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Will you buy skins in...

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Hey all. I am in the process of negotiating a group buy for leather seat skins for ANY p type mk2 seats with a local Vancouver company called Northwest Automotive Leather http://www.nwautoleather.com. This is a big local company that is very well staffed and has great turn around time. Any new car dealer option leather interiors offered in town are done by these guys, they are that good. Some of you may know me, some may not. My name is Seamus (pronounced Shay-mus, like Sean) and I organized the group buy for the Carbon Fiber FX hoods. I'm just giving you all a heads up here so you have some time to save up and to find out what kind of color choices will be most popular. Pricing will not be finalized till the pattern is made and the first prototype finished, but I have approx figures for now. All prices are in Canadian dollars, multiply by .72 to get USD but it will be a few weeks before I start collecting names and placing orders. Hopefully the USD will rebound a bit by then but the prices will still be very, very reasonable regardless and shipping for just skins is very cheap (20 to 40 bucks).

This buy will have a few options. The base package will be just leather skins for the front seats. This will cost around $700 (500ish US, give or take 50 bucks). The first and most important option is the installation kit, which is essentially a special set of pliers to crimp little wire rings to hold the skins down. I have completely disassembled multiple ptype seats and resembled them with the use of this tool and this job is defiantly within the scope of the DIYer. But if you don't trust yourself with this nice leather you can pass on the installation kit and take the skins to any car upholstery shop and get them to do the install for a couple hours labour.

Other options will include skins for the rear seats (around $350), color choices (Black, Grey, Maroon, Blue or custom), and bolster foam repair (20 to 30 bucks). These guys can not sell us new foam for our seats, they can only repair the old stuff. For the bolsters, if your foam is worn and you can’t get a good one from the wrecker you can send me your bolster and I will deliver it to the company to be remanufactured. If your seat bottom foam is well worn or has holes in it (as many of the higher milage ones do) I would recommend you pick up a passenger seat in good condition from the wrecker and switch the foam when you do the re-skinning. At least here Supra seats are dirt cheap (50 bucks) and easy to come by in good shape with good foam(passenger ones are anyways).

The pattern for these skins is being made from the cloth skins as leather shrinks too much with age. BUT the pattern is being patterned after the leather seats. Curtsey of me, NAL currently has complete examples of both to work from right now. NOTE: These skins will not be 100 percent perfect reproductions of the factory leather for a couple important reasons. 1. The texture will not be exactly the same partially because all the old leather we have now is worn very smooth and shrunk from age. Even factory original leather will not look like what’s in your car now. Also NAL is unwilling to order in hard to get, rare leather stock for these skins as the relatively small qualities they’d order would more then double the price of the leather. But don’t worry, I will see to it that these skins are a decent enough match that re-skinned front seats will match your original leather rear ones (if like me you just do the fronts). 2. NAL does not want to 100% duplicate the factory leather pattern as it’s a little on the excessive side. Take a look at a mk2 leather seat, there’s 16 different strips of leather in the lumbar back piece alone. For the sections that use those strips NAL will double their size, so there will be 8 strips in the lumbar section instead of 16. This practice will be done consistently on all sections that use those strips.

I need samples for the blue and maroon leather. For those of you that are in for sure, if you could send me a worn bolster or other sample you have, that would be much appreciated (PM or email me). If you send me a bolster I’ll return it re-skinned with your order. The other stock colors I have samples for. Here are a couple nice bonuses to get your imaginations going. Any custom colors besides the stockies, two tone combinations, and different colored stitching are done at no charge. Also the leather skins fit cloth skin seats no problem, perforated leather can be substituted for an additional charge (around $100) and custom embroidery can be done for a minimal charge as well.

Please answer the poll above if you think you’ll be able to afford this within the next couple months. These skins will be available for mail order through their site after the Group Buy but of course it will not be quite as cheap and you will have to deal directly with the company. To give you an idea of costs, if you were to bring your car to these guys to have your front and rear seats redone, the bill would be around $2 grand. This is about all of the info I have right now, please don’t email me about any of this yet but feel free to ask questions here. I’ll be making a big post again with pics once the first set of skins are done and installed and we are ready to start taking orders.
 

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I can send you blue leather to match as I've got the bluepra seats already out.

Just to add, I've done seats from hogring kits before on other project cars with good results. The original foam is almost always worn and if not disintegrated, its at least compressed a bit so seat covers will look kinda baggy over the old foam if done from original patterns. To fix this I just wrapped each foam part with a 1" batting material you can get from any fabric store. Used multiple layers cut in appropriate shapes to fill in small missing chunks. Fills out the seats nicely. This is an option if you don't want to send your seat parts away for repair. Also, the secret to cutting foam rubber - an electric carving knife just like you'd use in your kitchen. With a little patience, you can carve a whole new piece from stock foam if you need to.

Phil D.
 

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Seamus,

GREAT JOB!!!!!

Outstanding.

One question, for those of us fools who might we wanting to replace cloth interiors, can we also buy a few yards of matching leather to take care of the door panels and rear side panels? Recovering them DYI is very easy, I've already done that several times. Would be really nice to be able to make it all match up.

The hog ring kit is a fantastic idea. They are very easy to work with if you can get the rings in the right size. I've always had to make my own as all I can find here is for chain link fencing and is really too heavy gauge and a real pain to make SMALL finished rings. I agree with Phil that this is also an easy DYI.

Also, I assume you are aware that the rear seat backs are not universal for our cars. They will need to know which year car for rear seats. The 83 & 83 rear seat backs connect differently and will need a small hole cut in the leather skin on the outside, side of each seat to let the securing post pass through. They can probably actually make a universal cover. The folks with 82/83's just need to realize that they will have to cut a small nickel sized hole in the side to make them fit. Again, an easy DYI as I've now done it twice.

Thanks for all your efforts. You da man!!!!!

Leslie
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I didn't know about the 82\83 thing but the patterens are being made from 85 seats (actualy from a celica GTS but they're the same) and they have my 85 leather seats to compare against.

The DIY kit comes with more then enough hog rings to do the install.

I actually did think of the interior panel thing, but it was after I visited NAL last so I didn't want to mention it before I confirm with them. But they're being really flexiable so I doubt it will be a problem. Should be a minimal extra charge for the extra leather. I will get specifics for my next big post.

Phil is right about how to redo the foam, thats essentially what NAL would do if you bring your seats to them. But I'm lazy and like I said spare seats Supra are pretty easy to come by in most wreckers and the passeger seat is usually in pretty good shape. I've rescued three for myself for those purposes over the last year and know of at least another 3 at local wreckers that would be perfect for it.

In my seat dissassebly adventures I've discovered that all foam on ptype seats are completely interchangable between the DS and PS. The skins are also except for the bottom skin which has different holes and in different spots. Bolsters are identical on both DS & PS, as is the headrests and the head rest side pieces. Also the lumbar pumps can be easily adapted to a PS seat but the DS adjustable side bolsters will not go as the frames are attach to the base frames quite differently. I will be posting a complete web based DIY guide with full pics when this group buy is ready to go (which will be after I've done one myself).

More seat trivia, our seats aren't really that heavy. DS is 45 pounds, passenger is 42. The frame by itself (with rails attached) is 25 pounds, almost all of that is the rails. Most aftermarket seat weights you hear quoted are just for the seat as you always have to get adapter brackets. For instance, an $800 Sparco Torino (reclinable) weighs about the same as a mk2 ptype seat!
 

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Sounds intersting. I personally would perfer the all stock pattern but if the quality is good and I like how they look I might go for a set. I need something eventually. I like smooth leather myself like what is on the car now.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
cool, if I can get blue from Phil and Maroon from you then we're set. What do you mean by "they have the grey silver color"? I have grey leather seats, NAL has those right now.
 

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I have a source for the hogrings you will probably need! These are stainless steel and are a bit heavier than those cheap ones that normally come with the little tool. If you're interested, call Specter off-road in Chatsworth, CA.

Specter Off-Road, Inc.
21600 Nordhoff St.
Chatsworth, CA 91311
USA
818-882-1238

Just thought I'd pass that info on to y'all!
 

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Seamus,

If Jim King is unable to get you the source for the Maroon leather in the next 2 months (it would probably be America Stitches, where we got our steering wheel leather redone almost 2 years ago) then LMK. I can bring one of my old side bolsters w/ me to the Zupan's/Baxters Meet in July. Part of the side bolster still has good leather that has not darkened, it still has the original correct shade of Maroon.

Grr.... I may pass on the leather redo... I would prefer the original stock pattern, in order to keep everything consistant. Plus at the moment, I just need to get my original drivers seat redone on the seat bottom, the seatback is still fine (and the drivers seat that I bought from Rock Villenauve last year is still good).
 

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Actually, the leather is from the distributor in NJ.

I would agree with Chris.

The original stock pattern is preferred as well as it does look very sharp.

I understand it does take more time, and it does have more
exposure to sewing alignment.
 

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Just my 2 cents here but I just went through all of this a couple months ago,,, I got all my seats redone.

As per Seamus I agree that these seats do come apart quite easily.

But,,,, Once the bottom seat part comes off the rails it's a hell of a lot harder. Replacing the skins on the bolsters , headrest and back should be no problem for a DIY,,, but the seat is a different story,,,

I had taken all my seats apart for the upholstry guy to save some $$$ and to make sure they were reassemble properly. I had to go back twice for him to readjust the hog rings on the side bolsters in order for them to be tight enough not to have a air space in the seam.

He had used my cloth as a template,,, the material had sretched over the years so the template was not quite accurate,,, there was too much sag in some areas. It needed a lot of fine tuning with the hogrings and some nip and tuck,,, especially in the area between the bolster and the seat back,,, it has to fit perfect otherwise it looks like shit.

The seat itself was the most time laboring one to do,,, with all the adjustments on our seats and the pattern it needed a lot of fine tuning,,, that and the fact most seats out there have lost their firmness, the template taken form a older fabric might again create a lot of air pockets

The point is, Seamus,,, I would recommend that the final templates be fitted to a seat before he gets into mass production,, and that everyone who participates in the group buy realises that the fabric might fit differently on their own seats,,, for that kind of money it'll piss off a lot of people if the new material is loose on the seats. Also everyone should realise that re fitting the new material might be very frustrating and more difficult than atticipated as our seats have very little room for error.

Keep in mind 2 yrs ago we got a group buy on new leather steering wheels, American stitching put on 1\8" foam instead of 1\4" as per stock.
Many of us were diapointed over the lack of minor details, the new wheel as good as it looks has a very different feel from stock so make sure on all of the details from your local supplier.

Also keep in mind the custom fees for the US guys,,, because the wheels were shipped with the cost posted on the box and were shipped from a buisness I got nailed on duty and border crossing fees.

Again just my 2 cents (3 cents american)

Rock/ ( with new seats )

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Discussion Starter #12
Thanks for the input everyone. Like I said, the seats are being made by tearing apart a perfectly good set of cloth seats (From a fairly low milage car, its actually kind of shame pulling these seats apart), BUT they are being patterened after the leather seats, NAL has my grey leather ones right now. The only real change will be the thin bars will be twice as wide, this will help keep costs down. We're not going to start taking any orders till an intial set is made, fitted and all bugs worked out. I will be doing one of my own seats myself before all of this as well and making a DIY guide from the experience. I will not open this buy until I'm 100 percent happy with the product. If the two bar thing doesn't look good we'll modify the patteren.

Jim, I misread your post. I just need a sample so NAL can find a close match. I'll mention that I know a company to them that has a good match for it and see what they say though. Chris Eng, I may need that maroon bolster sooner, I'll let you know.

The hog rings they use may be stainless, I'll take another good look at them. I know these guys are concerned about rust. The oem skins have wire sewn into them along the seams for the hog rings to attach to. NAL prefers to use plastic strips in place of the wire as it won't rust.

Rock I agree the seat bottom is the tricky part with these seats, but I think they're quite doable if the patteren is good. I'll work all the kinks out before I open up the buy.
 

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How much more would the proper amount of sewn stripes be? If it is $200, who cares? I mean what's the difference between $900 and $700, in the overall scheme of things? I say pay the extra money and do it right. The 1 inch stripes look much better than 2 inch stripes. Lets do an exact stock replica!!!!!
 

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Seamus, I will be watching this closely. If it turns out well, I will probably order a set. Even though, I do not have any tears in my '82 black seats, they are looking a bit worn in the front. plus the striped look is pretty dated. If I go in on this, I will definitely want the extra matching leather to redo the side panels, as mentioned by Leslie. Keep up the good work. I talked to Duane this past week, and my hood should be done in the next couple of weeks.
 

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UPDATE

Ok people, I had another meeting with NAL this weekend and straightened out a few more things....

There will be on oem look alike patteren with the 1ish inch stripes. I say ish because they have to make the patteren from the cloth seats and alter it to mimic the look of the leather ones as all existing leather skins will have shrunk somewhat by now. With the these new skins in your car they should look just like your old oem leather ones (except all new and fresh looking of course) but if you were to get in there with a ruler and compare the position of every seam to an original oem leather seat I'm sure there will be a few mms varience in most places. If thats not exact enough for you then I suggest you find a custom shop to make you a one off that is 100 percent accurate and prepare to shell out a couple grand :p. THIS IS AN OPTION, it will cost a little more then skins with the 2 inch bars. Pricing is not determined yet but it will be nowhere near 200, something more like 50 to 100.

There will be an option to get skins for the doors and 2 rear interior panels. Pricing and exact DIYer info will be announced at the same time as everything else. I have to play with my doors a little but the install of the skins on the door panels will be a little tricky as the portions we want to replace are stitched on in spots on the cloth interior cars, but I think I have a nice solution for that one too.

The hog ties they use and will be shipping in the DIY kit are made out of galvanized steel, they will not rust.

Other then that, I stressed how important maintaining the oem look and colors was, and myself and NAL both agreed that this buy will not be opened till they've successfully done one front seat and the rears themselves, and I've done one of my seats myself. Once all of that is out of the way, the buy will be opened. That will probably be in about a month.
 

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Good to hear it. I'll be waiting for the results since I'm very interested in this now!
 

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What do you guys think of black leather on the sides, bolsters, and headrest and gray leather down the middle? I think that is what I am going to do. Then I want the dragon logo stitched into the black headrest with gray stitching.
 

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how many people are interested in the dragon logo stitched in? Its pretty cheap to have a logo stitched on but its an extra 100 bucks to have a logo scanned and made into a patch if they don't have that one on file already. They definatly have the new toyota emblem, and I think they may have the mk4 "Supra" in swoopy letters too but I doubt they have the dragon logo. That extra 100 could be divided up between however many people want it.
 

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I definitely want the dragon logo, will match my new pedals and my wheels, along with the car of course. Hope I don't have to foot the $100 myself.....
 

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What time frame are we looking at? Any pics available?
 
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