JBugs Video Series

1970 Ghia - Front Seat Installation:

Video Overview:

Now that we have some stock front seats for this 1970 VW Karmann Ghia we can finish up the interior restoration. We begin by removing the original seat covers and padding and showing how the original upholstery was installed. Then, while the paint is drying on the exposed areas on the seat frame, we recover the headrests. Then we wrap the seat springs in burlap, cover them with new seat foam and wrap the seats in some new upholstery to finally finish off the interior on this VW. Follow along as we finish up and say good bye to this beautiful example of an affordable, coach built car.

Intro: 0:00
Front seat disassembly: 0:10
Seat bottom upholstery removal: 0:33
Headrests upholstery removal: 2:25
Seat backrest upholstery removal: 2:59
Headrest upholstery installation: 4:15
Seat pad notes: 6:10
Seat pad installation: 6:35
Seat backrest upholstery installation: 7:08
Headrest installation: 9:10
Seat bottom upholstery installation: 9:52
Front seat reassembly: 10:51

Video Transcript:

0:00 I'm sorry, I've got nothing let's strip down some seats and put on some new upholstery. Front seat disassembly 0:10 After some delay, that unfortunately ruined the first intent of this project, 0:13 we finally received some original seats that we could reupholster and we start by tearing them down to the seat springs. 0:21 The two nuts that hold the backrest in place for the seat bottom are removed 0:25 and then each leg of the backrest is pried off the bottom frame and the back rest is pulled free from the bottom. Seat bottom upholstery removal 0:33 With the seat bottom flipped over, we can see the way the upholstery is held in place to the frame. 0:37 There are metal spikes across the back side, 0:40 at the side the upholstery is sewn to a piece of cardboard and tucked into a slot on the seat frame, 0:46 a drawstring holds the front of the upholstery in place along with more metal spikes at the front of the seat, 0:51 and again we have the tucked upholstery in the seat frame at the opposite side. 0:56 We start by pulling the upholstery out of one side of the frame. 1:00 We cut the drawstring at both sides of the front and then pry back the metal spikes across the front of the frame. 1:07 Once the tabs are straightened out a bit we pull the front of the upholstery up and off the metal spikes, 1:13 the material is pried out of the seam at the other side, 1:17 then we work on bending back the metal spikes across the back of the seat. 1:21 We flip the seat up so we can show the strings that tie the center of the upholstery 1:25 down to the seat frame, for more tucked seat center, before cutting the strings and removing them. 1:33 We go a bit overboard in this tear down and rip the sides and front seam free from the upholstery. 1:38 This is so we can more clearly show how the original upholstery was held in place to the seat frame. 1:44 Pulling up the front corner of the seat material, 1:47 we can see the upholstery is sewn to the pad from front to back at the edges of the heat pleats. 1:53 Pulling the string allows us to peel back the upholstery further 1:56 and we can see the seam and the drawstring that was pulled through to the bottom of the seat frame. 2:02 We continue cutting the strings and peeling back the upholstery to the back flat 2:05 where we can pull and pry the material from the seat frame exposing the metal reinforcement rod 2:11 which we'll remove and set aside for later since it will be reused. 2:15 We remove the material from the seat pad, 2:18 and then remove the seat pad from the seat frame, 2:22 before getting to work on the back rest. Headrests upholstery removal 2:26 Moving to the headrests, there are two dowel pins 2:28 one per headrest leg which must be tapped out 2:31 so that the headrest can be pulled off the seat back. 2:35 Once they're both removed, the headrest is pulled off 2:37 along with both plastic cover tubes, which will be reused, along with the dowel pins. 2:43 The headrest cover is cut along the bottom edge and the material is torn away from the padding. 2:49 The original cardboard strips that held the front rear flaps of the cover to the headrest frame are pushed out of their groove, 2:55 and this headrest is ready to be reupholstered. Seat backrest upholstery removal 2:59 Now we can remove the backrest upholstery which is held in place with five metal spikes across the bottom edge. 3:05 They are pried up, then the front upholstery flap is pulled up and clear the bars 3:10 and reveals a little rat's nest which we quickly dump into the trash. 3:15 On the front of the seat we can see the tucked area like the bottom seat had which we'll have to deal with. 3:20 Back to the front flap of the upholstery we cut the two hog rings, 3:23 one on either side, that hold the front material to the sides of the seat springs. 3:28 Then we peel back the back flap from the seat frame. 3:31 And before we get too far ahead of ourselves, the backrest release knob is popped off followed by its trim bezel, both will be reused. 3:42 We pull the side seam and front material back from the seat to expose the drawstrings for the tucked portion. 3:47 The strings are cut and the material for them in the front is pulled off. 3:53 The backrest board is pulled out of its sewn pocket from the backrest vinyl. 3:58 The backrest vinyl is cut free from the headrest tubes and pulled from the seat frame. 4:04 The remaining strings for the tucked seam are cut away from the seat frame 4:08 and the frame is pulled from the original padding 4:12 and then we can do this all again on the other seat. Headrest upholstery installation 4:15 Now, while some fresh paint is drying on the seat frames, we'll get to work recovering the headrests. 4:21 We checked the width and spacing of the bottom flap where we need to cut two holes for the posts. 4:27 We use the old cover as a reference guide lining up the sewn seams 4:31 and marking the back edges of the holes on the new cover. 4:34 If you don't have the old covers the edges are roughly three quarters of an inch from the seam. 4:40 The cover is set into place, over the posts on the headrests, lining up the marks. 4:46 Then we use a hammer to tap the vinyl over the posts. 4:50 After a few taps we have a cut and scored piece of material that fits over the post. 4:57 The other side is cut the same way, and then we spray the headrest foam with silicone lube to help the new cover slide over the pad. 5:04 Now comes the fun part of carefully stretching and pulling the covers over the headrest 5:09 tucking on one side and then the other back and forth. 5:12 If you're not careful, you might tear a flap like we just did here. 5:17 Fortunately though, the tear is on the edge of the hole and will be tucked under the outer seam and covered by the cover tube. 5:24 We continue pulling the material over the pad until the flaps are clear the bottom of the pad 5:28 and the long flap can be pulled up and over the posts 5:31 It is pulled back and the metal seam for the plastic strips is opened up a bit. 5:37 Then the vinyl on the short flap of the cover is rolled over the plastic strip and tucked into the groove. 5:43 The long flap is pulled back over the metal posts 5:46 and the sides are tucked underneath the edges of the headrest bottom opening. 5:51 The plastic strip is tucked under the vinyl and then into the groove in the headrest all the way across the bottom 5:56 and the flap that we tore is tucked into the side to finish off the installation, no worse for the tear. 6:03 The opposite side headrest cover is installed, with a little more caution, and then we get to work on the seat frames. 6:09 We test fit the new seat foam which is all high density foam not coconut husks. Seat pad notes 6:14 We know people swear by the look feel and even the smell of their incorrectly named horsehair pads. 6:20 The few times we have used it though we've ended up vacuuming that up from our interior days later 6:25 before swapping out to foam. 6:27 Oh and the interior smell wasn't any different when we swapped out the coconut pads for the foam. 6:33 With the padding fit confirmed we lay some burlap over the seat springs to keep the springs from cutting into the padding. Seat pad installation 6:39 We trim it to overlap the perimeter of the seat springs and then attach the burlap to the frames using hog rings. 6:46 Once the backrest springs are covered as well we can now set the pad in place over the springs and the headrest posts. 6:53 We test fit the original seat back board and then check the new upholstery backrest piece. 6:59 It doesn't have a separate pocket for the board like the old upholstery did, 7:02 so we'll just slide it into place once we get the upholstery pulled over the seat. 7:07 Which we'll get started on now. Seat backrest upholstery installation 7:09 Sliding [on] the upholstery, pulling down either side a little bit at a time, 7:13 until the upholstery is just above the rear backrest bar. 7:17 The backrest board is slid into the back of the seat frame 7:21 then we flip the seat over so we can cut the holes for the headrest posts. 7:25 We centered the upholstery over the two headrest posts 7:28 and verify on the uncovered seat that the posts sit in the middle of the top of the frame. 7:33 Now the fun part. [Again?] 7:35 We've verified that the upholstery is centered front to back and side to side. 7:39 Then using the same technique we used on the headrests, 7:43 we tap the seat upholstery vinyl over the posts with a hammer to cut the two holes into the top of the upholstery. 7:51 With the holes cut, we can continue working the upholstery from the top of the seat to the bottom. 7:55 Stretching and pulling the material down the seat frame, 7:59 until the bottom flaps can be pulled to the bottom crossbar. 8:03 Since our original seats only had one reinforcement metal bar, and the new upholstery needs two, 8:09 we cut down a metal headliner bow to length. 8:12 And then cut a small slice in the side seam of the seat back material and slide the rod into the seam. 8:18 The back seat material, with the rod in place, is pulled down to the lower crossbar 8:23 and with the upholstery centered on the frame we line up the seam over the middle spike 8:29 and using the help of a screwdriver poke a hole so the spike sticks through. 8:35 We work from the center out and once all five spikes are poked through the backrest flap 8:40 we feed another metal bow through the seam at the bottom of the front seat material. 8:44 To save some work later, the excess foam at the bottom corners of the seat backrest are cut to 8:49 match the angle of the seat frame and then the material is pulled back to the center metal spike. 8:55 We make sure the upholstery is centered and then pull the material over the remaining spikes. 9:01 We use a hammer to tap the spikes through the upholstery 9:05 and then towards the back of the seat frame to keep the upholstery in place. Headrest installation 9:10 Now, we can get the headrest back in place 9:12 so the plastic covers are set over the posts, with the angled portion sitting at the seat, 9:18 and the headrest is set onto the posts and slap down 9:23 before the dowel pins are set in place and tap flush with a hammer. 9:29 The original backrest release lever and its cover plate go in next. 9:33 So we feel along the side of the seat for the bracket inside the seat 9:37 and cut a slot in the side of the backrest. 9:40 The original plastic guide is snapped into the seat back followed by the seat release 9:44 knob with clip inside which is tapped over the lever before we test it it operates smoothly. Seat bottom upholstery installation 9:52 Next up, we'll get to work on the seat bottom and set the foam pad in place 9:56 and follow it with the seat bottom upholstery working it over the foam and seat springs. 10:01 The original reinforcement rod is slid into the seam at the back of the seat 10:05 and the back flap is pulled up and over the spikes across the bottom back of the seat. 10:11 A pair of pliers helps the spikes to poke through the upholstery 10:16 and then we move to the front of the seat. 10:19 The upholstery seam is pulled up over the seat frame and set over the two spikes at the front there. 10:25 Then we work to the side of the seat pulling a seam over the spikes as we work towards the plastic strip at the side. 10:32 The plastic strip is pulled up rolled over and tucked into the seam along the side of the seat frame. 10:38 A screwdriver helps to set the plastic strip in place. 10:42 We work the upholstery in place along the opposite side and here we can get a closer shot of how the plastic strip installs. Front seat reassembly 10:51 With the upholsteries now stretched over the frame all the way around 10:54 we gently use a hammer of the seat backrest post to poke a hole at either side. 10:59 Use caution as the seat posts have threaded ends and you don't want to damage the threads. 11:06 We finish off the upholstery by tying off the drawstring for the front of the upholstery at one side, 11:11 pulling it tight at the other side, and then tying it off to the seat frame. 11:17 The excess string is cut off, the metal spikes are all tapped down, 11:22 and we can install the seat backrest to the bottom. 11:25 The backrest legs are set over the posts, tapped into place, and then held in with the original hardware. 11:34 One last step we'll take is to use a hog ring at the front backrest upholstery material at either side 11:39 to secure the long flap from the front to the seat springs at the sides of the seat. 11:45 With the seat done, we'll install it into the car 11:48 with the side closest to the tunnel first as a seat rail there sits further forward. 11:54 The seat is slid back and over the outer rail and all the way back into place. 12:00 We take a seat, slide the seat back and forth, and then we get to do the whole process again on the driver's seat. 12:09 Once it is done we can install it and finally wrap up the air interior installation on this Karmann Ghia. 12:16 The new interior has really brightened up and brought a more vintage look and feel to the car. 12:20 We hope you've enjoyed this series thanks for watching and let us know 12:24 if you have any questions in the comments below.