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TR2/3/3A Best TR3B seats - repair or replacement?

DonP

Member
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The steel seat frames on my 3B are both solid but ... the seat bottoms are totally roached out. Rusted springs, rotted horsehair, ripped upholstery etc.

So my choices are:

1. Buy a complete set of new seat springs from TRF ($$$), plus new padding and seat covers etc. and rebuild them

Or, for about the same kind of money, maybe less ...

2. Buy replacement seats; Miata MX5, Revington, TR Bitz, E-Bay, All Foam/No Springs versions, etc. (All with varying levels of complexity to fit in that skinny little sidescreen body).

(Oh, and I ain't a skinny little guy. On a good day I'm 250#s and not likely to squeeze into a Recaro Rally seat designed for someone with a 32 inch waist without a lot of butter and axle grease in strategic places.)

I'm just doing a daily driver, don't plan on making Pebble Beach this year (or any other year), so adherence to originality isn't all that big a deal and I'm already replacing my brake lights and dash lights with LEDs, plus an eye level brake light strip on my roll bar, sound and heat insulation, etc. Still trying to figure out a practical cruise control set up and I've already added 5.5 inch wires and some other bits and pieces that aren't "original" 3B so ....

In other words, more of a frame on "Resto-Mod" with upgrades, than a Frame off detailed Restoration. Still want that original external look and feel, but maybe a little better driveability for road trips.

Anyone have hands on experience with any of the replacement alternatives or the TRF rebuild materials?
 

Geo Hahn

Yoda
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A third option (what I did) was have a shop rebuild the seat bottoms with modern foam. The foam is fairly solid but possibly with holes in it -- anyway, they did a great job and the resulting seat is the most comfortable of any of my British cars. Perfect ride height for me, no sag yet doesn't look like an overstuffed pillow-top:

seats_zps9c98b383.jpg
 

Vila

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I restored by TR4 with the early TR3 style seats around 2 years ago with all materials from The Roadster Factory.

I went with the red leather and the seats came out looking very nice.

The only item I could not find when I rebuilt them was the wood strips that are on the bottom of the seat back and bottom. Shortly after I finished my rebuild, TRF began selling them.

If you ever decide to sell the car, you will have a larger audience of potential buys if you keep it original looking in my opinion. When I bought my TR4 in 2008 specifically for the purpose of restoring, I avoided all the cars that did not have the original seats.

100_0273.jpg

View attachment 44030
 

Vila

Jedi Hopeful
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I restored by TR4 with the early TR3 style seats around 2 years ago with all materials from The Roadster Factory.

I went with the red leather and the seats came out looking very nice.

The only item I could not find when I rebuilt them was the wood strips that are on the bottom of the seat back and bottom. Shortly after I finished my rebuild, TRF began selling them.

If you ever decide to sell the car, you will have a larger audience of potential buys if you keep it original looking in my opinion. When I bought my TR4 in 2008 specifically for the purpose of restoring, I avoided all the cars that did not have the original seats.



100_0371.jpg
 

CJD

Yoda
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The original seats are way too pricey to rebuild back as original for what you get in the end. Next to the cost of paint, I will be spending the second most money during my restoration on the original seats...WAY more than it should cost for what they are. If originality is not a consideration, then go with a better modern seat. More comfort and less money.

Of course, it will detract when you go to sell the car...so there is that!
 

Lbp

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I bought my seats on eBay from 2talltr3. He makes them both in vinyl and leather. I got the vinyl ones about three years ago for $600 for the pair. I think he may have raised his prices a hundred dollars since then. The seats are great, comfortable, and look original. I don't know if he offers a folding seat back like the original seats. I didn't want it, so mine are both solid backs. I felt my old seat with the folding back moved too much and no one is ever going to need to move the seat back forward to sit in the back seat. If you want to keep your seat frames, I'd check with him to see if he would sell you just the bottom cushions.

Bill
 

glemon

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I kind of agree with everybody, I have about as much or more money, and quite a bit of time in my TR250 seats as I do in the body and paint. The bottoms were rusted out and good frames few and far between, so I did a lot of fiddly fabrication and welding to make them right, then covers and foam. I think the TR3 stuff is even more expensive. That all being said, I think non original seats detract a lot from the value and appearance of the car. Especially in a classic like a TR3 (high back modern seats don't look too out of place in a TR6, but they kind of stick out on a TR3). I would try to keep them Original looking. The foam replacement for the bottoms sounds like a good compromise. Sometimes if you ask around at Club meetings (any make/marque) and such you can find a someone who does upholstery on the side for a lot less than commercial shops.
 
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TexasKnucklehead

Jedi Knight
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I was missing a seat when I got my TR3, so my decision was a little easier. I got a complete set off ebay with new foam, covers etc for about $500. They look a lot like Geo's. But I am 6'1" and couldn't fit in the car with the top up. Any hat blew off with the top down because the top of my forehead was above the windshield. I took the bottom cover off, cut about 4" of foam off the bottom of the seat, and put the cover back on. Being a few inches lower, now I fit, and my hat stays on. The seats look original and are fairly comfortable. I've only driven a few thousand miles in one day, but I doubt any seat will make the TR3 more of a comfortable cruiser.

If you go with modern seats, I'd also look into ones that have speakers in the head rest. I am happy with my modified stock.
 

Popeye

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Sounds like whatever you do, you should keep (what is left of) the originals if/when you decide to sell.

Original seats make the car "look" right, but from a safety and comfort perspective, may not be the right thing.
 

TFB

Jedi Knight
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I bought my seats on eBay from 2talltr3. He makes them both in vinyl and leather. I got the vinyl ones about three years ago for $600 for the pair. I think he may have raised his prices a hundred dollars since then. The seats are great, comfortable, and look original. I don't know if he offers a folding seat back like the original seats. I didn't want it, so mine are both solid backs. I felt my old seat with the folding back moved too much and no one is ever going to need to move the seat back forward to sit in the back seat. If you want to keep your seat frames, I'd check with him to see if he would sell you just the bottom cushions.

Bill

I also went with Ebay seller 2Tall about three years ago.Both seats ,all leather ,for$700 with one folding back.Very nice with heavy gauge steel.But they are not perfect.The rib pattern on the pans are different and the bottom pans were bowed and had to be beat flatter to get the tracks to work right.They came with 2 complete more modern type tracks but I used originals.
At the time to create new seats from Moss or TRF was 2-2.5K plus my labor.
I haven't seen his ad lately so not sure if he is still in business.
Tom
 

Kleykamp

Jedi Trainee
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2nd on 2talltr3. I bought the seat set from him then sold my old frames(which were fair) and recovered about half of what I spent on the new ones. I'm sure he would work with you on recovering the originals and making the foam bottoms for you...which is what I now wish I had done...only from the originality standpoint. Very please with mine. Only issue would be shipping your frames to him would add some to the cost. He goes by 2tallcustoms and is located in Centerville Oh near Columbus.
P.S. Keep the original look, in my opinion. Don't care for the high back seats in a tr3.
 
Last edited:

GTP1960

Jedi Knight
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I also went with Ebay seller 2Tall about three years ago.Both seats ,all leather ,for$700 with one folding back.Very nice with heavy gauge steel.But they are not perfect.The rib pattern on the pans are different and the bottom pans were bowed and had to be beat flatter to get the tracks to work right.They came with 2 complete more modern type tracks but I used originals.
At the time to create new seats from Moss or TRF was 2-2.5K plus my labor.
I haven't seen his ad lately so not sure if he is still in business.
Tom

I recently bought just the pre-cut foam/batting/base boards, from 2Tall & used my original upholstery and frames, which were still in good shape.
both seats, bottoms & backs $135.00. Good fit & feel.
image.jpgimage.jpegimage.jpg
 
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