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Preparing your Classic Car for Upholstery

Owning a classic car is a wonderful experience because you have a vehicle that combines beauty and speed. It can be even more rewarding when you’ve restored a classic car by yourself, and are looking to add the finishing touches. But it’s important to remember the interior of the car as well as the exterior. Finding the right upholstery is a big decision, and if you’re going to rely on an upholstery store then the question you’ll be asking is “how much is it going to cost?”


The simple fact is that custom upholstery is expensive, yet it doesn’t mean you can’t make the process run smoothly with a bit of preparation. Planning is essential, and to help you with the decision, we’ve put together a step by step guide on how to prepare your classic car for upholstery.

1. Do some investigating

Start by researching local upholsterers and select one you feel comfortable with. Inspect the quality of their work and make an appointment. This will get you on a list, as some shops require a non-refundable deposit to secure a spot. Be sure to tell them when your car will be ready. It’s a good idea to add 3-6 months to your expected completion date, to deal with any unexpected items that crop up.


Interior style will influence the price, so take photos of upholstery styles you like. This will give the upholsterer an idea of what you’re looking for.

2.  Prep the car

Now that you’ve selected your upholsterer, it’s time to prep the car. It’s important to remove all materials that can make the car smell for a cleaner presentation. Check your A/C lines and heater hoses are working, as you don’t want anything leaking out. Locate the battery in the car, and if it’s in the floorboard, relocate it to avoid leaving a hole in the middle of the car.


Make sure the doors, hood and trunk are sealed against the weather and close properly. This will reduce the risk of delays. All electrical connections will need to be working, as it will cost extra for upholsterers to sort out any problems. Ensure all hardware is installed, including interior door handles and window handles, otherwise that’s more added to the bill.

3. Be Patient

With the car being sent off to the upholsterer, you can relax. Patience is crucial because there is an art to customer upholstery design that can’t be rushed. Pushing the deadline will result in a sloppy job, influencing the appearance of the car. Always consult your upholsterer if you have any concerns and they’ll be happy to answer questions.


When the car is finished, you’ll have an interior that blends with the exterior. You’ll be ready to display it in a show or take it out on the road.


Want to hear more about the latest classic car news? Our blog features various posts about the automotive world. Finding the right kind of classic car insurance coverage is also important because you’ll know your motor is protected.

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