Interesting seat detail

For those who obsess about exactly how their 356 left the factory!
Message
Author
User avatar
Joris Koning
356 Fan
Posts: 2442
Joined: Tue Mar 25, 2008 5:34 pm

Interesting seat detail

#1 Post by Joris Koning » Mon Feb 07, 2022 11:32 am

Over the years looking at original seats a distinct detail has stood out for me. When looking at the backrest of original seats a distinct horizontal line running the complete width of the seat can be seen. It runs about 4-5"from the top of the backrest. As far as I know there is no element in the frame that would push through etc. to form this line. Anybody have any idea what would have cause it?

Another thing I have noticed is that the part of the backrest above the line sometimes is more "bulbulous" when looking at the side profile

Attached some pictures of this detail on unrestored cars
Attachments
29-06-07 085.jpg
29-06-07 085.jpg (438.93 KiB) Viewed 957 times
DSC_0029.jpg
DSC_0029.jpg (1.27 MiB) Viewed 957 times
'56 Coupe
'57 Coupe
'59 Cab 
'60 Coupe

Jan Kolm
356 Fan
Posts: 573
Joined: Wed Mar 26, 2008 1:35 am
Location: Colorado

Re: Interesting seat detail

#2 Post by Jan Kolm » Mon Feb 07, 2022 5:58 pm

I have a pair of original T5 seats that only had a headrest installed on the passenger side and can check (not today) whether this line aligns with the headrest mounting holes in the seat frame.
Jan Kolm
356 Registry #1066
1960 1600N Coupe

Rick Woltz
356 Fan
Posts: 88
Joined: Wed Mar 26, 2008 12:51 am
Tag: Kailua, Hawaii
Location: Kailua, Hawaii

Re: Interesting seat detail

#3 Post by Rick Woltz » Tue Feb 08, 2022 3:27 am

There is a sock that goes over the seat frame that is open on the back. It is held together with some clips on the ends of rubber straps like bungee cords that make the center part springy. The fasteners start showing after may years

User avatar
Alan Hall
356 Fan
Posts: 1347
Joined: Wed Mar 26, 2008 12:06 pm
Location: Orinda, CA

Re: Interesting seat detail

#4 Post by Alan Hall » Tue Feb 08, 2022 3:27 pm

I have a pair of original, but totally worn out, seats from a conv. D. I do see some similar lines, but don't know if from storage or were there before storage. I can't feel anything up under the vinyl that would cause a line. Attached some photos. One of interest is the last 3 digits of the chassis number and a "D" in crayon under the boomerang hinge.
Attachments
DSCN0201.JPG
DSCN0201.JPG (383.18 KiB) Viewed 847 times
DSCN0200.JPG
DSCN0200.JPG (405.59 KiB) Viewed 847 times
DSCN0203.JPG
DSCN0203.JPG (393.89 KiB) Viewed 847 times
DSCN0206.JPG
DSCN0206.JPG (388.63 KiB) Viewed 847 times
DSCN0205.JPG
DSCN0205.JPG (356.25 KiB) Viewed 847 times

User avatar
Joris Koning
356 Fan
Posts: 2442
Joined: Tue Mar 25, 2008 5:34 pm

Re: Interesting seat detail

#5 Post by Joris Koning » Tue Feb 08, 2022 4:19 pm

Hi Alan,

Thanks for taking the time to dig out those seats and interesting detail on the vin! Looks like your seats indeed also have the line. I have really been mesmerized by these. As you point out it does not appear that there is a something in the construction of the seat that explains there presence.

ON a related note, a period picture showing the bulbous top of the back rest
Attachments
05_Sitzproduktion-ZH-ca-1960_08.jpg
05_Sitzproduktion-ZH-ca-1960_08.jpg (134.47 KiB) Viewed 838 times
'56 Coupe
'57 Coupe
'59 Cab 
'60 Coupe

User avatar
Martin Benade
356 Fan
Posts: 8907
Joined: Wed Nov 23, 2011 10:52 am
Location: Cleveland, Ohio

Re: Interesting seat detail

#6 Post by Martin Benade » Tue Feb 08, 2022 6:20 pm

I’ve heard that lately everyone over accentuates the cushion pleat. That one in the picture looks very deep and distinct.
Cleveland Ohio
62 Cabriolet
56 VW
02 IS 300
04 Sienna

User avatar
Joris Koning
356 Fan
Posts: 2442
Joined: Tue Mar 25, 2008 5:34 pm

Re: Interesting seat detail

#7 Post by Joris Koning » Thu Feb 10, 2022 5:15 pm

Jan Kolm wrote:
Mon Feb 07, 2022 5:58 pm
I have a pair of original T5 seats that only had a headrest installed on the passenger side and can check (not today) whether this line aligns with the headrest mounting holes in the seat frame.
Hi Jan,

The lines I have seen are positioned below the headrest mounting holes. Curious about your seat.

Joris
'56 Coupe
'57 Coupe
'59 Cab 
'60 Coupe

User avatar
Joris Koning
356 Fan
Posts: 2442
Joined: Tue Mar 25, 2008 5:34 pm

Re: Interesting seat detail

#8 Post by Joris Koning » Sat Feb 12, 2022 1:34 pm

I cross posted about this on the early s board and some people jumped in.

https://www.early911sregistry.org/forum ... seat-backs

The "line" is probably the result of the jig? used to tightly hold the vinyl down while the formed and glued it around the coco hair that wraps over the top of the back rest.

James Davies sent me a period picture that very clearly shows the "bulb". Also note all the subtle contours that are pretty much always lost upon re-upholstery
Attachments
HNE 2091.jpg
HNE 2091.jpg (290.57 KiB) Viewed 713 times
'56 Coupe
'57 Coupe
'59 Cab 
'60 Coupe

Rainer Cooney
356 Fan
Posts: 679
Joined: Thu May 08, 2008 7:07 am

Re: Interesting seat detail

#9 Post by Rainer Cooney » Sat Feb 12, 2022 7:03 pm

Joris, In all the original seats I've had apart there's foam on the top 3-4 inches of the seat back. This probably won't explain the "line' but would contribute to the protruding of the vinyl in this area. By the time I got around to redoing these seats the foam was nothing but dust on most of them.

Jan Kolm
356 Fan
Posts: 573
Joined: Wed Mar 26, 2008 1:35 am
Location: Colorado

Re: Interesting seat detail

#10 Post by Jan Kolm » Mon Feb 14, 2022 5:31 am

P1010051.JPG
'61 seat w/headrest mounts
P1010051.JPG (205.19 KiB) Viewed 655 times
Joris Koning wrote:
Thu Feb 10, 2022 5:15 pm
Jan Kolm wrote:
Mon Feb 07, 2022 5:58 pm
I have a pair of original T5 seats that only had a headrest installed on the passenger side and can check (not today) whether this line aligns with the headrest mounting holes in the seat frame.
Hi Jan,

The lines I have seen are positioned below the headrest mounting holes. Curious about your seat.

Joris
Here is a photo of my late '61 passenger seatback w/headrest mounts. The line is clearly visible below.
Jan Kolm
356 Registry #1066
1960 1600N Coupe

User avatar
Joris Koning
356 Fan
Posts: 2442
Joined: Tue Mar 25, 2008 5:34 pm

Re: Interesting seat detail

#11 Post by Joris Koning » Mon Feb 14, 2022 9:44 am

Hi Jan,

Thanks for sharing!

I think we can start drawing some conclusions.

As stated earlier all factory seats (aside from early seats, speedster and GT) had the "bulb" at the top part of the headrest. This was likely there as some sort of protection for rear passengers. The "bulb" is formed by the coco hair wrapping around the frame in this area and the factory using foam and/or cotton "watting" etc. to cover the coco hair to prevent witness marks of the coco hair appearing over time (common practice). To ensure a sharp contour the back vinyl was glue to the burlap probably under some sort of pressure to stretch the vinyl. This jig used for this is what pressed the "line" in the backrest.
'56 Coupe
'57 Coupe
'59 Cab 
'60 Coupe

User avatar
James Davies
356Talk Moderator
Posts: 2733
Joined: Thu Aug 15, 2013 9:15 am
Location: Heidelberg, DE

Re: Interesting seat detail

#12 Post by James Davies » Mon Feb 14, 2022 11:00 am

Rainer, it's probably similar foam to what Reutter used on pre-As under the carpet on the longitudinals and tunnel and inside the monkey motion quarter-dome cover. And yeah, that stuff turns to dust. Not surprised it turns to dust on the seats and the "bulb" is lost.

User avatar
Paul Hatfield
356 Registry Member
Posts: 1155
Joined: Tue Mar 25, 2008 5:46 pm
Location: Washington State
Contact:

Re: Interesting seat detail

#13 Post by Paul Hatfield » Mon Feb 14, 2022 11:14 am

Martin-
Regarding the pleat-
I think today, most are striving for the pleat shown in the black and white photo. There are other photos of cars taken during the period that seem to show this more loose pleat.
Attachments
HNE 2091.jpg
HNE 2091.jpg (290.57 KiB) Viewed 632 times
Paul Hatfield
"Miss April"
http://www.enginesinback.com

User avatar
Joris Koning
356 Fan
Posts: 2442
Joined: Tue Mar 25, 2008 5:34 pm

Re: Interesting seat detail

#14 Post by Joris Koning » Mon Feb 14, 2022 11:30 am

I think the sad reality is that pretty much nobody out there does a correct job on the seats. The overstuffed, foam filled arrow straight plead seats championed by most shops for decades have become the norm of what is correct.
'56 Coupe
'57 Coupe
'59 Cab 
'60 Coupe

User avatar
Paul Hatfield
356 Registry Member
Posts: 1155
Joined: Tue Mar 25, 2008 5:46 pm
Location: Washington State
Contact:

Re: Interesting seat detail

#15 Post by Paul Hatfield » Mon Feb 14, 2022 11:54 am

I had the Fawn interior for my car done a couple of years ago by K&H in Los Angeles. I live in Washington state, so I did not choose them for being close to me, but instead chose them because they seemed to understand what I was talking about when discussing the pleat. They had the best match to the vinyl compared than their competition. I was also told they do lots of work for Willhoit. I am showing the photos below to represent how it came out. I'm not claiming it is perfect or original in appearance, but I am satisfied that the pleat came back looking the way I asked for it. It is more work to construct the seat this way.
Attachments
IMG_4114.jpg
IMG_4114.jpg (1.88 MiB) Viewed 625 times
IMG_2605.jpg
IMG_2605.jpg (2.62 MiB) Viewed 625 times
Paul Hatfield
"Miss April"
http://www.enginesinback.com

Post Reply