Tuesday, September 7, 2010

The Drivers Seat

Well, my personal goal of having the spitfire ready for the road by my birthday has come... and passed unfulfilled. Well, it was an ambitious goal to begin with. Though I do see the project time-line slipping with all the Summertime heat, I just can't get myself to working on it. I have to kick the funk off and get working...
Drivers Seat
One of the first items I will need to put back into the car to get things moving will be the drivers seat and boy does it need the work. Looking at the above picture, the seat looks really to be in pretty good shape. The foam seem quite acceptable, not dry-rotted and still providing plenty of support. The vinyl is relatively OK, a few scrapes, and a mild deformation of a burn, but considering the relative obscurity of the seats for a '69 I'm pretty happy with the way they look. The original interior of the car was tan so I'm not sure if they are recovered (likely) or replacement seats to match the now black interior. Now for the parts you can't see very easily.

Carefully looking at the above picture shows a little too much of a slant to the left. This is because the hinge pin is sheared. Looking at the pin itself, it's rusty but not a rust issue. I have no clue the amount of force necessary to shear this but I'm assuming it was a lot.
Sheared Pin
I spent a good 2 hours on that @$&!#ing pin. It resisted being punched out, it resisted a hacksaw to try and cut the heads off, it generally really was meant to stay in there and it sure tried it's best. I eventually got a rotary tool and a cutoff wheel and simply ground it out. The pin itself was re-drilled to accept a bolt and it was carefully repaired. The nut used only would go so far and left the bolt the ability to move, yet the nut was tight. It's not perfect, it's not original, but darn it it's functional and will be hidden from sight.

The next "issue" leads me to believe that the seats were recovered at some point in their life. Some PO (Prior Owner) had placed a sheet of metal under the seat. This work was definately not performed by British automakers. It literally looks like someone took a blowtorch and burned through to cut the metal to shape. Nothing was done to protect the metal from rusting and, oh, did it rust.

Seat Plate

I removed the offending plate and gave it to my father to use as a pattern. We had somewhat of a misunderstanding as he thought I wanted the plate refinished and was questioning my sanity! Thinking about it I never really said I wanted a Stainless plate made and just assumed that the shear offensiveness of the plate would be self-explanatory. Anyway, my dad produced this piece of loveliness in Stainless. I'm sorta disappointed that the piece will never be seen, but happy that the piece will never again become a rusting pile of ,err public forum, uhhh rust!

Replacement Seat Plate

Back Panel

The back panel was made from thin fiberboard. It needed replacement as it was warped out of shape, had mild water damage and was obviously not original as the screw holes weren't very well placed. I cut a replacement piece out of fiberboard from Home Depot. It's a little thicker that it was before but it should hold up better. I covered it with vinyl my wife bought me and, for my first upholstery job, I think it will do.

On beginning the work on the passenger seat I quickly noticed that I had no foam in the one from the drivers seat but the passengers seat had a thin foam under it. I plan to remake this side too, so I will make a matching no foam one and call it OK.

Drivers Seat

After repairing, cleaning the seat and conditioning the vinyl it looks pretty serviceable! I hope to soon be able to place the seat into the car, but the road to that point is long and hard.

Restoration work for a hobby should not be to a timetable, though to some point you have to set goals, lest it fade to a pile of parts that never get completed. I've seen so many advertisements for "everything is apart" project cars being sold off before completion. I simply refuse to give up!

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