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Interior work decision



I'm looking for a little advice from anyone and everyone that has had experience with restoring their vette's interior (or having it restored for them). My '76 has a fairly beat interior and I'm trying to decide between attempting to replace everything with restoration parts or having a custom interior designed and completed for me. Any and all advice is welcomed.
Hi George,

Welcome to the Corvette Action Center.

It kind of depends upon what you want to do with the car in the future. If you want to keep the value of the car up and originality is important to you, I would use NOS restoration parts.

If originality and higher resale value is not an issue and you prefer a more, personal interior that would be suitable for you, then you should go ahead and use customized parts.

It really depends upon what your priorities are for the car and what important to you. Let's see what others have to say. I'm sure Tom will chime in here somewhere. :) Check out his Frame Off Column here in the forums if you haven't already done so.
similar advice

I'd think if the vette were mostly original, it would be best to keep it as original as possible.
BUT, if originality is not an issue, take the custom route.
Either way, you'll be happy with a new interior!
Same advice as the others
I prefer an original Vette, but its up to what you want to achieve and be comfortable driving in.
Think it out thoroughly, because once you make your decision, it is costly to reverse it.
Also consider the resale value of the vehicle and the time it can sometimes take to sell if it has a customized interior.
Interior, custom vs. stock


I've replaced my entire interior once already, and I'm going to do it again this summer.

When it comes to resale, experts have been saying the line between stock and custom has been has been drawing closer together over the past few years, as long as the CUSTOM isn't over the top, more subtle if you will, resale shouldn't be an issue unless you have that overly RARE (no miles) Corvette.

As for the customizing:
I've replaced the seat covers with new leather ones, WITH embroidered Corvette Flags on the head rest.
Cut the center console to updated the sound system, with CD player and non-stock speakers and amp.
Painted (dyed) all the interior plastic
Added wood grain inserts to the dash (switching to Stainless Steel soon)
Stainless Steel shift knob
New carpet (used a house carpet for a more plush, softer look)
Etc, etc, etc ........

The trick to this is, if it's a UPGRADE, do what you want, but be able (leave the option) to reverse the customizing.

IMHO, original C3 interiors look hard and uncomfortable.

P.S. Everytime I'm at a show, you wouldn't believe how other C3 owners stare inside my ride studying the interior, one gentleman actually started writing things down, drawing little pictures.

I don't call it customized, I call it updated.

Thanks everyone. I'd love to hear from others - especially those with first-hand experience with the heiny-pain involved with interior restoration. I'd rather do engine or body work any day of the week! Craig - the updating you've done to your interior, for example the wood inserts (by the way, I think I'm with you on the stainless steel - post some pics of that if you can - sounds awesome!) - to what extent did you go to add that - i.e. did you do it yourself in an afternoon or did it require a professional (if that's not your profession, that is)? It seems to me that restoration parts from Mid America, Zip and the like are pretty pricey, particularly when compared to Mustang or Camaro restoration parts. I realize the Vette is of different calibre, but, if I'm going to spend the money, I think I'd prefer some nice sparco milano seats covered in soft leather to the stock seats, which don't feel or look, for that matter, all that comfortable. Again, I'm new doing interior work on classics, and I wanted to get some ideas and perhaps a bit of a cost comparison. Thanks again to everyone for their time and input!
USA - Interior work

When I decided to update my interior it basically came down to money for me. With the starting point of the basic "interior kit" sold by the vendors, i/e: Carpet, Seat Covers, door panels starting at $1000.00 and up, I knew the bride wouldn't fly with it.

I needed everything too, seats, carpet and panels.

I started out slow, replacing the carpet first, don't think you can't do this, it's easy - the pattern is already there. Take one piece out at a time, trace the pattern on the new stuff - and cut.
Glue back in with 3M adhesive. Took about a weekend.

The door panels needed some Vinyl fix kit I got from Wal-mart, and then painted them.

The seat covers I ordered a year later, I had a local sew-lady install them.

The inserts I ordered are just self-adhesive one you can order for the vendors.

In short, If I can do interior work, I believe anyone can, it just takes time, money and patience.

Good Luck
Good info

Thanks, Craig - I hadn't considered using carpet that wasn't part of a carpet kit. Now that you mention it, it doesn't sound all that difficult. As far as the rest - unfortunately, the door panels, dash pad, dash panels, console, and just about every other trim piece were originally brown (g'hed...ask me how I know!). I've never even heard of having this done, but every trim piece has been covered with pieces of black vinyl. These pieces apparently came in a kit as they're shaped perfectly, only they don't fit perfectly. Adjoining pieces are crowded and some edges are peeling off. The console is in horrible shape and the center bezel cluster is cracked in half horizontally. I fear that I'll be replacing nearly everything. Slowly but surely...
USA - Interior Work

USA - I'd thought I'd drop you a note regarding my interior.

I'M DONE!!! :cool

Just kidding, I know how frustrating it is.
I was looking over this post and I realized I might have some other tips for you.

Seats: Your 76 seats are those small thin style, have you looked at the 78 - 82 seats. Much nicer looking, but worth it.
Your seats will be the most expensive part of this, so look around, try e-bay, maybe with new imitation leather covers (under $200.00) you'll get lucky.

DASH/ DOOR PANELS: Depending on how bad the cracks are, before you buy new, try a (Wal-Mart, K-Mart) Vinyl Repair kit, you'll be suprised how well this stuff works.

INTERIOR DYE: You can get this at places such as, PEP BOYS, AUTOZONE etc. USE the SPRAY CAN, NOT the quarts.
All the prep work was in the taping. Completed it took me about 16 total hours, six cans at $4.99 each.
I'm still in shock how good this stuff is. My interior looks brand new. I went from a rust color to black, NO COMPLAINTS.

In short, what I've learned is.....
If it's not a particular custom part,
and the Vette Vendors sell it , look elsewhere,
"It's closer to home and cheaper than you think."

P.S. I would post some pic's, but I spent the money for a digital camera on the interior of the Vette. :L

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