Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Safety First - Headrests

Remember way back in November when I reupholstered the seats? I had welded up some brackets for headrests and bolted them into the seat back.  Well, another thing I did back then was locate and purchase some original 69 Cougar headrests.  I posted a wanted message on a Cougar forum and received a response from a guy looking to sell two whole seats.  I offered him $80 for just the headrests and he accepted.  A few weeks later I received a pair of headrests in good condition with no rips but with creases in the fabric from storage and shipping.

I removed the bottom plates from each and discovered their original color was a shade of gold and had been previously dyed black.  I broke the surface of the dye with a scuff pad and gave them a generous rub-down with lacquer thinner.  Eventually, I got through a majority of the old dye.  I was most interested in just removing any dye that might peel off later so I could get back down to a good base for my own dye job.

After I was satisfied with the finish of the vinyl, I used my heat gun to heat and stretch the creases out of the fabric and underlying foam.  I then scuffed the old dye overspray off of the posts and wrapped them in masking tape.  Finally, I gave them each four coats of NPD's 68 light parchment vinyl dye.

Then came the difficult part, not labor difficult but mentally difficult.  Getting myself to cut a slice in each of the freshly upholstered seat tops.  Gritting my teeth, I located the center of the metal headrest guide that I'd previously installed in the seat backs, inserted my trusty razor, and drew the blade through the vinyl until it reached the far edge of the metal guides.  I then painted the plastic headrest bevels with NPD's 68 light parchment interior paint for plastic and metal and inserted them into the slots.  Finally, the headrest posts were inserted into the seat backs completing the installation.

Original 69 Cougar headrests.  Previously dyed black.

The bottom plate removed exposing the true color of the headrests.

Headrest with much of the old dye removed and the post wrapped in masking tape.

Freshly dyed headrests.

Ouch!  Slicing the seat backs to get to the guides.

Plastic headrest bevels in position.

Headrests installed.
What good is a headrest if your face is smashed against the steering wheel?  Tune in for part 2 of "Safety First" to find out.


  1. Nice clean job as always, looking good. They really look like they belong there.

  2. Nice Alex! They look perfect, just like if they were factory. Looking forward to see what's next. You've got to be down to a short punch list. Only wish I was.

    1. Thanks Dennis. The list is definitely shorter but a new want/need gets added every time I mark one off and they seem to get more expensive each time. :-)

      You'll be there. Just keep imagining yourself driving it on a warm summer day.

  3. Alex, here's an interesting link to a guy who put van seat belts in his Mustang Vert. I ended up buying a set on ebay as I thought this a good place to start for a design solution. For what it is worth...



    1. Hmmm... check out tonight's blog entry RJ! :-)

      I did use that guy's (Ken in MD) idea 100%. Thanks!