Here's what I did; Front Seat Bottoms - Slip the seat cover bottoms on over the front with the back part flipped inside-out (pic #1). Pull and smooth the cover on snugly - then pinch the rear seams together tightly (so the seams don't tear out) and rotate them back right-side-out and over the rear corners of the seat. Flip the seat over and pull the material up and over the little sharp tabs to hold it in place. Start with the front, then do then sides. You'll need to push down on the seat and springs for the covers to reach. At this point, the rear flap is just hanging there. Insert a metal rod (I used 1/8th") into the material at the arrow(pic #2), and stretch it tight up and over the sharp tabs. Make sure the rod ends up underneath the tabs.(pic #3) The covers I ordered came with nylon string inserted into the channel around the bottoms. Tie one end to the spring frame, then pull the other one tight and tie it off, also. (pic #3) Check the Reassembly section for complete pictures of the interior.
The Front Seat Backs - take your cover (top 70% right-side-out, bottom 30% inside-out) and slip in on - taking care to align the seams up as you pull it down. Once it's pulled down all the way and aligned, pinch the bottom seams together like before and rotate them right-side-out and down over the rest of the seat. I inserted metal rod into both the front and back channels along the bottom of these (pic #2). I'm not sure what happened here......there were no sharp tabs on the seat back support, and there was no evidence of them ever having been there, either. Strange. I can't believe I missed that during the frame restoration...So, we improvise. I simply pulled the covers together tightly over the support bar, and hog ringed them to each other. The rings were closed together over both of the rods - very secure (pic #3). Check the Reassembly section for complete pictures of the interior.
Back Seats ...
Underneath the material on the back of one of the seats (both actually, but one was unreadable) was this label... "Vorderlehne" date stamped JUNI 1963. That would make sense, since the car rolled off the line in July. The literal translation for Vorderlehne is "front leans", and JUNI is German for June. The German word for seats is "sitze", so I'm guessing "lehne" was used to note the seat backs.
I've gone with Wolfsburg West's Tan German square weave. The picture above shows some of the pieces laying inside the car. I was just making sure everything fit before getting out the glue - which will be coming soon. It was a difficult decision for me going with all carpet. I just about went with the original-type rubber floor mat, but thought the added color on the floor would look nice.
Except for behind the rear seat, all the carpet is now installed. I used a little bit of 3M's Multi-purpose Spray Adhesive, but mostly regular contact cement for the job. I used a cheapo paint brush to apply the cement. There are far worse jobs than carpet installation, but it does require some patience and time. The kit I bought from WW was nice. The quality of the carpet is excellent. It didn't fit 100% perfectly like I thought it would, though. I had to do some minor trimming to make it fit to my satisfaction. The only trimming I did was on the skinny pieces that fit over the heater channels toward the back where they fit underneath the metal guide and turned upwards, and the front kick panel pieces in the same place. I did not have upholstery scissors (regular scissors will not do), but a pair of tin snips I had worked super. I elected not to glue the floor carpet down for a couple different reasons... adjusting the shifter or emergency brake would be a problem, and it can also be removed and washed if necessary. It's probably not a big deal either way, but I did use tar board underneath the floor carpet to help insulate the sound and absorb moisture.
Here it is after taking the shine off of the wheel to clean it up...I got the damaged areas routed out, and was just about ready to apply the POR-15 Epoxy putty. Note the high-tech steering wheel mount. Arrows pointing at the damaged areas.
You don't hear too much about door panel installation for some reason. Probably because it's not all that difficult. The panels I ordered from Sewfine were super quality! I installed all the little rubber boots into the holes that accept the door panel clips. Put the clips on the panels first - pic #1 above. Install the arm rest if you have one. Use an exacto-type knife to cut little slits for the splined regulator posts to stick through for the handles. Put a pair of needle nosed pliers in your pocket, and begin putting the panels on the car. You may have to adjust the angle of some of the clips...depending on how much they're tweaked, you can get the panel far enough off horizontally that it won't fit. Just tweak them around with the pliers until the thing is centered - so all the clips reach their little holes. Press firmly over each clip until they snap in. Check the Reassembly section for complete pictures of the interior.
Misc. Interior parts, re-chromed ... Ooooooooohhhhhhhhhhh.
I saved the wooden tack strip and re-used it because it was in fine shape, but it would be easy enough to make a new one if necessary. Use small nails or wood screws to attach it to the rear seat bottom frame - it goes below the flange (pic #1). Put the cover on the seat bottom. I inserted another 1/8th " metal rod into the rear seam of the bottom cover (pic #2). This may have been over-kill, but I felt better about the installation. I hog-ringed through the material, over the rod, and connected it to the frame. That sucker isn't going anywhere. Then I pulled the cover around and stapled it securely to the wood tack strip (#3). Tie off the strings tightly to the frame. Again, like my front seat back support rails, I somehow neglected the tabs on the rear seat back during the frame restoration. This time, some were messed up and some were missing (pic #4).!? So, I stuck rods in each seam, and hog-ringed them together (pic #6) tightly...worked pretty well. Check the Reassembly section for complete pictures of the interior.
Let's see...in order...the front seats as they were when I pulled them out. They both had two sets of covers OVER the original material (2nd pic). The frames were cruddy, that old orange horse hair was all over, and one of the support bars was broken off. However, overall they were OK (pics 3-5). The frames and springs were media blasted, and the support bar was welded back into place (pics 6-8). I then shot them all with black etching primer and painted them Pearl White L87 (next 2 pics). I also lightly sprayed the springs with the good primer to protect them, and attached them back to the frames (last 2 pics). Not one tab broke off. Judging by their condition, I would guess that the springs had never been removed before. So, I'll be ordering the seat padding and material very soon.
Putty applied, dried, and sanded smooooooth. Well, almost finished with the sanding...
First layer of paint.
Steering Wheel ...
More work yet to go...now I know why they get $300 for one of these restored. There's a ton of labor involved and not much material. If I ever do another one it will go a little faster, but still isn't something that you can rush through and have turn out nicely.
Here's a close-up of the same thing. Note: you will save yourself a lot of time by not applying too much putty like I did in the cracks between the hub and the spokes. The putty is really easy to work with - I just got a little carried away in the cracks there. You can see how nicely that putty works, though. It fills the holes perfectly and dries hard, but still sands down nicely.
Well, by the end of this job, I preferred the spray adhesive over the contact cement (although I still used both). It stuck almost immediately, where the cement took a few minutes. I read a "how to" article from an old VW Trends on carpet installation, and they suggested using an iron to help smooth out the wrinkles. I really didn't think that would be necessary, but I was wrong. After getting the first piece of carpet glued on the wheel well hump, I had some serious wrinkles that I couldn't get out with my hands. I had to high-step-it upstairs to the get iron. (the iron trick works for small ripples only - if you've got some all bunched up together, you're in trouble) Be sure to use a damp towel in between the iron and carpet(do not iron directly on the carpet), and use high steam and heat on the iron. Like the other pieces in the kit, there was some trimming involved. Always be careful to make accurate cuts. Even with trimming you can make serious mistakes. You also want to trim the carpet pad pieces accurately. Once you've got it glued down, removing it is really difficult. Besides the trimming, the hardest part about the carpet in this area was getting the wheel well pieces to lay flat. The curve of the hump really makes it difficult. The carpet wants to bend and bunch up on you, so take your time, make sure everything fits up "dry" first, and have that iron standing by.
I got the rear seat belts installed. I connected one end to the hinge bolts of the back seat, and used threaded inserts to install the other ends into those big plug holes in the car, in the center, behind the seat. I had to make small slits into the carpet to get the bolts through.
I added the paperboard backing to the front seat backs, spent some time touching up the paint (since they'd gotten scratched sitting around in my garage for months), and then began the process of putting the padding on. The springs were covered with vinyl - using the famous "Hogring" pliers and clips. Next, the "horsehair" type seat pads (they are actually coconut fiber) were installed over the vinyl and springs. You don't need glue or anything - just shove 'em on. (I bought them from Wolfsburg West - very good quality and a very good fit.) Then, added a layer of cotton over the top of the seat pads. The same 3M spray adhesive that I used on for the carpet installation worked perfectly for this job, too. Adding the cotton really isn't a crucial step...but, I'm glad I did it. VW did it originally for added padding, and to also help ensure a smooth look.
First layer of primer.
Thanks to John Henry's for a nice section dedicated to steering wheel restoration, I feel like I can do this myself. My wheel wasn't in bad shape, but it did need some attention. There were cracks where the hub meets the spokes, and a few misc gouges here and there. I hate to say it so prematurely, but the job doesn't seem too difficult - just time consuming. We'll see how it goes from here.
The wheel was painted with L466 Silver Beige...painted with rattle can enamel I bought from Wolfsburg West. The best choice for a steering wheel would probably be some type of urethane rather than enamel, but this was easiest for me. I also put a clear coat over the paint - thought that would help protect it a bit more. I was pleased with the way it turned out.
These also had two sets of seat covers on them over the originals. The frames and springs were also in good shape.
Again, vinyl between the springs and pads, pads installed, and then the cotton glued to the pads...ready for the covers.