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Old 06-10-2011, 10:13 PM
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Ultraleather Interior Cost

I need a sanity check! My '37 Ford humpback is nearing the upholstery phase. I have made all of the interior & trunk panels out of 1/8" Luan, the mounting holes are punched, & all the panels are fitted. Additionally, ALL of the interior & trunk surfaces are insulated with a combination of Dynamat Extreme, Dynaliner, & Lobuc insulation. I have been working on this ride for 10+ years, so I'll guarantee folks that I have good attention to detail.

The Cadillac Eldorado bucket seats are installed, & the stock rear seat has all the springs correctly tied, with the seat covered in burlap. A console will also need to be covered.....

I have been quoted a $12K+ price for a full Ultraleather wide pleat, & flat panel interior, plus headliner, including Mercedes grade 100% nylon cut pile carpet, & floor mats. The price seems high, but I am TOTALLY ignorant as to the going rate for an Ultraleather interior. The '37 will be a daily driver, built on a full TCI stage 3 chassis, so I DON'T want to skimp on the interior, but maybe a different grade of vinyl would be better suited for my application.

I would like to use this particular trimmer, but I am concerned over the price. Please, what are the thoughts of knowledgeable people on this forum. (Dan TwoLakes, & others) I don't know; this price could be a bargain in today's marketplace.

Thanks for any & all input.........

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Old 06-11-2011, 07:39 AM
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Yes, that is a pretty high price, more in line with what a leather interior would cost, but there are reasons for that. Like everything else in this world, prices for upholstery fabrics, supplies, and foam have skyrocketed over that past few years. The fabric and the high quality carpeting are what is pushing the cost up. Also, if the ElDorado seats are elaborate, they can take a long time to do. The rear seat would need to be matched to the front seats and padded. Ultraleather is a brand name for a product that is 100% polyurethane. It was the first of its kind, and is very expensive, like $60 a yard and more. As an example, there are 13.5 square feet in a yard of upholstery fabric. Leather would cost 5 to 8 dollars a square foot, so real leather would cost $67.50 to $108.00 a yard. Now days there are lots of 100% polyurethane fabrics just like Ultraleather that are not near as expensive, in the $30 to $40 a yard range. The carpet you picked is going to run $100 a yard or more.

Ask the upholsterer if he can suggest ways he could lower his price. I guarantee you can take some money out of this project with some less expensive choices of carpet and fabric, but for what you asked for, that price is not that out of line.
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Old 06-11-2011, 06:34 PM
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Ultraleather alternatives

Thanks for your input; it's much appreciated. As I had thought, my wallet hasn't kept pace with the rising costs of upholstery products.
Your response leads me to the question; what are your current recommendation(s) by brand for alternatives to Ultraleather? Also, your recommendation(s) for nylon cut-loop carpet in today's market place @ a lesser quality to the "Mercedes" carpet .
(NOTE: I read previous posts as to choices, but they were dated some years ago)
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Old 06-12-2011, 07:14 AM
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I have my recommendations, but you really need to talk to the person who's doing your interior. All the major suppliers of vinyl have a version of 100% polyester fabrics. Not knowing what he has access to my recommendation wouldn't mean much if he can't get it.

As far as auto carpet goes, Auto Custom Carpets sells about 8 different kinds of carpet on line as cut yardage as well as carpet molded to fit your car. I personally like 80 /20 loop for cars, but that's just a personal preference. Their web site is www.accmats.com. Don't be fooled by other on line carpet suppliers, they almost all get their carpet from ACC. Just like carpet for your home, auto carpet is more about the padding you put under it.
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Old 06-21-2011, 12:43 AM
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A few things as a professional trimmer -

1) The price quoted is not too far off, but a little steep, depending on the complexity.
2) Ultraleather has an incredible feel and look, but you mentioned your car is a daily driver - I would go with something much cheaper and stronger. I can't tell you how many cars we've REdone because the ultraleather wears out from regular use, and it wears out quick.
3) Bentley carpet runs $45/yd @cost. 9400 series is the gold stanard for cut pile though, and runs $20-30/yd. (I Personally think bentley carpet is too thick and feels "funny"). Loop runs $25-35 depending on how fancy you go, and true square weave runs about $105/yd and is imported from germany. Bear in mind these prices are wholesale cost to shops, and standard markup passed on to you, the customer, is 70-100% - I've seen it in every shop I've worked in.
4) A LOT of work goes into an interior. It's not as simple as just spraying some glue and slappin some material down. Ultraleather takes even more time due to the nature of the fabric and what you can and can't do in order to make sure it keeps it's hand.
5) Yes, prices have skyrocketed in recent years, but santa barbara upholstery supply (Glendale, AZ) has the lowest prices in the business. I order 90% of my materials from them.
6) ACC 1, doesn't make a molded kit for your car, they only ga back to '41 and 2, even if they did, I would still suggest a higher quality carpet for 1/2 the price. Again, my personal favorites are the 9400 and a high quality loop, but that's just me.

Below are some pics of a 37 we REdid recently, with ultraleather, genuine ostrich inserts, and the imported square weave carpet. Floor mats were cut from stainless and carpeted. Owner said the original job was $12k 8 years ago, and was done with cut pile carpet, in multiple pieces, not a one-piece like we did, and while the artistic ability was there with the design, the interior was put together very sloppily and cheaply. We replaced several panels on the front and rear seats that were severely worn, and also swapped the carpet, built the floor mats, did the trunk, dynamatted the entire car, and redid the door panels, and I want to say it was around $5k. Materials alone were around $1500 @ cost (obviously didn't get the usual 100% mark-up this time), and we had somewhere around 110 man-hours into it between the 3 of us in the shop.









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Old 06-21-2011, 07:11 AM
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That's excellent work. I can see you take a lot of pride in your workmanship.

Ultraleather, or any 100% polyurethane faced fabric like Ultraleather, should outlast most vinyl, but there are exceptions. Some of the higher end vinyls from Naugahyde (like Naugasoft and Naugaleather) and other mills will perform as well or better than Ultraleather but these vinyls retail for $35 to $40 a yard or more. You get what you pay for.
True square weave carpet is made of wool, and lasts forever, that's why it's over $100 a yard.

9400 series carpet is made from Olefin, which is a synthetic fiber like Nylon. Olefin does better at stain resistance and is more color fast than Nylon. It is also reasonably priced. I like loop carpet better than cut pile, but like you said, that's just a personal preference.
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Old 06-21-2011, 10:08 AM
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Ultra Leather interior cost

I just recently had my 1938 Chevrolet coupe done with Keystone Partners in blind pleats and perforated head liner. The shop that did my interior was a new start up business and he was looking for work. He quoted me 2000 for the whole job, headliner, door, panels, seat, package tray, trunk. I fabricated all of the interior panels, and he covered. He was going to use standard carpet, but I purchased German wool square weave on line and paid 75.00 per yard that was 52" wide from global in L.A.. After my purchase of the carpet and a 400.00 bonus to his guys, I was into the interior about 2800.00. I suggest that you check around. There are a lot of hungry people out there right now. Just be sure not to front any more cash than is necessary as there are plenty of theives out there also.
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Old 06-25-2011, 08:47 PM
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Thanks to all for your input. I, too have a preference for 100% nylon loop carpet, but my planned trimmer says that it is prone to unraveling; comments? ( I'm REALLY easy on my cars, so I would still like to stay with loop, instead of cut-pile.) Any brand, or supplier suggestions here?

I could be mistaken, but I feel that a trimmer's labor cost is a given, not to be negotiated, so as not to insult someone that you want doing a good job for you? Given that, would it be wrong to ask the trimmer about purchasing my Ultraleather directly? On-line rates seem to be around $55-90 per yard. Is this ever done without causing problems?

As I had mentioned, I have made my own panels, & insulation/damping already, based on the trimmers suggestions; pics attached:

What I'm saying is that I haven't found any product in the mid/dark grey color that I need, other than the Ultraleather Granite 291-5708 color, so my only option may be to purchase the product directly. Is this wrong in your opinion(s)?

Thanks.....
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Old 06-26-2011, 08:35 AM
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It can't hurt to try to negotiate with your trimmer. The worst that can happen is he says no. Ask him if he can give you a better price on the Ultraleather. If you buy it yourself, he loses the profit from the fabric and he'll charge you a cutting or handling charge to make some of it up. Also, if he's not involved with the fabric, he can't guarantee the fabric and you have to deal with your online supplier if something goes wrong.
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Old 07-07-2011, 09:42 PM
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We had several people who brought in their own material, and we just charged them the standard labor rates for their jobs. I personally don't mind, as I am a bargain hunter myself, and as someone who is passionate about cars beyond just being a job I do, I want to make sure the customer has exactly what they want for it. Years ago, before I got started doing it myself, the reputable shop in town showed me samples of what they had, but I wanted a different tweed, so they invited me to bring my material and pay them for the labor.

Just ask your local shop, most of us don't mind! Plus it saves a headache with invoices at the end of the month.
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Old 07-08-2011, 06:53 AM
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Anyone who has done upholstery work for a living has a horror story about working with C.O.M., customer's own material. I have had people bring me awning material so thick and stiff I had a hard time cutting it. I also had someone bring me in some fabric that was so limp and slippery it was next to impossible to work with. In both cases, it took me far longer to do the job and cost me money in the end. Because of that, I am very leery about using fabric the customer finds in the bargain bin at Joanne Fabrics for $1.98 a yard. Another problem is people bringing in fabric and it's not enough to do the job. While I am in business to make the customer happy, and try to accommodate them as much as possible, I am also in business to make a profit. How many auto repair shops let you bring in your own parts? How many body shops let you bring in your own paint? If something the customer wants you to use makes the job harder to do, they should expect to be charged for it.
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Old 07-20-2011, 03:49 PM
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Our average interior is $10,000-$12,000. High end custom interior work is a tough market to be in. Once you do those high end super detailed jobs, you are stuck! If someone would ask me for an interior around $7500, I would have to cut corners from our "normal" jobs. This is hard to do, once you teach yourself a way to do things, it's hard to change your ways to knock a job out quicker. And in the end, the customer sees all of our 10k-12k interiors and expects the exact same, even though they are paying less. I personally wouldn't ask a shop to lower their prices for a job, I think you would be better off to shop around and find a cheaper shop.
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