Muscle Car Seat Restoration
Classic Car Upholstery and Interior Restoration Kits
Figure 1: Nicely restored 69 Chevelle front bucket seats
There is nothing better that rowing the gears of the 4-speed in your favorite muscle car on a sunny day, that is unless the front bucket seats in your ride squeak and don’t provide you with the comfort and support they were designed to when new. That’s when a muscle car seat restoration may be in order.
The front bucket seats in your Camaro, Chevelle or other classic muscle car are made up of four main components.
- Seat frame
- Seat springs
- Seat foam (buns)
- Seat upholstery
Seat upholstery gets the most attention because it’s very visible but the reality is that classic car seat upholstery will not fit as designed nor provide support and the comfort they should without a good foundation.
In this article, we are going to take a look at the classic muscle car seat springs, the importance they play, and some common issues that you will likely need to address before re-upholstering your front bucket seats.
Figure 2: Coil and band seat springs found in many muscle cars shown
The bucket seats in most muscle cars had seat bottom springs that were comprised of a series of coils and bands that created a lattice work of support for the seat foam that was placed on top of it.
The seat springs' primary role was to provide a cushioned support for the seat foam and to separate the drivers and passengers from feeling the seat frame.
Figure 3: Broken seat springs are a common issue on original seats
Over time, seat bottom springs have been known to fatigue, break and rust with regularity. Let’s face it, seats in many of our classic vehicles are reaching 50 years old in some cases and the front seat, particularly the driver’s seat, has been used and abused for every mile that is shown on the odometer.
To diagnose if your muscle car’s front bucket seat needs new seat bottom springs, answer the following questions.
- Does the seat squeak when you sit down in it or when you shift your weight?
- Can you feel the seat frame when you sit in your bucket seat?
- When you sit in your seat, does it provide you with a uneven support?
If you answered “YES” to any of the above questions your bucket seat springs are going to need repair or replacement.
Figure 4:Common seat spring repair kit shown
Broken seat springs can be repaired using a seat repair kit. That kit will include a couple of lengths of pre-bent seat springs and bands that you will use to secure the replacement spring to the sections of unbroken spring. You will have to cut out the broken section of spring.
Potential issues with the repair of broken muscle car seat springs is that, as the saying goes “your only as strong as your weakest link”. Installing a new spring with correct spring tension onto a fatigued spring that has already broken can create stress and further spring breakage to the surrounding older bucket seat springs. In addition, repairing a broken car seat spring will not correct the spring fatigue and sag that may be present with the remaining springs that make up the remainder of the muscle car seat base spring.
The other option is to install a brand-new seat base spring which will include everything you will need to restore the original feel and support to your classic muscle car’s front bucket seats. New springs with the proper tension and weight bearing characteristics that will guarantee your seats will look and feel exactly as they did when new.
When re-upholstering your front bucket seats be sure to inspect the seat springs for damage, broken car seat springs, and fatigue. The benefit of replacing your muscle car’s bucket seat bottom springs will far outlive the lower initial cost with seats that are comfortable and supportive for many miles to come.
First Place Auto Parts has all the parts you need to restore your classic muscle car’s interior. From seat upholstery to seat foam, door panels, and everything in between we offer the highest quality restoration parts at competitive prices.