A few months ago we mentioned that the 319 needs several seat backs recovered with new material. As you can see here, many are badly worn and coming apart. The seat cushions I can do at home, but the seat backs require special tools and skill.
The first step is to get the right material. We last bought a roll of material back in 2005, for redoing seats in the 308, and it's almost used up. So we turned to our go-to expert in this field, Dick Lukin. Dick did most of the work in re-upholstering the seats for the 354, more than 40 years ago. When North Shore car 749 needed new seats, Dick did the investigative work and found a fabric mill willing to reproduce the exact pattern -- over in the UK. Fabric mills here in the US were only willing to take on this job if we were ordering thousands of yards, but a mill in the UK would run the order for 500 yards, enough for one car. He also found the company which did the special seat work for IRR 65 and TM 972. And then he found an extremely close match for the material we need for the 308, 309, and 319, since the specific material he ordered more than ten years ago is no longer manufactured, as one might expect.
Dick also contributed half the cost of ordering the roll, for which we are very grateful. This morning I drove into the city and picked up the roll at Illinois Fibre Co., located in Back of the Yards. That was mildly interesting. The roll sure is heavy, so it must be good. I'll drop it off at the Museum tomorrow, and then I think we can arrange to have the expert work done in-house over the winter.