Upholstery...the last frontier. The majority of Corvette owners who work on their cars have no aversion to picking up wrenches and performing serious surgery on multi-thousand-dollar motors or life-protecting brakes and suspension. Yet when it comes to upholstery, they usually pass this much cleaner work to others. I admit to being in this group; I've rebuilt or restored just about everything on a Corvette with the notable exception of upholstering seats.
If you want to go boldly where you have not gone before, the following pages will help by detailing step-by-step how to install new seat covers and seat foam. Plus the sidebar will show the new seat upholstery options that are available, enabling Corvette owners to jump in at any comfort level. The seats being upholstered are from a C3 but the process is similar on many model years.
Although doing-it-yourself is within the ability of any reasonably talented wrench-turner, sometimes there are good reasons to send the seats to an experienced and well-supplied Corvette upholsterer. For example, if your seat frames seem weak, they may need welding. Also, if your seats have been poorly repaired or if you have custom upholstery, there may be a number of small parts that are missing or need replacement. You'd have to go chasing around to find them but a Corvette business that does a lot of upholstering will have them on-hand.
Doing-it-myself was surprisingly rewarding. It was good to see how the loops, rods, and links are used to pull the upholstery into tucks and pleats, and it helps to evaluate and appreciate other upholstery. Another surprise was that pulling the links through foam was harder than expected. However, new upholstery options can eliminate that chore, as described in the sidebar.
Not only was the process better than I expected, the end result was too. The new upholstery looks great and it makes the entire car seem fresh and new. Everybody who gets into the car comments on it. The new upholstery is a visual, tactile and olfactory treat. You'll like that new leather smell so much that you'll park the car with the windows up to preserve it for as long as possible.