If you’re a true Corvette enthusiast you gain no greater pleasure than from hopping into your car and heading out on the open road to put down countless miles. As the years pass by your once pristine factory-fresh interior starts to wear, eventually loosing its luster and comfort.
Nowhere is this more evident than with the seats since they suffer the most abuse on a daily basis. Regardless if you’re restoring a bone stock original car to the highest show standards, reviving a barn find or wanting to raise the bar on your daily driver, the team at Corvette America in Reedsville, Pennsylvania, has you covered since they manufacture some of the finest Corvette seat covers in the country today.
Their expertly trained artisans handcraft exact factory reproduction seat covers thanks to decades of research and development to attain the correct fit and color match required to bring your seats back to original standards. If your seats are suffering from extreme wear and tear, sun damage, mold or even mildew it’s time to look into refurbishing them. Getting started is as easy as visiting their website or catalog to determine your two-digit color code for all of your interior needs. There are a number of options available when selecting your seat covers, including fabric choices of vinyl, leather-like, leather/vinyl and 100 percent leather. You can even choose to have the seats custom embroidered with your choice of applicable Corvette logos.
Corvette America offers a seat cover installation service where their experts conduct a full disassembly, evaluation and rebuild of your seats once they are received. The service includes installation of items purchased, which could include seat covers, seat foam and any related hardware. This is a great way to go, especially if you don’t have the opportunity to take on re-covering the seats yourself. If you decide to do the job at your home shop they offer extensive installation videos on their website to help guide you through the entire process. Let’s follow along as Corvette America team member John Conway reupholsters a pair of ’68 C3 Corvette seats to better than new condition. Vette
1. Corvette America supplies everything you need to restore your C3 Corvette seats to factory-fresh condition, starting with seat foam sets featuring the correct density, firmness and shape of the originals. Other available restoration parts include new hooks, clips, wires and corrugated seat wires, all available in kit form.
2. Corvette America manufactures all seat covers right at their facility in Reedsville, Pennsylvania, to the highest standards. Here you can see their exact reproduction 100 percent premium leather seat covers in tobacco, along with new matching seatbacks for the ’68 model.
3. Since they offer a full seat cover installation service all you need to do is ship them your seats and they do the rest. Seat frame reassembly starts with the chrome seatback hinges being remounted to the upper frame section using a Phillips head screwdriver.
4. While wearing suitable eye protection, the seatback latch mechanism was reinstalled with restored hardware using a standard socket wrench on the 5/8- and 3/8-inch bolts.
5. Next, the two release springs were carefully installed back into place. It’s important to open the latch to relieve the tension in order to install the second spring.
6. Here you can see the completely reinstalled seatback latch mechanism ready to action.
7. Starting with the top cover, turn it inside out and place it on a soft, clean surface to protect the leather during assembly. For the first step, use a side cutter to make cuts to the six gray listing points where seat wires will be inserted to add an attaching point for the hog rings. Be sure not to cut the stitching.
8. This image lets you see the sleeves where the seat wires will be inserted to add the attachment points as we move forward with the installation. The wires can be seen adjacent to the sleeves.
9. The seat wires are then fed through the sleeves on the inner seat cover.
10. To hold the seatback cover in place, wire clips are added to anchor the seat wires using a side cutter. Be sure the clips go around the wire in the gray listing.
11. This image lets you see how perfectly the clips are attached to the seatback cover and seat wire.
12. The fresh seatback foam was then aligned and placed atop the seat cover. The seat foam clips were then attached to the three new corrugated wires using the seat cover clip installation tool available from Corvette America. Make sure the cover is centered on the foam once completed.
13. Fit the seatback frame to the seat foam, adjusting it into the channels and trimming it slightly using a razor knife in the headrest area.
14. Fit the seatback frame to the seat foam, adjusting it into the channels and trimming it slightly using a razor knife in the headrest area.
15. Next, remove the seatback foam and cover from the frame to prepare the frame for the headrest foam to be set in place. 3M spray adhesive was then carefully applied to the seat frame and headrest foam.
16. The headrest foam was then held in place to allow the spray adhesive to set.
17. Then the seat cover was carefully rolled over the foam base and pulled to fit.
18. Carefully slide the seatback frame over the seat foam and into the cover while also adjusting the fitment.
19. With the seat frame, foam and cover aligned it was then secured in place using hog ring pliers to secure the hog rings to the corrugated wires and seat frame.
20. The seatback material was then carefully cut to allow the mounting tabs to be exposed, allowing the seatback cover to be installed using fresh hardware.
21. Next, the seatback release bezel and release button were installed into place followed by the seat bottom bumpers.
22. Here you can see the completed top seatback cover installation. At times there may be some minor wrinkles in the leather that need to be corrected.
23. Using a heat gun, carefully warm the leather while following with a damp cloth to gently shrink the leather and work the winkles out. You never want to get the area too hot as this could damage the leather as well as melt or shift the internal cover piping.
24. Perfection. The wrinkles are gone with a minimum of time spent on the adjustment.
25. To prepare the seat bottom for installation to the frame, the cover was turned inside out—similar to what we did with the seatback cover—and placed on a soft surface to protect the leather. The listing points were then cut and seat wires were installed to the sleeves.
26. There are different size wire clips supplied for the seat bottom installation depending on the depth of the seat bottom foam. Be sure to use the correct ones for each area.
27. The seat bottom foam was then aligned with the seat cover and secured using the seat foam clips and three new corrugated wires. The seat cover clip installation tool was used to accomplish this step. Be sure the cover is centered on the foam once completed.
28. Once again, hog ring pliers were used to secure the seat frame, foam and cover together— when aligned—with hog rings to the corrugated wires and seat frame.
29. The unit was then flipped over and the cover was fitted to the seat bottom base.
30. S-clips were then used to secure the cover bottom to the seat frame on the front, back and sides of the cover.
31. This was followed by the reinstallation of the seat bottom catch, bumper and bolt.
32. Finally, the refurbished original seat tracks were bolted back into place on the seat bottom.
33. Nothing makes your C3 Corvette look factory fresh better than a pair of restored 100 percent premium leather seats from Corvette America. They also restored the seat frames and tracks, making everything better than new once again.
Photos by Chuck Vranas