The years can take their toll on your Corvette’s interior. The seats especially can get, well, the bottom end of the deal. Some generations of Corvettes can be more challenging than others to enter and exit, often requiring some of us to “glide” into our Corvettes by sliding our rears down the back until plopping to rest on the seat bottom. I think owners of C3s and C4s can understand what I’m talking about. In fact, most C4 owners will agree that entry into their Corvettes is pretty much an open the door and fall in situation. We won’t even consider what can happen getting into a Corvette like this with a tool or sharp object in your back pocket.
It is this cruel treatment that can wear down your seats and padding. But with some effort and a few hand tools, the unsightly situation can be remedied. As you will see, our original seats were buckskin colored, but this is part of our Millennium makeover project so these seats will be done in bright red leather from Zip Corvette. Otherwise, this is a standard re-upholstery job for a C3 Corvette.
01: This close-up shows the numerous cracks in our leather upholstery. Our new foam and leather covers come complete with instructions covering removal and installation of the new covers.
02: After unbolting the seats, we removed the hardware, including the seat tracks, the seat back strap from the bottom cushion, and the bumper stops.
03: Once the two side hinges are removed, the back of the seat can be separated from the bottom cushion.
04: Start with the seat bottom by laying the cushion on a flat work surface. Use a screwdriver to remove the clips that retain the covers over the seat frame.
05: Next, remove the hog rings that hold the retaining wire rods to the seat frame. These run perpendicular to the curved frame support wires.
06: Now the bottom frame can be lifted off the seat foam and seat cover. At this time, inspect the frame for cracks.
07: If the rod sleeves are sewn shut, use a razor to open the sleeves and slip the retaining rods all the way through.
08: Lay the new bottom seat cover next to the original seat cover to compare where the wires connect. Be sure to order our seat installation kit – with new hooks, clips, wire rods, and hog rings – so you won’t have to reuse old and often rusty hardware.
09: Here we have the lower seat cover with the retaining wires installed, so we are ready to lay the lower seat foam on top of the cover.
10: Although we can supply a hook installation tool, we forgot to order it so we opted to create one from a metal clothes hanger. Lay the first retaining wire across the foam and use the tool to pull the wire through the foam and hook it to the rod.
11: Here is the bottom cover attached to the foam with the retaining rods hooked up. At this point, the covers are attached to the foam, so it is ready to remount to the frame.
12: Lay the frame into the foam grooves. Until now, the cover has been inside-out. Now pull the sides of the cover around the frame, pushing and pulling firmly to get a good wrap before clipping all the way around.
13: When clipping the sides down, note that you have to roll the side of the cover over to attach the clip. This holds the cover firmly to the frame. If you run into cramped areas, a screwdriver can be used to tuck in something like a stubborn corner.
14: After clipping down the sides, use hog ring pliers to attach hog rings around the retaining rods and frame.
15: Here is how the bottom of the seat should look when it’s finished. If there are any wrinkles on top, you can use a hair dyer to warm the leather as you work them out.
16: Before remounting the hardware on the recovered bottom cushion, we stuck a small but firm wire through the leather and into the mounting holes so we would know where to slice the holes in the leather for the hardware.
17: Start the disassembly of the seat backs the same as the bottom by removing the hardware. Since the recovering is similar to the bottom, we’ll just cover some of the seat back differences.
18: The removal of the seat back foam and covers is basically the same as the bottom. There is a back panel retained by two screws, then it slides toward the top of the seat for removal. Since there are no clips, remove the hog rings from the back. Now the frame can be set aside. Then pull out the retaining rods holding the foam to the covers.
19: There are two pieces of foam that go on each side of the frame.
20: You’ll need to remove the center guide to get to the bolts that hold the outer trim to the back of the seat.
21: Pull the trim loose from the seat frame through the leather cover.
22: To mount the trim on the new covers, center it and push firmly to leave marks in the leather. Then slice each mark with an “X.” This is best done after the covers are mounted to the foam and the foam is attached to the frame. That way, the covers and foam are straight on the frame.
23: After the back foam is attached to the frame, roll the covers over the frame and slip in the small back piece of foam. This will require some tucking with your hand because things will be getting tight now.
24: Now all that is needed is to put the last few hog rings on the back to fold the foam to the frame. Then just slip on the hard covers and the seat backs are done.
25: Here are our seats with their new leather covers. It was a cool day so we still have some wrinkles to remove with a hair drier.
1968-1977 Corvette Seat Cover & Foam Installation: Installing 1968-1977 Corvette Seat Cover & Foam Install
Source: Zip Corvette Parts
8067 Fast Lane | Mechanicsville, VA 23111 | (800) 962-9632
Corvette Parts List Related to Article:
Original Style Vinyl Seat Covers:
- 1968 Seat Covers (Vinyl)
- 1969 Seat Covers (Vinyl)
- 1970-1974 Seat Covers (Vinyl)
- 1975 Seat Covers (Vinyl)
- 1976 Seat Covers (Vinyl)
Original Style Leather Seat Covers:
- 1968 Seat Covers (Leather)
- 1969 Seat Covers (Leather)
- 1970-1971 Seat Covers (Original Style Leather)
- 1972 Seat Covers (Original Style Leather)
- 1973-1974 Seat Covers (Original Style Leather)
- 1975 Seat Covers (Original Style Leather w/Vinyl Skirts)
- 1976-78 Seat Covers (Original Style Leather w/Vinyl Skirts)
100% Leather Seat Covers:
- 1970-71 Seat Covers (100% Leather)
- 1972 Seat Covers (100% Leather)
- 1973-1974 Seat Covers (100% Leather)
- 1975 Seat Covers (100% Leather)
- 1976-1978 Seat Covers (100% Leather)
- 1968-69 Seat Foam Cushion
- 1970-1974 Seat Foam Cushion
- 1975 Seat Foam Cushion
- 1976-1978 Seat Foam Cushion
Seat Cover Installation Kit & Tools: