The new covers we got from...
The new covers we got from Corvette Central were exact reproductions and showed excellent workmanship. Since these seats had seen so little use over the years, we elected to re-use the seat spring assemblies, but install a new CC seat foam kit. The new foam would help re-establish the bolsters, providing as much lateral support as these early designs were capable of.
Finally, as detailed in our first installment in this series, the newly resto-modded Vette was presented to Rob at a surprise party attended by all of the "co-conspirators" in the project, along with friends who helped with the original rebuilding of this basket case. CF editor Alan Colvin traveled to Bethlehem, PA for the grand unveiling, and Rob was presented with a custom-made trunk board that included the logos of many of the fine suppliers that made the project a success.
An overhauled Corvette, a great, fun project, a lot learned, and deep friendships enhanced-truly a fairy tale come true.
Don't Do It Yourself
There are many things you can do to your Corvette that are fun and fulfilling and can save you a substantial bundle of shekels. Rebuilding your instruments, however, is not one of them. Other than simple lens replacement, any other gauge repair or restoration should be left to those with the special skills and tools needed to do the job properly. You wouldn't try to fix your own wrist watch-either digital or mechanical-and gauges are similarly complex.
In the course of resto-modding this C1, project manager Bob Yeoman sent the gauge cluster off to Corvette Specialties of Maryland, one of the best known in the art of gauge restoration. For years they've been rebuilding, repairing, and restoring 53-82 Corvette gauges and, in fact, offer a range of services from mechanical repair to full cosmetic and mechanical restoration.
Photos 21 to 39 show the steps they take in restoring a '59 speedometer; tachometer and small gauge restoration is similar. Given that labor to overhaul a C1 speedometer or tachometer starts at just $90.00, and typical bottom line costs average $150-300, you'll see that this is a cost-effective job best left to the pros. And a small gauge overhaul costs even less.
|Difficulty Index - 3 Wrenches|
|Anyone's Project: no tools required||1 Wrench|
|Beginner: basic tools||2 Wrenches|
|Experienced: special tools||3 Wrenches|
|Accomplished: special tools and outside help||4 Wrenches|
|Professionals Only: send this work out||5 Wrenches|
The key to installation of seat covers is the use of "hog ring" pliers and rings that are supplied in the Corvette Central installation kit. Crimping these rings draws the upholstery up tight to the seat frames.
The new seat covers are made with channels that accommodate stiffening rods, about the thickness of welding rods, that you feed through to provide a solid surface to clamp. Crimping the hog rings around these stiffeners distributes the pulling force throughout the seat cover. Without these rods, the hog rings would simply tear through the fabric.