Through the first seven installments of our project series, we've covered project planning, chassis and suspension, engine, drivetrain and brakes, installing C5 seats in a midyear, engine electronics, exhaust and fuel systems, the exterior features of the body and the engine compartment, and air intake and cooling systems. In this finale we will cover the major interior features, including the A/C and audio systems.
We've tried to cover each one in enough detail to give you a good idea of what's involved and the sources we've used. At the very least, we hope it will stimulate some ideas, but the fun part of these projects is coming up with your own ideas to build a car reflecting your tastes and which will achieve your objectives. Since each project is unique, and you're sure to have your own ideas on the approach to take and components to use, we've described the approach we've taken and what has worked for us.
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Overall Design Approach
Our basic approach to the interior was to retain the flavor of the original design while incorporating several modern touches. If we've done our jobs right, the changes will have retained the original styling aspects of a '63 and blend in well enough to appear as something the factory might have done. As with the approach we took with the body, the changes are relatively subtle but distinctive in appearance to enhance what is already there and improve function, appearance, and comfort. Here are the major changes we made to the '63's interior.
Materials And Color Choices
While we've usually used black leather for our interiors in the past, we wanted to use a color combination that would stand out a bit more and have a more modern look. We decided on a two-tone grey leather interior. After learning more about leather than we ever wanted to know, we sourced the leather from Gary's Upholstery in Florida. Their website has quite a bit of information on what to look for when ordering your own leather. They can also send you samples so you can see what color and texture of leather will work best. After deciding what you want, you'll need to decide just how many hides to order. A good upholstery shop can help with that. We ended up ordering nine full hides. It's best to order enough to have all the hides from the same dye lot.
Seats And Seat Belts
We covered the installation of C5 seats in a previous article in the June '07 issue, so we won't go into detail here. While there are a number of aftermarket seats available, many folks prefer to use as many Corvette components as possible when updating their seats. Installing C5 seats is becoming a popular way to upgrade. We found our C5 seats on eBay. The ones we've seen there have ranged from near new to those that require re-upholstering. The ones we found were a little worn but; since we planned to re-upholster them anyway, there was no need to pay the price for perfect seats. (See photo 01: installed seats)
We chose to eliminate the power seat motors in order to lower the seats, which also eliminated about 40 pounds of weight, and simplified the installation. The main installation issues that need to be addressed are seat height, seat rake, mounting, adjustability, and upholstery. The June '07 article went into detail on all those aspects. If you don't have the June '07 issue, you can find it online in the Corvette Fever Tech Articles at: www.corvettefever.com/projectbuild/corp_0706_split_personality_pt4/index.html.