


'41 Dodge LL
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I just bought a '41 Dodge business coupe in very good condition. There is what looks like a vintage, professionally installed, seat cover on the seat.

I was wondering just how long the cover has been there. Is it possible it was installed when the car was new?

Anybody?

Sorry, that's the best photo I have right now. Haven't brought the car home yet.

thanks, bill

post-153126-0-94806100-1454117774_thumb.

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They were most likely installed when the car was done to dress up the interior.  They are not the factory option covers.  You most likely have very good looking original material underneath.  However, I have seen cases where the aftermarket installer would cut off the original piping so it would not show through on his seat covers.

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Thanks for responding Dave.

There is one small tear in the cover on the drivers side. I could see some nice original fabric underneath, but didn't want to make the hole any bigger. I sure hope the piping wasn't cut off! Lol

Just trying to get an idea of the vintage of the cover. It looks pretty old.

Bill

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In the late 40s - early 50s seat covers were such a popular accessory there were shops that did nothing but sell and install seat covers. Yours look like some of the more expensive aftermarket covers probably installed when the car was new or within a few years of being built.

 

The reason no one remembers seat cover shops is because they all went out of business when Detroit introduced nylon and synthetic upholstery around 1954.

 

If you take them off you will probably find intact original upholstery. I would leave the covers on, or replace them with new covers to preserve the original seats.

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Thanks Rusty,

I'm kinda excited about the car.

It was a long shot to see if someone had some kind of positive I.D. The cover has that "old" look to it, and wondered if in fact installed when new.

I'm going to try and find more history on the car. It was grandpas, but he has passed.

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Looks like a very nice car.  As mentioned, there were seat covers sold by the thousands to either put over new upholstery to "protect" it (saving it for the next owner!), or to put over worn original upholstery. These came presewn, boxed, ready to install, and while there were generic ones, there were also make and model specific kits, which is probably what you have on your car.

 

I cleaned out an old upholstery shop, and had about 20 kits from the 40's and 50's, and they were specifically labeled, for example "1951 Ford two door sedan". 

 

Your set looks nice, if you remove, remove carefully, you may want to reinstall if there are any issues with upholstery underneath!!

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Here are pictures of a couple of the sets I had, they were nicely done......and colorful!  I still have a couple left, have to dig them out, not sure if it's these two or not....looks like they covered a number of different models, but all the same "family" of cars...

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post-76888-0-11018800-1454151995_thumb.j

post-76888-0-17147000-1454152042_thumb.j

post-76888-0-15501000-1454152101_thumb.j

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Thanks for all the input fellas!

First; I like old stuff. Not only do I love the old cars, which is my #1 addiction, I appreciate just about anything from the past. I'm sure there are a number of reasons for that, as many of you know.

The seat cover is in real good condition. There is one small tear in the drivers side upright cover on the side. I may attempt to fix it. It looks like very nice original fabric underneath, which is realtive to the uncovered lower and back portions of the seat.

Even though the fabric may be "cherry" underneath the cover, and the color of cover doesn't really compliment the tan to brown interior, I plan to leave it in place. It just adds to the uniqueness, and old look of days gone by. You can't buy "new" old, if you know what I mean, but many try to duplicate it these days. Once the old is gone, it looses "charcter".

I had it in my head to "streetrod" my next purchase, (this car) and could have been one of about 6 different cars on my wish list. I don't think I can do it to this car. It's just too nice. Although it looks to have had a repaint at some point in its life, I could find any rust repair, or any place where rust was starting. The underside of the car, from frame to pan etc, is just lightly surface rusted. No pitting. I was really surprised, especially for an east coast car! Just goes to show you, they are still out there! AND, in great shape! Ironically, 2 weeks after I bought this car, an original 22,000 mile car popped up on ebay. (same 3 window coupe)

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 There were at least 4 shops in town that installed those seat covers many years ago and some with in a few blocks of each other,two of those shops are still in business and I worked at those two over the last 30 years. One shop still had rolls of that type material that was never used during the 14 years I worked there and a few years after I quit I went back and he threw them out.

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We're probably all familiar with "Saran" wrap. I recall that the plastic-like material these seat covers are made of was a development of that company and that they were the first to market them.

Here's a Google link to some images:

https://www.google.com/search?q=saran+seat+covers&biw=1280&bih=609&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwj3hJ7T3dbKAhWISSYKHXOYARUQsAQIMQ

Edited by Hudsy Wudsy (see edit history)
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I remember the days when that type of seat cover was popular.  We had a "Rayco Seat Covers" Shop in our town that installed many of them everyday.  In the early days of old car restoration we joked that cars got a "Rayco & Fact-O-Bake Restoration"  (Meaning seat covers and a $29.95 paint job.)

With seat covers and a professional paint jobs costing so much, my brother and I lived with a set of curved needles to mend our upholstery and our mother's Electolux Vacuum Cleaner to paint our cars.  Ah, I remember it well. (It worked for interiors and two convertible tops on a 1952 Renault, a 1956 Ford Fairlane, a 1950 Oldsmobile 98 Convertible, and a 1958 Corvette.)

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