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Traumatic Upholstery Experience


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A button on the front seat back of my 72 Cutlass "S" fell off  and I couldn't find it. I contacted Legendary Interiors and I couldn't say enough positive about them. They were great! They sent me a packet with two buttons that matched exactly with those on my seats and charged me nothing. Elated, I proceeded to my local upholstery shop to have it put on. I trusted the owner because he had installed a headliner on my wife's car as well as my Dad's. I was certain that he would treat my baby with the care it deserved. Boy was I wrong.

   When I came to pick up my Olds, the job was terrible! The button he installed was pushed in so far that it produced a visible dent on the seat back surrounded by wrinkles. When I complained, he told me that my car had so many flaws that he could pick it to pieces if he wanted to. My car is a repeat Senior Grand National Winner for God's sake, I mused, but he kept on!

   Next I was told to never come back and to get off his property immediately! I was in shock! He made absolutely no attempt to make it right and now I'm told to never come back?

   Fortunately this story has a happy ending. I heard about another local shop that was so far off the beaten path that I wouldn't have known it was there at all if not for word of mouth. The proprietor was courteous and after viewing the job, berated the previous installer for the job he did, and assured me that he would do it right. Two days later I dropped the car off at 7:30 am and it was done by noon! "Perfect" You couldn't even tell that button from the rest! Us car guys deserve to be treated with more courtesy than being told to get off the property and not to come back!

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Cutlass Guy, I always appreciate your photo-reports

of various car events.  I'm glad to hear that it eventually

worked out for you.


Please tell us the name of the bad upholstery shop.

After all, I'm in Penna. too, and I want to make sure

that I never use him!  (Send a Private Message if you

are wary of exposing him publicly.)


Doing bad work is bad enough.  Being disrespectful

to a customer makes him doubly to be avoided.

Let us know the name of the good shop, too!


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Glad it worked out as well, Cutlass Guy.  I would advise you send a PM to those who request it.   The AACA Forum has rules about being the media involving disputes between customers and vendors.  (501c3 status could be jeopardized and legal action has been threatened in the past.)


Just a heads up.

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Stories like this is why I try to do as much of my own work as possible. When I wanted my Locomobile seat upholstered, everyone I called just had a lackadaisical or crummy attitude, with questions like "You got a what!? And then the conversation ended with they were backed up for months with work. To be honest a lot of the pictures I seen from shops left me with the notion, I could do it that well myself; why pay for it? I did it myself and I'm happy with it, could be better of course. A man shouldn't blame his tools, but the non-walking foot Janome machine I used was really not up to the task, it worked and it is sewn well, but for leather, a walking foot machine is needed, I have one now. The seam around the edge of the lower seat went through 4 and 6 layers intermittently and I had to hand sew it, took me 5 hours. For button ties I use waxed Dacron which is used for making bowstrings, super strong and will not rot or stretch.


One local guy said he would do it, then he started talking about vinyl "Hide-em" strip like they use on modern boat upholstery around the edges of the leather seat, I don't think he had a clue what he was talking about.



Edited by Locomobile (see edit history)
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Shame to hear you had a bad experience with an upholstery guy, like any trade there are great, satisfactory, and stay away from.    


I did the seats in a 1960 Cadillac convertible 20 years ago for a friend, biscuit gifted leather.  Job came out well, when done I handed my friend a baggies with 6 extra buttons made with the leather.  What are these for, he asked, and I told him to just put in his desk drawer and forget about them.


A few years ago he calls, his belt had caught a button, tearing off the cap.  Still have the extras in your desk drawer?  I do! He exclaimed.


20 minute job of partial disassembly and he was all set, smiling all the way.....

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I have pretty much established shops for my various needs over the years. This clip is quite similar to me coming in for the annual inspection.


Only there would be three in the shop for my car. They know I don't want my wipers tested on a dry windshield so my priest stops by and sprinkles the windshield lightly with holy water for that part.


There was a new mechanic helping when I took the Packard and he acted just like Freddie Prinze.


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