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Second Chance Garage

For the Classic Car
Restoration Enthusiast

Second Chance Garage

Second Chance Garage

For the Classic Car
Restoration Enthusiast

Second Chance Garage

Second Chance Garage

For the Classic Car Restoration Enthusiast

Second Chance Garage

RESTO-MODS

Resto-Mod Restorations — Part 20: Upholstery

It's funny how a little vinyl, and carpeting and plastic and metal can come to mean so much to a person. And its also funny how some people can take advantage of a person and others will bend over to help him or her.

The Third Time's The Charm

To most people, Lori Fuller was a young lady with a blue '69 Camaro SS Resto-Mod that needed interior work. But the car was special to Lori. It had belonged to her husband, who died in a California car crash along with their two daughters. Her husband loved the Camaro and she hoped to fix it in his memory.

Lori took the car to one shop, where it sat for a frustratingly long time and nothing got done. Next, She took it to a second shop. The restorer said he could get an interior kit for the car and fix it. He priced out the job and Lori paid in advance for the parts, which were never ordered. Again the car sat and sat.

Then, body shop owner John Diermeier heard about Lori's case. He contacted a friend who networked with people in the Resto-Mod industry. After a few calls, he found himself talking to Classic Industries, a Huntington Beach, California company that sells reproduction parts for Chevys, Pontiacs and Mopars. Rick Lara, the owner and president of the company, listen to the story and immediately offered to supply John the needed parts to get the car done.

The well worn interior in Lori Fuller's '69 Camaro had extra holes bored into the door panels and kick panels for aftermarket radio speakers.

The well worn interior in Lori Fuller's '69 Camaro had extra holes bored into the door panels and kick panels for aftermarket radio speakers.


Faded or Worn or Torn

Over the years, circular holes had been cut into the Camaro's door panels to mount aftermarket radio speakers. The dash padding had cracked. The console lid was broken. Other interior parts like the carpets and kick panels were faded or worn or torn. Worst of all, the interior had been largely disassembled by the second shop Lori had taken the car to. By the time the car arrived at Diermeier's shop—John's Custom Auto—and easy job had turned into a difficult one. "We had to find the parts and figure out where they went," says Diermeier. "None of them were labeled and many were taken apart, so the job took longer."

Steve Kractt, Jr., spent a good chunk of time gutting the Camaro's interior. Here he is removing the driver's side front bucket seat.

Steve Kractt, Jr., spent a good chunk of time gutting the Camaro's interior. Here he is removing the driver's side front bucket seat.


Teardown

John and Steve Kractt, Jr., spent a good chunk of time gutting the Camaro's interior. They unbolted the front bucket seats and removed them. The clipped-in-place rear seat cushion was easy to pop out. The rear seat back came out, too. Then, the tattered old carpeting was lifted out as well. Other parts removed included the kick panels, door panels, inner rear quarter trim panels, the seat belt system parts and the rear package tray. The dash pad had already been taken out. Finally, the center console and related parts were removed.

The back glass was removed from Lori's car. Unless you're experienced with clips that hold the chrome on and have tools to cut butyl tape, you may consider calling a glass company to take your front or rear glass out ($60 each) and put them back in, The cost is a bargain if it keeps you from breaking the glass. However, if you insist on doing it yourself, you'll need a window molding clip tool and a cold knife. A cold knife is a piece of aluminum rod with an "L" shaped blade. It has a cable with a handle that pulls the blade through the butyl tape. After you cut through the butyl tape, you can carefully lift the glass out.

Other than the ugly speaker holes that had been cut into the kick panels and door panels, the major interior parts were not ruined. The seats did not have to be recovered. In fact, the only major seat work included removing and re-dying the plastic panels on the back side of the front seatbacks. The headliner and sun visors were able to be cleaned and reused. John made a list of all of the parts that did have to be replaced and sent it off to Classic Industries. The parts were all in stock at the company's expansive warehouse and were promptly shipped.



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