The 1960s proved to be a defining decade in American automotive history, especially in regards to luxury cars. During that period, rivals Lincoln, Chrysler and Cadillac were in constant competition to see which could manufacture the most opulent cabin. Of course, Cadillac always came out on top. But the rivalry spawned a number of unique interior features. Among them was the Chrysler Imperial Crown’s “Mobile Director” package, which transformed the coupe’s cabin into a mobile conference room.
There’s a lot to love about Goodguys Rod & Custom Associations‘ new article series “Upholstery Tips from the Pros.” The insight it provides is helpful to rookies looking to improve their craft, as well as car enthusiasts who may not fully understand or value what we do.
The “Great Recession” hit the automotive industry hard, and convertible tops were no exception. During that period, which spanned from the late 2000s to early 2010s, so many automakers discontinued their convertible models that industry analysts began to speak of the segment as if it was already dead.
Well, they were wrong. Because as soon as the economy rebounded, so did the demand for drop tops. However, drivers didn’t just want any old vinyl top, they demanded high-quality fabrics in a range of designs and practical functions.
It’s always great when master trimmers offer advice to rookies and the general public, as it helps grow our craft, and establish an understanding and appreciation for what we do.
That’s why we were excited to see that Goodguys Rod & Custom Association recently launched an article series titled “Upholstery Tips from the Pros.” The first installment features M&M Hot Rod Interiors and Ron Mangus Hot Rod Interiors, two auto upholstery shops we’ve written about and admired for a long time.
In June 1960, a man named Wes Jayne in Woodhaven, New York, wrote a letter to Popular Science magazine boasting about how he finally convinced his wife to wear a seat belt. However, his victory wasn’t the result of rational argument or even trickery. It was clever engineering.
What Jayne did is rig his car’s front passenger seat to sound an annoying buzzer and flash a dashboard-mounted light until she strapped herself in — both securing her safety and inadvertently inventing the first seat belt alarm.
Since its debut in 2005, the fifth-generation Ford Mustang has been plagued by falling door panel inserts. While this has resulted in a lot of business for auto upholstery shops, the original vinyl has long been discontinued — making it quite difficult to find an adequate match. Fortunately, Spradling is now reproducing the original vinyl as part of its “Softside” collection.
It’s always fun to read about other auto upholstery shops, especially those that have been around for decades, as their stories provide valuable lessons on how to run a successful and lasting business.
Case in point: Check out the September 2016 issue of The Shop magazine for a profile of TM Custom Auto Trim & Glass Ltd., which was founded nearly 60 years ago in Ontario, Canada, and has since done a fantastic job of adapting to this new digital age.
After decades of ignoring vehicle interiors, automakers are locked in a race to see which can invent and patent the ultimate car seat — and they’re pulling out all the stops. BBC Autos, which recently profiled the rivalry, says marquees have gone beyond the car seat in search of the greatest “seating experience.”