Red Triangle RH Insurance

Trim and Upholstery

A superb original Mayfair interior on a 20 hp Silver Eagle All-Weather.Most Alvis seats were originally trimmed in leather. If this has been properly cared for it lasts well and can often be rejuvenated if not badly torn. Rotted stitching can be re-sewn. Specialised creams are available for treating leather, but these are expensive and neatsfoot oil, bought from any horsey shop, is just as effective and much cheaper. Some TA 14s had cloth upholstery, and the rear compartments of limousines were often done in Bedford cord. If the trim is badly worn then it will need to be replaced, so examine it very carefully. During the '50s and '60s many cars were re-trimmed in various grades of plastic materials and this can sometimes be difficult to detect. Look at the back of the material and if it is on a cloth substrate then beware as plastic upholstery reduces the value and often indicates that corners have been cut in a restoration.

Largely original interior of a 12/60 Beetleback sports 2-seater. The door trim panels were not of the best quality!A complete retrim in leather will be very expensive, and the leather should be of equivalent quality to the original. Many modern leathers are very soft and never look right in comparison with the original. Remember that it is not just the seat facings that will need done: the seat frames and spring cases will also need attention if the seats are sagging. The TD 21 and its sisters had quite elabourate trim, with leather door coverings and map pockets in the front seat backs which should be matched in a retrim. Sometimes restorers fail to do these properly as they are difficult and labour intensive to reproduce. Many other models had door trims in leathercloth which looks dreadful when worn, and it has to be said that some are on poor quality backing as well. The best plan is to replace this in leather which looks and lasts infinitely better, and accept the loss of originality.. Carpets are very subject to wear and should be bound in leather. They should be of good quality and located by press studs in most models. Beware of home made replacements of "bathroom" grade.

Detail of carpet and door trim on 1933 Silver Eagle 20 hp Mayfair All-WeatherHoods pre-war were mostly of double duck and are accordingly expensive to replace. The post-war Three Litres' original hood coverings were of vinyl material but are often now replaced in duck or mohair. (Mohair is a post-war material.) These hoods contain a lot of padding to give the correct shape so check that this is present. Poor quality hooding reduces the value of a car. The trim is often the first part of a car to show neglect and will reveal much about how it has been cared for. It will not tolerate exposure to damp or excessive dryness for any length of time.

Interior wood trim is often cracked or damaged. It is relatively easily brought up to the mark using modern materials which are more resistant to scratches, damp and sunlight. Some, however, believe that trim - like the rest of the car - should bear the imperfections of age and honest wear with grace and dignity and should not be tarted up until it is utterly worn out! Perhaps the same applies to human beings.

It is easy to underestimate the cost of repairing or replacing trim to the standard of a new Alvis, so be very cautious if your prospective purchase is not up to your standard in this area. DIY trimming is definitely not easy! The average Alvis will contain four or five cows' worth of leather.

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