I stayed up late last night and finally finished the bottom of the front seat as I watched SNL on my tiny garage TV. It was a real marathon, I had the cover just about installed, and then had to cut every hog ring, and dig around under the pad and move four springs! The plastic grommets for the seatbelts would not fit the way I had the springs, so I had to do it over.
71 degrees is a new record high for January 8 in St. Louis, so today I went to the boneyard and got a piece to replace the rusted away part of the passenger side seatback. I also picked up the center shaft knuckle for the steering column, so I may be able to fix that mess without moving a mountain.
When I got home, one thing led to another, and I welded in the brackets for the seat mounts. These should have been done when I did the floors, but what the heck.
Hang in there, faithful readers, I'm getting tired of them too! Just a thousand more hours or so and they'll be finished!
I put the cobbled spring assembly on the frame. The gray and black look a little odd together, but most of it gets covered anyway, I could have painted it purple and yellow.
After all that hard work and painting, I put this nasty looking jute pad on the springs, and hog ringed it down. It looks a little crappy along the back edge, but it will all be fine in the end. I also used the foam bun from the four-door, as mine was pretty tired looking. I had to cut the openings for the seatbelts to pass through, as well as about one inch off the back edge.
I fastened the rear of the new seatcover to the springs, cut the holes for the seatback pivot brackets, and ran out of time. I've only done this once before, but it sure looks like a heck of a long way to have to stretch the seatcover over the springs.
I can remember back to a time once when I had friends.....saw sunlight....wasn't working on this car....faded memories now.
Nothing says "Auld Lang Syne" like a little New Year's Eve sandblasting. I got home from work a couple of hours early, quickly dragged out the blaster, the tarps, the hose, and blasted clean the very rusty base of the front seat. The morning of New Year's day, I painted it with Smoke Gray Rust Oleum. Although every inch will be covered with new upholstery, I was not comfortable with the thought of all that scaling rust just over my new carpet....and since I had to change the spring assembly anyway....
I thought it would be a slam-dunk to put the 4 door springs on the convertible seat base, it isn't. I knew I would have to shorten them. What I didn't know was that the back wire brace does not fit on the 4 door springs in any way that will have the same measurement. I considered just painting the rusty springs I have and getting on with my life. I flexed one a few times, and twoink! It broke right in half!
Back to the drawing board. I discovered with vise grips I could bend the good springs from the 4 door so the loops were where I wanted them. I even figured out how to get the ends bent just like the factory did them. The fronts are configured a little different, but since that part of the seat frame looks the same, they will be made to fit somehow. Painfully obvious to me now that more effort devoted earlier to finding a good parts car would have paid off big many times over. I'm replacing all 18 springs all the way across, and I have to bend the middles in several places and BOTH ends of all but 2. It's taking hours, much, much longer than I ever thought it could.
I did get the driver side seat back done. It looks decent, much better than the top half of the back seat. The passenger side is not done yet, the metal backframe has places where the hog ring loops have rusted all the way through. I'll have to weld that up. It also needs a piece of sheetmetal found or fabricated to hold the vinyl tight at the very bottom near the pivot arm. If I ever finish the front seat, I'll have the bottom half of the back to do, and then I'll be done!
Through this whole project I've tried to keep the car running as much as possible, because I have a small garage, and a slanted driveway, so I cannot push the car in and out of it by myself, it has to run. It's very difficult to move right now, because I have to sit on a wooden box while the seats are apart, and I need to cut new threads on the steering column shaft. So at the moment, I have to hold the steering wheel on to use it. This is not easy while sitting on a small wooden box that slides on the slanted floor! It makes even turning the car around in the street a dangerous proposition. What a pain in the arse!
My seat springs were rusty and weak. I could not seem to find the proper front seat from a coupe to buy. Mine has the fold down center armrest, and since I bought the covers long ago, and I really want to keep this car as original as possible, I decided to rebuild the seat I have.
I obtained this nice blue bench seat from a 1969 Cutlass 4 door sedan. I spent two hours last night taking them both apart. I looked into cutting the rear of the frame from mine, and grafting onto the rear of the sedan's frame. I decided not to, because it did not have the pivot pins for the seat backs on the side. I determined that drilling through those welds, as well as those in so many places for the rear of the frame, that it would probably be faster to try and swap the spring assemblies instead.
First I cut the covers from both, then unbolted the back from the base frame. With sidecutters, I cut about 400,000 hogrings to remove the upholstery and padding from the various attachment places along the rear. I left it attached in the front for now, and will leave it attached forever if I can get it back together that way. I will have to unfasten the side stiffener springs, and rework them so they will fit into the holes in the coupe's seat base frame. Both frames had the same number of springs and are the same width, lucky for me, or it would have been much more difficult. The sedan springs are much deeper, over an inch longer. I'll have to cut them, or re-invent the wheel some other way on those, but I'll worry about that when I get that far.
The next step will be to weld repair three of the loops for the hogrings to attach to, then sandblast this rusty frame, paint it, and then start figuring out how to modify the longer springs and different side frames to make it all fit, but one thing at a time.
Here are both spring assemblies on the floor, about 2 and a half hours later. The one with the padding still attached is from the '69 four door.
Another 2 hours figuring out how to fix the rotten pad, and then installed the cover, and it is finally done.
I am not wild about the quality of this particular set of seat covers, they have some wrinkles around some of the pleat stitching, but I bought them too long ago to return.
The bottom, as well as the front seat, are as rough to start with as this one was. I'll have to get four door seat frames, rob the springs, and put it all together just like I did here. The bottom of the back seat will be even harder, because even the side frames are rusty, not just the springs. Possibly I can instead use the whole four door seat frame and just cut it down somehow. I'm going a little nuts with all this, because it is taking so much longer than I thought.