MGB Seat Renovation
(Reprinted from the Sports Car Chronicle - Christmas, 2008)
A properly restored MGB deserves decent seats. Why is it when you look at a typically restored MG, the body looks great, but often when you peer in through the driver’s window, the seats are ratty?
There are several reasons for this.
Seats have always been thought of as complicated assemblies-too difficult for a car owner to repair. This is often not the case actually!
Though restoring your seats to new condition costs money, (just what doesn’t these days!) seat components can quite often be found on sale. This allows you to get the job done properly and save some money!
Since the vast majority of MGBs are 1970 and later models, we will elaborate on the repair of 1970 and later seats.
MGB roadster seats are all practically identical from 1970-1980 with the exception of the upholstery finish (the pattern molded into the vinyl) and the shape of the headrests. I might mention that the seat bottom foams also vary slightly. Early base foams have a pronounced “hump” in the middle while 73-80 base foams are essentially flat.
Here is a seat recently pulled out of a 73 MGB roadster. It is in typically poor condition. The large rip in the seat back is fairly obvious.
A little less obvious is the condition of the seat bottom foam. Look at how the seat bottom upholstery has collapsed in the lower RH corner of the picture. The seat bottom foam has disintegrated and no longer supports the upholstery above it.
As soon as you see low spots in the upholstery, you can bet that new seat foams will be needed.
Here’s the underside of the same seat. Half the diaphragm straps are broken or missing!
Without the rubber diaphragm to support your weight, the upholstery will soon fail!
As it does, you’ll be sitting closer and closer to the floor until the “gizzards” of the seat bottom are actually riding on the floor!