photos by: the author
A ’69 Camaro’s Upholstery Goes from Ridiculous to Righteous, with the help of CARS Inc. and AntiVenom Performance
It doesn’t take much to make an otherwise nice classic car look absolutely fugly; wheels, paint style, interior materials, stance… single items that can make your car look outdated, unattractive and sometimes embarrassing. This stuff may have looked great back in the day, but 20-30 years later, it just looks ridiculous. The automotive aftermarket has come too far in the last 20 years to let your classic Detroit iron look like a ridiculous automotive caricature.
Recently we were doing a small-block top end kit on a typical ’69 Camaro, and noticed that the otherwise nice looking, driver-quality car had a giant boil on its face… the interior. The Van Nuys-built car left the factory painted Garnet Red with a white interior and white vinyl top, but sometime roughly 20 years ago it was repainted in factory Butternut Yellow and a black vinyl top, installed in place of the white one. Along with a typical set of American Racing Torque Thrust wheels from the outside, it wasn’t a bad looking car but the interior was a tragedy.
The factory white seat covers had been swapped out in favor of bumble bee-looking factory style covers with a bright yellow that didn’t come close to matching the exterior yellow, and a gawdy “69 Camaro” script emblazoned on the headrest covers. At least whoever did it swapped the white door panels for black ones.
The car’s new owner wasn’t thrilled with the interior, but was unsure what exactly to do. The solution to his car’s fugliness was a phone call to the interior craftsmen at CARS Inc. in Rochester Hills, Michigan. CARS Inc. has been in the business of crafting the finest factory correct, high quality interior kits for 40 years. All are made in the USA in CARS Inc.’s Michigan headquarters.
Because of the exterior colors and the owner not wanting to buy new door panels at the time, our interior color choices were limited. A deluxe black interior wouldn’t have looked bad, but the allure and sportiness of factory houndstooth was just irresistible.
If you’re not having an interior shop installing your stuff and the DIY route is preferred, some things you’ll need to have for this job are a pair of dikes, a plentiful supply of hog rings (available at most interior supply stores), a heat gun, hog ring pliers (Eastwood Supply) and some stainless welding wire to use for the bolsters. Depending on the age and condition of your seats, you might want to go ahead and have new seat foam on hand for this job too, along with new seat tracks if yours prove to be rusted and/or damaged.
Patrick Hill has grown up around the automotive aftermarket, and carries a lifelong passion for performance, racing and automotive nostalgia that spans from the Tri-Five era to the current modern performance market.