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View Full Version : Leather Seat Kit - Quality Question



Geo Hahn
03-02-2008, 05:25 PM
I have just received the leather seat kit for my TR4 from a major vendor. Concours-correct was important to me as I am reluctantly replacing the original leather which is finally showing its age. I did not go with the cheapest source, in fact I went with one of the priciest expecting they would be among the best and worth the extra cost.

What I got were seats with noticeably uneven pleats on the seat backs and bottoms.

On the LH seat the outermost pleat is 1.75" wide at the top and 1.5" wide at the bottom.

https://www.cybertrails.com/~ahwahnee/LH-Seat-Back2.JPG

Here's a shot comparing the dimension at the top of the pleat to the dimension at the bottom.

https://www.cybertrails.com/~ahwahnee/LH-Seat-Back-Detail2.JPG

On the RH seat the problem is less noticeable as the stitching is at least parallel but the outermost pleat is 1.75" wide throughout its length whereas the other pleats are all 1.5" wide.

https://www.cybertrails.com/~ahwahnee/RH-Seat-Back2.JPG

The seat bottoms are not any better as the pleats there are decidedly inconsistent in their width.

https://www.cybertrails.com/~ahwahnee/Seat%20Bottom2.JPG

My question is this: Are these variances typical for seat kits? I know my TR3 leathers (from another big vendor) look very exact as well as holding up well for the past 15 years.

I do not want to be unrealistically picky but this set looks like something that will bug me for years to come if I go ahead with the installation. Your comments requested. Thanks!

DNK
03-02-2008, 06:19 PM
If you are unhappy by all means tell them and let them know you expect better. If they won't then there are others who will.
That's is what makes our county great.

fad64b
03-02-2008, 06:59 PM
Did you check with an Automobile Upholsterer in your area? I am having my seats redone this week and the prices quoted to me are near the cost of the kits, and all the work is done by a pro..

03-02-2008, 07:19 PM
Geo, I agree with the above post. Why not check out a custom upholstery shop. Years ago, my cousin in southern Cal rode the wave with the "sin bin" trend, that is, he was one of the first and foremost van customizers in SoCal. Written up in many a mag. He used the Mexican upholstery shops to achieve gorgeous results. Apparently those guys were masters at stitching leather and Naugahyde.

03-02-2008, 07:20 PM
10 to 1, those covers were stitched in Taiwan.

Geo Hahn
03-02-2008, 07:35 PM
10 to 1, those covers were stitched in Taiwan.

No, they were 'Made in England' and labeled as such.

03-02-2008, 07:44 PM
10 to 1, those covers were stitched in Taiwan.

No, they were 'Made in England' and labeled as such.

Not doubting you a bit.

An interesting sidebar, in our area there are (were) several underwear factories. They all shut the manufacturing parts down years ago and moved to Central America. The plants still take the finished garments in from the Central American plants and locally they sew the labels in here. The labels say, "Made in the USA." They are correct because the labels themselves are manufactured here in the States.

PeterK
03-02-2008, 08:51 PM
If it is visably off, call the vendor and explain why you picked them to supply the covers then send them back.

When I purchased the covers for my non-concours 3A, I used Moss because they make their own covers on site. Quality and fit is spot on.

Geo Hahn
03-03-2008, 10:50 AM
Thanks. I have emailed the vendor with photos and will follow-up on the phone later today. They do stand behind their stuff though are very slow to refund.

Yes, Goleta is my next stop.

The ones I am returning are touted as Made in England by the vendor so I believe that is the case. Really a shame as the materials appear to be top-drawer stuff and they certainly were pricey -- just poorly stitched making them unsuitable for me.

sail
03-03-2008, 11:11 AM
I just got some made in england from trf for 4a. , haven't had a chance to look closely, I will tonight and post a pict. I hope ok as there is no shop here I would trust and my current sweatshirt covers won't make a very good pattern.

Don Elliott
03-03-2008, 11:27 AM
George - If you're going for concours quality, answer this. Was leather available on TR4s "originally"? Or are your new ones made of vinyl?

When I had all the interior plus carpets made for my TR3A in 1989, the correct red was not available in vinyl. So for $300.00 extra, he made it all in the correct red leather. It still looks like new. I park inside (out of the sunlight) when it's not in use and when I park in the sunshine, I close my tonneau cover. So the colour has not faded as the vinyl did for the original interior.

At TRA, a concours judge once told me, "I have never seen vinyl looking so good and the surface texture is perfect." I didn't tell him it wasn't vinyl. I didn't dare tell him because he would have docked me a point because it was not vinyl. The leather option available from the factory for the TR3As only had leather on the seat cushions and the seat backs. Here I have it all over.

What you see was taken last week with 97,000 miles of use and 17 years since I put it in. The RH seat is out because I just changed the speedo cable.

JFS
03-03-2008, 11:33 AM
I bought leather seats for my TR8 from Rimmer Bros., made in England. They are extremely well made -- the panel backs of other parts from the same interior kit had stickers that were identical to those on the back of the original panels I replaced. I bought these a number of years ago, with free shipping and before the British pound became so expensive -- probably not cost effective today.

Geo Hahn
03-03-2008, 12:12 PM
George - If you're going for concours quality, answer this. Was leather available on TR4s "originally"? Or are your new ones made of vinyl?...

The TR4 has it's original leather interior (also indicated on the build cert). The leather is cracking -- most likely it was allowed to dry out too much in it's history.

Like the originals, the leather kits only use leather on the seat faces, vinyl elsewhere.

Yes, properly maintained leather is nearly immortal -- my TR3As leather (as original) still look good after 16 years of use. The leather on the drivers seat may be a little bit shiny though from miles of polishing by my backside.

sail
03-03-2008, 10:32 PM
here are the covers. the pannels are pretty consistent with the outers slighly narrower than the inside ones which all are just under 1 1/2". both seat pannels slightly narrower than the backs. a couple of puckers which may go away when they take shape. no tag at all, just sl's initials and right and left indicated on the backs.
overall i am happy with them and if you want to stop by they look better in person.

DougF
03-04-2008, 10:21 AM
It almost looks like the last pleat should not have been sewn. There is a major symmetry problem(as it appears in the photo) from side to side. Looking at the picture, the left outer panel looks like it's twice the width of the right at the top.
Unless that is correct for a 4, I would look into a refund or exchange.

Geo Hahn
03-04-2008, 01:22 PM
...There is a major symmetry problem(as it appears in the photo) from side to side. Looking at the picture, the left outer panel looks like it's twice the width of the right at the top. Unless that is correct for a 4...

That aspect is correct. TR4 seats are 'handed' and sort of lean in to fit the space. Looks strange when seen like this but is okay when in the car.

It is just the inconsistency of the pleats' width that is a problem for me.

Geo Hahn
03-04-2008, 02:26 PM
Just heard back from the vendor:

<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Quote:]George,

I have gotten a reply back from the manufacturer in England and they have agreed that the variations in the pleats is greater than should be expected. They are making a new set right away for us and will be shipping it with an upcoming shipment. I expect it will be two or three weeks.

Thank you for the detailed photos that you sent to us. That helps make the case for us.[/QUOTE]

Very fast action on the vendor's and supplier's part and both seem ready to stand behind what they sell. Can't ask for fairer than that.

DNK
03-04-2008, 02:35 PM
"Snaps" for the vender

conan69
03-04-2008, 04:06 PM
Just got a new rack for a MGTD FOR $700.00 that is bent. And in way looks like old one. WOW! Waited seven days for it too!
Send it all back and make them do it right. We pay good money for are parts. They should do there part.