Last month we presented the first part of a C5 interior makeover in which we endeavored to turn a Light Pewter Metallic '00 coupe's rather bland, but nearly perfect condition, black standard seat interior into something lighter and more open--something with, well, pizzazz. Our approach was to do something different. No carbon fiber or faux wood overlays on the dash, doors, and console. No white-face gauge cluster. No sheepskin seat covers. Instead, we went with Mid America Designs' new "C5 Hot Seats"--ready-made, tailored two-tone "custom" seat upholstery, crafted in leather and vinyl, just like the factory originals.
MAD offers three styles of C5 seat upholstery; two for Sport Seats and one for the standard seat. There are five available color combinations, two in factory-correct hues (black with either Torch Red or Light Oak) and three custom combos (black with Sebring Silver, Pewter Gray, or Millennium Yellow). MAD offers matching Console Cushions, Wheelskins (steering wheel covers), Door Pulls, and Shift Boots in most of the color combos.
For this C5 interior redecorating project we ordered the "Modified" seat covers (PN 636-050) in black with Pewter Gray inserts, along with a black and Pewter Gray C5 logo Embroidered Console Cushion (PN 636-500), a pair of Pewter Gray Door Handle Accents (PN 636-060), and a black and Pewter Gray Two-Tone Shift Boot (PN 636-071 for automatic transmission). We opted to finish off the interior with a "double emblem" (C5 logo and Corvette script) Lloyd Mats Floor Mats & Cargo Mat Kit (PN 612-311) in Pewter Gray with black emblems.
We recruited the pros at Westminster Auto Upholstery to fit the new covers onto the '00 coupe's (previously) plain black seats and detailed that procedure in last month's installment. Tony at TLC Auto Detailing offered to help out with the balance of the redecorating project--the part we'll get to on these pages. The re-covered seats looked really sharp; they also had an OEM look that left us wondering for a couple days--until we saw a Z06 with the black/red two-tone interior combination and realized that MAD's "Modified" covers for standard seats are the Z06 pattern, as well as using the same perforated (i.e. breathable) leather for the inserts. Dumb us!
The C5's seat conversion turned out quite well. Whether you like it in its entirety or don't is a matter of personal tastes. To us it's a lot like what some of the German manufacturers (like BMW and Porsche) and tuners (like Alpina and b&b) are doing on their higher-end products; it is very distinctive, and with only the seats redone the interior of this particular C5 seemed more open and airy. We really like the Z06 influence on the seats, and a cool aspect of this approach to personalizing a C5 interior is you can make whatever changes suit your tastes--it's not an all-or-nothing proposition.
As for installing the trim parts, the pair of door handle accents went on in just a couple minutes and the console cushion didn't take a lot more time. The shift boot is a real pain in the butt to install, and we'd recommend that you have the upholstery shop fit it while they're re-wrapping the seats. To get an idea of what's involved in just gaining access to the shift boot, look at our C5 Hurst shifter installation article in last November's issue, "Shifty Business, Part II: Hursts So Good."
What really matters is: Do the parts work, and are the results worth the time and money invested? Yes, the parts work. The new items fit quite well and the materials are equal-to-or-better-than what they replace. Our quibbles with the shift boot are not with the part itself but rather the design of the factory component and the hassles necessary in replacing it. There's no way to make a replacement for this rather weirdly designed part simple and easy to install.
The interior of the coupe now has a distinctively custom look that belies both the fairly reasonable cost of the conversion and its readily available (i.e. make a phone call to order; not one-off) nature. And we have succeeded in turning a bland (at least by Corvette standards) interior into one that is truly singular and eye catching.