If your Tiger's seats looked anything like mine, a full restoration
is in the cards. There are basically two choices; pay an upholstery shop
a lot of money, or do it yourself. Iíve always been the type to learn
new things whenever I can, especially if it will save money, so here
goes. The primary reason for writing this article is that when I
received all of the parts for the seats from Rick at Sunbeam
Specialties, I was at a loss as to the proper procedure. I checked
around and finally ended-up calling Martha Wheat of Pro Prep Interiors.
If youíve never heard of Martha, sheís the person who has made most of
the interior kits sold by the various Sunbeam suppliers for many years.
Martha also reupholsters seats.
While the vinyl on my seats was not too bad, virtually all of the
other soft parts were a mess. Here are a few of the "before" shots:
My favorite discovery was the homemade seat straps that appear to be
constructed by hand sewing fabric straps to rubber tubing which also
captured a sawed-off nail around which music wire was wrapped in place
of seat hooks. Must have taken forever just to save a couple of dollars
by not buying the inexpensive strap kit.
The first step is to remove the seat slider mechanism. Separate the
seat bottom from the back by removing the large flat head screws. Be
careful as these are easy to break or to round out the slots. An impact
driver may be required to get them loose. At this point remove all of
the brackets, springs, and hardware from the seat halves keeping track
of where everything goes. I find that taking digital photos during the
disassembly can save a lot of guesswork during the reassembly process.
Here are a few shots that may help:
After all of the hardware has been removed you can start stripping
the old vinyl covers, foam, etc. from the frames.
The covers are held on with 24 clips which can be pried off with a
sharp bladed screwdriver. Next, remove the foam cushion which,
depending on condition, may range from a single piece, to a pile of
foam dust. Finally, remove the canvas strap supports by drilling out
the rivets holding the steel straps to the frame. For the seat bottom,
there will be a total of 6 steel straps, 4 to hold the 2 canvas pieces
to the frame, and 2 to provide a place to hook in the rubber straps.