by Mike Peake
Well I’d only gone and done it hadn’t I? It’d been 14 years since deciding it needed doing but in April 2015 it got so bad that it had to be done! Fanfare and drum roll please!!..... I actually sorted out my driver’s seat!! No. Really. I had. I’ve even got photo’s to prove it.
Here’s what happens when a fat bloke sits in a 45 year old chair for 14 years!
I actually started preparing for this daunting task in 2014 when I saw a very distressed and lonely 13/60 Herald seat on the great Bay of E. The covers were in a dreadful state, all covered in mould and tears with the foam padding leaking out of the holes. However, from the photos, the frame looked OK and I needed a frame so I put in a desultory low bid and to my surprise, I actually won it for 6 whole English Pounds plus the diesel to collect it. Quite a bargain I thought.
When I got the seat home I stripped off the offending covers and foam (and boy did they offend!) to reveal that all straps and diaphragms had also gone to meet their maker. The frame was also covered in surface rust and the rail that the base cover clips onto was rather severely bent.
So I immediately threw out all the rubbish and hid the frame in the shed so Mrs FB wouldn’t laugh at me.
I then started buying the 2 new foam cushions, diaphragm and back straps one piece a month as well as a vinyl/leather repair kit. I had decided to repair and reuse my existing covers. Possibly because shiny new ones would stand out like the proverbial in a punch bowl among all the nicely patina’d interior of the car, or, I couldn’t afford shiny new ones but I now had all I needed except the courage to start.
It took a couple of weeks to psyche myself up to the task and thought it best to start with the spare seat frame which I immediately attacked with a hammer and various shaped bits of metal and surprisingly quickly had the bent rail straightened. AND…apart from a “Tom and Jerry” thumb I hadn’t actually broken anything!
It probably doesn’t look straight to all you perfectionists and experts out there, but for my very 1st attempt at trying to “shape” metal, I’m quite pleased with myself and I WILL cry if anyone is rude about it.
Next I rubbed down the frame to remove the worst of the rust before brush painting it with 2 coats of black “Smoothrite” (It’ll all be covered up anyway!).
After it was dry, I fitted up all the strapping and after drilling new holes, the, what turned out to be a TR6, diaphragm. Then I had to touch up all the scratches resulting from the metal hooks and my ham-fistedness.
It was now time to get my long-suffering old seat out of the car. I very carefully removed the covers and took very careful note of where all the various clips and springs came from and stored them carefully in a jam jar. Which I then knocked over and spread them all across the patio.
I cleaned the covers with “soft top” cleaner and left them in the conservatory to “condition” in the hot sun. (I know! April? In the UK too?)
Actually, when I got my old seat stripped down it doesn’t look as bad as I thought. What do you reckon? Do you think I should put it up for auction?
The inevitable then happened; Mrs FB came in and asked why there were bits of old car seat all over her conservatory. I think she was a bit taken aback by my reply that it was because I didn’t think she’d want them in the dining room, but hey, my black eye soon faded.
The two new foam cushions were put in place and now the wrestling match really began as I tried to fit the covers as neatly as possible. I won in the end and had them all fitted and clipped into place. The final job was to use the vinyl/leather repair kit on the two small tears which was really rather fiddly but the repairs look OK from a distance (quite a big distance) and I’m really rather happy with the results.
Before you look at the culmination of all this hard work and artistry, please remember that I wasn’t aiming for a showroom, concourse winning seat and in that I think I have definitely succeeded! But at least my bottom is now as happy as the rest of me to be driving around in Poppy!
Poppy went through the MOT with no problems and the mechanic even complimented me on the driver’s seat as it had crippled him last time!
to be continued
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