Interior Decorating with Moss Upholstery

For over fifty years the Moss Motors upholstery division has provided enthusiasts with a wide range of quality products to refurbish their British sports cars. These include a wide variety of interior panels, seat kits, carpets, tops, tonneaus and related items to enhance your sports car and make it more comfortable to drive.

This is an exact science and every care is taken to ensure that replacement items are as close in pattern and quality to the originals as possible.

A wide range of raw materials are sourced from a variety of vendors, who supply leather, vinyl, carpet and duck material to the Moss shop.

There Jenny Winston, the shop manager, and her team of seven dedicated professional operatives take great pride in achieving the high standard the company is renowned for. Jenny has worked for Moss Motors for over 30 years and she and her team have over one hundred years of experience in British car upholstery.

Using original patterns cut from Lexan, (and incidentally, our current Vice President, Robert Goldman, was instrumental in shaping these when he was first apprenticed to the upholstery shop nearly a quarter of a century ago!) the materials are hand crafted so that there is never any variation from the authentic styles the manufacturers intended.

All Moss leather is tanned and vat-dyed to exacting specifications to ensure originality and long wearing durability. For those enthusiasts on a budget top quality vinyl kits are available at modest cost. All seams are stitched rather than heat sealed—even the original stitching on items such as seats is duplicated to the highest degree of accuracy. Moss offers a wide variety of trim and piping in addition to the original interior color schemes, so that you can decorate your car’s interior to perfection.

Our carpet material is domestically sourced and the greatest care is taken to ensure that the patterns and fit will make installation a breeze with the minimum of effort. Trunk carpet kits have increased in popularity over the years and again, these are made in the Moss upholstery shop, in a variety of colors.

Many concours winning cars have sported Moss upholstery and judges have been known to comment on the authentic look of a new Moss interior.

Vanessa’s Makeover! TR4 Seat Replacement

To demonstrate the quality and ease of installation of Moss products, we decided to install a new Moss seat kit in the 1964 Triumph TR4 belonging to Vanessa Flanders, one of our sales associates. At the same time we thought it might be a good idea to fit one of the Moss seat heater kits so that Vanessa could be warmed on chilly California mornings! Plus a seat heater makes a long drive more comfortable, and a warm back is less likely to become stiff and sore. We measured the seat heater elements against the old seats to confirm the fitment.

Vanessa’s grandfather gave her the Triumph in 2003. The car had been restored in 1978 and had been used by three generations of her family including her father since its purchase in 1972! Quite a deal of bodywork had been undertaken on the car while it was back in Hartford Connecticut, but Vanessa commented that the hardest part was learning to drive a stick shift, a technique with which she is now quite proficient. This TR4 has also been featured on occasion on the cover of the Moss TR4 catalogs.

The kindest thing to say when we first examined the Triumph was that Vanessa’s seats were a little distressed! Upon removing the seats several things were evident. First, the mounting holes in the base of the seat pan had elongated and in some areas were actually cracked. Not really surprising after nearly forty years of hard wear! Some welding was necessary to bring these back into line. These seats are of course, the pressed steel type.

Then, upon removing the vinyl seat covers another surprise—the interior of the material was covered in Chrysler logos! We therefore assumed that the seats had previously been recovered at some time or another with material obtained from a Chrysler dealer or associate. Vanessa’s grandfather confirmed this fact for us.

Removal of the seat covers also revealed that both the seat springs were broken and would need replacing. The horsehair mats were in somewhat poor shape and consequently were replaced, as were the cotton pads which sit on top of the horsehair. We recommend that if you are doing it yourself, tackle one seat at a time, as this method will enable you to see what goes where, when the time comes to restore the other seat.

Jenny and her crew work gradually progressed as the photos show, with particular attention being paid to the packing strips and the fasteners of the seat covers and base springs.

Due to space constraints it is difficult to detail every aspect of what is a fairly complex procedure but Jenny offers the following tips for those of you who are contemplating recovering your seats:

• Dismantle the original seat carefully, noting the order in which the various pieces go.

• Take your time—it will pay off in the final result.

• Make small cuts in the material at first—then you can always go on. You can’t re-cut if you make a mistake!

• Go easy on the adhesive required to hold down the seat covers, and the horsehair material.

• Use a trash bag over the seat back, then slide the cover on over the plastic material to ensure a smooth appearance. Once the cover is in place, the trash bag can easily be removed.

The installation of the heated seat kit, Moss part #903-250, was fairly straight forward with the only modification being the need to drill a small hole in the side of the seat base through which the wires are threaded to the control unit sitting on the transmission tunnel. This control, energized by a switch on the dash, gives you dual zone heating and is therapeutic to the body. Be careful not to trap any of the wires!

For more information on tackling a TR4 interior please see How to Restore Triumph TR4 by Roger Williams. Moss part #213-720

To see the broad range of original and upgraded upholstery offered for your vehicle visit today. Carpet and upholstery samples are available, just ask one of our sales associates to include one in your next order.

By Ken Smith

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