As a pliable material, seat covers can be more difficult to install in colder climates. That doesn't sound appealing for rustbelters who usually turn wrenches during the winter, but fortunately the fix is simple. "We recommend installing seat covers in a room temperature room, but if the covers are too stiff, letting them sit in the sun for a bit is a simple solution. No excessive heat is necessary, and a household hair dryer is a handy tool for loosening up small sections of stiff upholstery," Tim advises. First-timers may also encounter some wrinkles, which are also easy to remove. "The most effective way in which we prevent wrinkles from forming in the first place is in the design of our foam and upholstery. We pattern all our seat upholstery off our foam to ensure a snug fit. If wrinkling occurs, it's usually the result of the cover not being pulled tight enough. The solution is to simply re-hog ring the cover tighter."
If you think that the bench seat in your muscle car makes it look too much like grandma's car, you're not alone. "Switching over from bench to bucket seats is something that a lot of people do. The biggest hurdle is finding factory bucket seats, or purchasing new ones," Tim explains. "To successfully perform the swap, you need the complete bucket seat assembly as well as the seat tracks, since the tracks don't transfer over from bench seats to buckets. From there, you would have to purchase bench-to-bucket conversion brackets, which are welded onto the floor itself. Although the swap isn't a difficult process, it does require pulling up the carpet and console."
Door Panels and Carpet
Just like the seats, the door panels and carpet in your typical 40-year-old muscle car have probably seen better days. Plus, once the seats are all spruced up they'll look out of place if the rest of the interior is still ratty. The good news is that TMI offers just about every component necessary to completely rehabilitate your Bow Tie's interior. "Currently, we offer door panels for Camaros, and we are in the process of developing door panels for Chevelles as well. We use only the highest quality materials that we can find, and these panels feature beveled pleats that accurately emulate the look of the stock panels" says Tim. "For example, we use an MDF backboard on the panels instead of the cardboard backing used by GM. This helps with water protection. We are also now starting to make the panels out of plastic, which offers even better water protection and long-term durability. Likewise, our carpet kits are all pre-molded and use the factory styles and colors to ensure a correct factory look. We can also produce them in a more modern cut-loop style fabric to help update your interior. Since these carpet kits come pre-molded for the floor, the only thing that you would need to do for a tight fit is to lay the carpet out in the sun for a few hours. This will get the carpet to pop back into shape and be more pliable for ease of installation."
Late-models might be boring, but at least they have a place to put your drinks. Since Starbucks drive-throughs didn't exist in the 1960s, TMI has developed a cool center console for muscle cars with integrated cup holders. "People really like the cup holders in these consoles, but other notable features include matching factory colors, single- or two-tone upholstery, a padded arm rest, deluxe chrome strips, a map pocket, a storage compartment, and even a coin holder," says Tim. "To simplify installation, they attach using a strip of Velcro. This allows leaving all your valuables inside the storage compartment, then locking the entire console in the trunk for protection from burglary while at a show."
Although TMI's seat restoration kits offer an affordable way to transform the factory seats into something much sportier, customers always ask the company if it offers a complete replacement seat. "Based on these inquiries, we saw it as an opportunity to better serve our customers. As such, we have developed an all-new replacement seat that should be unveiled at the 2013 SEMA show by the time you read this," reveals Tim. "These seats will be more of a custom application, but they will still be a complete bolt-in seat that looks at home in your classic. These will come complete with the upholstery, foam, frames, and tracks. They will have plenty of bolstering as well as the ability to recline."