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Re: Interior restoration question
#31
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Loyd Smith
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Of course (and I'm not being flippant or a smart-*ss) I bow to Owen_Dyneto's superior knowledge and experience. I've never had the opportunity to do much except admire (mightily)the pre-war cars from a distance. My 55 Pat came with the light blue genuine leather and dark blue fabric (Trim Code 60, I believe). The car was not in spectacular shape when I got it but I was impressed with the overall quality of the original factory interior - even after 50 plus years of use and abuse.

I do have a question however. The headliner in mine appears to be leather and is in most excellent condition. Is this usual, original? I've never seen a leather headliner before.

Posted on: 2010/12/21 11:08
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Re: Interior restoration question
#32
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Owen_Dyneto
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Loyd, I've got a friend with a 55 Patrician that also has the combination blue leather/fabric seats and it's quite a lovely & elegant combination. Wish I had taken pictures of the interior when I had access to it, but alas....

Some export V8 Packards had a non-cloth (leather? vinyl?) headliner; not sure about it's availability otherwise but more information on that would be welcome.

Posted on: 2010/12/21 11:21
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Re: Interior restoration question
#33
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HH56
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I think that headliner must be another of the products Packard called leatherette. I still have my original 56 Caribbean HT headliner which was removed from car. It appears to be some vinyl like substance on a very thin and fine weave canvas backing. This one is white with small perforations.

Was able to find an extremely close replacement -- in hole spacing and texture and color with a modern which I believe was a Mercedes material. I think the HT's had the holes and the Patrician was the same material but solid. In the very first 56 Pat I had, seem to recall that was a fabric though because it was fairly thin and torn.

EDIT The 54 Pacific also used what appears to be the same solid vinylish material. That one I was able to clean and reuse by having the bow slots redone. The upholster sewed a new strip of muslin over the originals. There was just enough of the headliner material exposed in the areas so he could do it without perforating the headliner.

Posted on: 2010/12/21 11:22
Howard
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Re: Interior restoration question
#34
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BH
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Though my Caribbean Hardtop is not available for easy inspection (offsite storage is now inaccessible with all the snow, here), I seem to recall that the front seat bottom frame had some sort of zig-zag springs, concealed by a relatively thin, yet removable, pad, which was covered in a black felt-like material. The reversible seat bottom cushions were simply laid on top of that. Rear seat bottom may have had nothing more than a platform, but still comfortable.

The site's 1955-56 Service Index shows that the change to softer cushions for the '56 Caribbean front seats was covered in STB 56T-13. It was not a "campaign", like the venturi rings in the 2x4 carbs, but merely a running production change that was a warrantable customer satisfaction issue for earlier cars.

Legend has it that the entire inventory of these specially-molded seat cushions went to South Bend, but was later acquired by Standard Suprlus (Newman & Altman), who then sold them all to a boat manufacturer. What a shame.

As for headlining material, my '56 Caribbean Hardtop, two '56 Patricians, '56 Four Hundred parts car, and dad's '56 Exec hardtop all have a perforated leatherette (vinyl-coated fabric) material. Only the hardtops had the stainless bows (covering the seams). My gut feeling is that the '56 Clippers had the same treatment.

However, Randy Berger's Patrician had a solid (NON-perforated) GENUINE leather headlining, which may be part of the documented SPECial interior trim code - done at the customer's request.

The one '55 Patrician that I once owned had a cloth headliner - same color as the inserts on the two-tone cloth-covered seats. Not sure what other '55 models used.

WRT to Exec cloth and leather, I can find no evidence of a cloth seat upholstery with leather inserts for regular production in any Packard or Clipper in 1956. The Executive sedans were offered with a choice of all-cloth or all-leather interior trim, while the hardtops were only available with cloth and imitation leather (vinyl) - all of them in two-tone color combinations.

However, I do know of a reasonably well-documented Exec hardtop that was built with all-leather interior (and Caribbean motor with standard and overdrive).

So, unless it is a documented production exception (and records for most of the 1956 cars ARE available), leather inserts are likely some owner's personalization of the car.

Posted on: 2010/12/21 11:58
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Re: Interior restoration question
#35
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Owen_Dyneto
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BH, any indications that on the 56 Caribbeans the covering over the front seat cushion platform was keyed to the carpet and exterior colors? My platform felt(?) coverings are both a reasonable match for Roman Copper, my bottom paint color, and approximated by the carpet color. Ditto for the same material behind the seat cushion backs.

Posted on: 2010/12/21 12:18
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Re: Interior restoration question
#36
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HH56
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You're right about the Caribbean front seat construction. It does have zig zag springs. The covering over them is a very dense rubber material about 1/4 in thick and covered on the top side with fabric--bottom is the bare rubber. Can't get to the back to check that.

Which made me ask the question of what is the stuff in the seats. All the other foam material used in the all the cars I remember had pretty much turned to powder or a gooey ooze. Same as what is in upholstery shops today. The seat stuff however is holding up remarkably well and in almost perfect shape as is this other rubber base bottom.

As to the headliner, I don't remember the perforations on the sedans but that doesn't mean anything. That 56 I had was some sort of a thin fabric but since an early serial number--1032--, wonder if they might have used 55 stuff. I remember buying one of Freds replacements of the time and was of a completely different material. Remember being a little disappointed but once installed, while maybe not the same stuff looked more appropriate with the rest of interior than what had been there.


EDIT to O_D's question. It must be co-ordinated if yours is copper. My car is MKN and 296. Black or the very dark carpet and while the seat frames are white, the rubber seat bottom and back is black. Seats are the red and gray leather/charcoal gray fabric.

Posted on: 2010/12/21 12:19
Howard
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Re: Interior restoration question
#37
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BH
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Interesting that there's no indication in the parts book of that front seat bottom platform pad (or springs) as a service part, yet, there they are - on more than one car.

My Carib H/T is also MKN paint with 296 trim set. The felt over the rubber pad was a bit too light to be called, black, but darker than the dark gray carpet, IIRC. In the absence of any indication to specify trim set number ofr replacement, but supported by unrestored original cars, I'd be inclined to agree that the felt was color-keyed, to the interior color.

Meanwhile, there are some spots in my original cushions where the foam had begin to pulverize, but has outlived many others built in the years since 1956.

Posted on: 2010/12/21 12:40
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Re: Interior restoration question
#38
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Owen_Dyneto
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A couple of observations. I have a friend here who has a very late 1956 Patrician, black. The headliner is original and a gray cotton or wool fabric.

'Tis true the Caribbean seat cushion foam has held up remarkably well, mine is still very serviceable though I did wrap it in a few spots with some padding, for example under the driver's position. I have a vague recollection of seeing a maker's trademark embossed into the cushion - can anyone confirm? Something in my distant memory tells me it was a GoodYear product but perhaps I'm thinking of the top material.

I had forgotten about the zig-zag springs in the Caribs under the platform. If I recall correctly the entire seat assembly was made by Sunstrand.

Posted on: 2010/12/21 12:50
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Re: Interior restoration question
#39
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BH
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Let me add that both of my '56 Patricians and the '56 Four Hundred parts car had cloth and leather seat upholstery, dad's '56 Exec had cloth and imitation leather (vinyl), but the '55 Pat was all-cloth. However, I've never personally inspected a '56 Patrician with all-cloth upholstery

The parts book is rather vague as to the type of headlining material (just specified by trim set number), but I see that the '56 Four Hundred was offered with only cloth and genuine leather trim and '56 Clipper hardtops with only cloth and imitation leather (vinyl) trim.

Perhaps only those models with all-cloth upholstery received a cloth headliner.

Getting back to the Carib seats, I had the covers off years ago, as part of going through the car, and do recall the pads/cushions being embossed, but not what it read.

Posted on: 2010/12/21 13:02
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Re: Interior restoration question
#40
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Loyd Smith
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Interesting. After reading all these posts went out and checked the headliner in my 55 Patrician. If it is vinyl, it's an excellent imitation of leather, still in perfect condition and an exact match for all of the rest of the light blue leather in the car. I'd almost swear it's leather and almost everyone who rides in the car remarks on it.

Posted on: 2010/12/22 9:46
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