SAVING YOUR ORIGINAL CHEVY INTERIOR
SAVING YOUR ORIGINAL CHEVY INTERIOR
One of the most often asked questions we receive here at Classic Chevys is, "I just purchased a Chevy and the interior is nearly perfect, should I try to keep it original or should I replace it with a new reproduction interior?" The key words here are, "nearly perfect."
When it comes to the interior of your Chevy, there are three things to take into consideration: the first is obvious -rips in material and broken seams, second is the fade factor and last, the hardest to detect, is the possibility of dry rot. With rips in the material or broken seams the decision is an easy one. The last two factors make the decision more difficult.
We often hear the owner say things like, "I only need one bucket seat, the other one is perfect" or "I only need the front bench seat, the back seat is perfect. " The problem here is fade because that single bucket or front bench unit will never match your original faded interior. If any part of your interior needs replacement, this fade factor must be considered! The last factor, dry rot, is the hardest to contend with. The interior is perfect, no rips, very little fade, it's one of those, "It looks like it's never been sat inf" In this case that statement is probably true. Should you choose to save this interior you will have to continue to take very good care of it; the stitches on the seams are nearly 50 years old and the possibility of dry rot has to be considered.
In this article, we'll be showing you just how easy it is to save that original interior. This 1964 Impala interior was so perfect that the decision was made to save it. Other aspects of this Late Great Chevy needed restoration, so to protect our perfect interior we'II be removing it. The following procedures can be used on any year Chevrolet.
Image #1: First we removed the sill plates , which are held in position by five #6 stainless steel screws. The sill plates hold the carpet of your Chevy in place. They also hold down a plastic, or in some years, a metal panel that the tail lamp wiring runs through.
Image #2: Next we removed the front seat belts. They are held to the floor by a chrome 3/4" bolt.
Image #3: Now you will be able to pull the carpet back so that you can remove the front bench seat. The seat is held to the floor pan by 5/16" x 1/2" bolts.
Image #4: We also removed the front kick panels; these are held in place by three #6 screws with trim washers. Note in the photo that fade factor we talked about in the indroduction. As upi can see, the Saddle carpet under the sill plates is much brighter than the rest of the faded carpet. Should we choose to replace this faded carpet, the new reproduction carpet will be much brighter than the rest of the faded onginal interior.
Image #5: The gas pedal must be removed before the front section of the carpet can be removed. The gas pedal is held to the floor by two ball and socket type studs. The gas pedal just pops on these studs. With the pedal removed, the front section of the carpet can come out.
Image #6: The rear seat of the Impala is made up of two pieces and the lower half of the seat is held in place by two hooks under the lower front edge of the seat. To remove this lower section, push down and then back. This action will unhook the lower section and allow the lower seat section to be removed. You will also now be able to remove the rear section of the carpeting.
Image #7: The upper section of the rear seat has two sheet metal bolts at the bottom and hooks at the top. To remove this upper section of the rear seat, first remove the sheet metal bolts and then lift up and pull forward.
Image #8: With the top half of the rear seat removed, you will now be able to remove the filler panels between the seat and the rear quarter panels. These filler panels are held in place by two sheet metal screws.
Image #9: Next, we removed the rear quarter panels; there are two pieces - upper and lower arm rest sections. The lower arm rest section is held in place by two sheet metal screws with trim washers on the front side. To remove the upper section you must first remove the window crank. A window crank removal tool will be needed for this process. With the crank removed, the upper panel will now come off You will find that the windlace of this top panel is stapled to a tack strip. Using a pair of cutters, remove each staple. If you simply pull the windlace off, there is a chance you will damage the tack strip.
Image #10: We now move to the front door panels. The first things to be removed are the arm rests. Each arm rest is held to the front door panels by two #12 sheet metal screws.
Image #11: Using a window crank and I door handle removal tool, remove each I crank and handle. You will find a spring behind each handle and crank. This spring keeps the door panel pushed up tight to the handles and cranks. After the handles and cranks have been removed, move to the bottom of each front door panel, where you will find four #6 sheet metal screws with trim ring washers. Remove these screws. The door panels will now pop off the inner door. The interior of this '64 Impala is now stripped; the only interior item still intact is the "star pattern" headliner. Your next step in preserving this original interior is to make sure it's well protected during the restoration period. Be sure to store in a safe place and cover your seats and make sure your side panels are stored in a flat position. The last thing you need is trying to re-install warped side panel boards. A new reproduction interior is a costly part of any restoration, so if you can save the original, go for it!