I wanted to restore the car and make it pretty, but keep the original seats because they have the original 101 year old horse hair and leather. I think it wiser and better to remove the seat backs and replace them with new leather. Maybe keep some of the hair for the new seat just to say it is in there and maybe shadow box a 'lock' of the rest.
There was a thread that went something like, 'when is a Model T not a Model T anymore with all the new stuff on it' or 'what constitutes an original model T?'
Some guys like original paint, some need the numbers to match, some are ok with bitsa cars, some with (dare I say) True Fire / coils etc.... and some ............... Just say'n.
New leather is probably a good idea if you're going to use the car. I suspect that 100-year-old leather wouldn't last long in use.
I know what your going through because I feel the same way about my 09. Restore or not Restore that is the question? I think it will always be an original car with new upholstery or without, or new paint or not we just want to preserve the original look,feel,sound for future generations, in seventy five years no one will know if it was restored or original if done like it was in the beginning. Preservation is the important part of caring for our cars and this includes assembling parts from several cars and creating a new piece of living history for future generations, after all the pieces we save came from original cars just maybe not the same one,day,month,year, but still the same model (T).
The picture is of my Great Niece, it is one of her Graduation pictures she took with our 09.
I would try to carefully remove the upholstery so that if someone needs it for a "preservation" they can buy it from you.
Fresh paint and old anything else don't mix. If you've decided to restore the car, do it right.
Thank you for the encouragement guys. Beautiful young lady in the photo!
I felt very proud when I found out that she had ask her grandma if old Uncle Steve would mind letting her use his old Model T for her senior pictures. I agree with you she is a beautiful young lady and she has Great no Fantastic taste in automobiles.
Should you replace the leather be sure to stuff it with horse hair, it is shameful to use foam or cotton padding under leather. It will not look correct or feel correct. This seat I did in my 1912 Torpedo, leather with horse hair.
I think try saving it with some love and care. Joseph Liddie's here make great range of leather preservation & restoration products. I am sure you would have the same in the US but only on a much larger scale. Talk to a saddlery, find out what you can do to make the leather supple. That is if you wish to keep the original trim.
You have a huge decision to make. And one that cannot be undone. Choose wisely...
What a great photo !
Have a happy & safe Thanksgiving ....
If you are going to spend the money to do it, you might as well spend the money to do it right. Paint it the right color, stripe it correctly, and do a correct job on the upholstery.
Find a good upholstery guy who know what and how to do it with leather and horsehair (with painted metal buttons) You have the perfect patterns, and as Royce says, take it out very carefully in case someone else wants it.
Here's mine with leather and horsehair.
Oh, and maybe you had better sit down before you look at the upholstery bid... Just sayin'
: ^ )
That might polish up fairly well. i use a beeswax mixture that works on faded paint too.
If the leather is dry, it is gone, there is nothing that will renew the leather, some oils will make it supple and seem to be like new, but in a short time it will come apart as the oil brings the leather nearly back to life, and that is the same as dead, and it will start to decompose. Waxes work to protect good leather, but they are just a surface treatment to keep leather from getting wet or drying out, even it the leather had been well preserved, it would not stand up to any amount of use. If you want to drive the car, you have to re-upholster it, if you want to preserve it in an original state, then the best option is to house it in a climate controlled place and do nothing to it.
Take it out carefully and give the originals seats and backs to the upholster and tell them to copy it exactly.
I suggested to my upholsterer that I get some new springs but he said the originals were good, so I used them.
Yes, Keith's correct, the painted buttons. Make sure you choose the buttons and the leather otherwise the upholsterer will choose for you and you may not like it and it may not be correct.
DO NOT THROW OUT THE HORSE HAIR, SAVE EVERY BIT!!
I agree with Gustaf. My '13 roadster still has the original leather, and I treated it with preservatives, which gave me hope until I started driving the car. The leather has been deteriating ever since.
Personally I chose to save the leather seats on my 1912.
They were very dry and cracked when touched .
This is the first thing I dismantled in 2010 on the Ford. I have placed on a large plate .
Then I had a " foot oil natural beef " ( The oil is used to maintain the horse seat). I passed on the surface and also inside . It is not easy but with a long brush, it can be done . I spent 8 times oil to cook and let dry at least 2 months between each application of the oil. Now the leather almost found the original flexibility .
Cleaning my nephew
Oil my mother
Then I repaired small tears with a special glue for leather.
Today I painted buttons, and sand leather to spend the next black dye.
I have not finished yet but I think I managed to save the original leather.
It remains only to see the result when the seats are installed in the Ford T.
You have done some great dedicated work Olivier..Mom too!
Robert, My opinion, before you start on your car: I have an all original 13, and all original 25 Coupe and a 14 that looks original. I can tell you I get way more attention from these three cars then I do from my restored ones. Anyone can have a restored car which in their own way is nice. Very few are lucky enough to come up with an original. Most of the time, once the restoration begins, the interior goes, the fenders go, the running boards and aprons and the hood goes, so basically all that you have left that is Model T is the chassis and basic body. As far as the interior holding up, when I use my 13, I cover the seats to keep down any wear and tear getting in and out of it. I also don't put anywhere near the miles on it that I do on my restored T's. It is a piece of history that you don't want to destroy. It is your car, to do as you want but but just remember once you start it can't be undone.
Good luck with your project. I still have my old Issue GI Flight Jacket, sheepskin, couldn't beat it for warmth, you may have seen them in Movies. I still had the pants and boots many years ago, but hunted in them, and they came to pieces, they weren't really designed to be used much outside an airplane. I gave the jacket to a saddle shop about 30 or so years ago to try and fix it up (restore) but it didn't work. I thought I had done a good job through the years oiling it up and etc., but they eventually go the way of all things, me included. It hangs in the closet now, gets drier by the day, nothing I put on it works. It has become a Museum piece, and brings back lots of memories of places and things. I was about a 38L back then, about a 46L now, last time I tried to get into it back in the '60's, I couldn't even get my arm in it.