Upholsterey XVIII

Upholstery XVIII: Covering the Rear Seats

I continued the creation of a second foam cushion to replace the dry rotted cushion you see here. Once I was happy with the one I made last week, I could feel better about destroying the last example of what the original cushions should look like.

Before I tore into the cushion, I found this logo molded into the foam. You can just make out the Pirelli logo on the right. Wouldn’t it be cool if somewhere in a warehouse in Italy lay the original molds to these cushions!

Another interesting discovery was under the seat pans. The Pininfarina build number on this seat pan is not correct for my car! All the parts of a Pininfarina built car has stamped or written an internal Pininfarina number. Just like Ferrari used serial numbers to track the number of cars built, Pininfarina used a numbering system to keep track of the number of bodies built. Correlating these numbers, since they were usually sequential in batches of models, helps to research the authenticity of a car. If a jumble of Pininfarina body numbers show up on a car, one would want to do some research before assuming it is an original car.

My PF number is 682, and it is burned in my brain just like #5053, my 330 America’s Ferrari Serial number. Most Ferrari owners can rattle off their serial number(s) like their telephone number to anyone who asks. Thankfully, I own an old Ferrari so the number is only four digits long. I wonder if Maranello owners can remember their SNs?

I’ve seen “682” written and stamped everywhere on my car, so I was bit surprised to see “679” on these seat pans. I double checked the other one, and found the “incorrect” number for my car. What did this mean? I’ve concluded that since these seat pans had the same color leather as the rest of the car that had “682” on their parts, it was a mistake made at the Pininfarina factory. Somebody probably grabbed the wrong pans and installed them on my car.

Just out of curiosity, and with nothing better to do, I looked up which car was supposed to get “679’s” seat pans, and it turns out I knew the car! SN 5047 should have gotten my seat pans, three cars before mine.

Almost two years ago, I saw #5047 in a shop in Connecticut. Jerry Curtis was selling the shell because he bought it without a drivetrain or suspension. It finally shipped to England in the Fall of ’02. If I had known then what I learned today, I would have checked to see which seats that car had, but this car is probably long been dismantled. sniff, sniff…

After I made the foam seat cushions, I was ready to cover them with leather. Frank told me to use a hole punch at the end of my “pie cuts” to keep the leather from tearing when it is stretched. A good tip, but one I’m not sure if I was supposed to share with the world!

One seat pan was completed. It looks pretty good considering I had to make the cushion from scratch! If you look at the top picture of this journal entry, you can see a brown glue spread out over the original cushion. This glue kept the leather in place and gave these seats a nice indent, but Frank didn’t think it was necessary to use so much glue. Firmly fixing the whole leather panel to the foam makes the leather stiff, and unnatural. According to Frank, leather slides, stretches and shrinks and needs a certain amount of movement to what it wants to do. With his experience, he showed me a way to firmly attach the leather to the foam without using so much glue, and from the looks of it, it works well!

Next time, it will be to cover the second seat cushion!

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