Yes, I’m in Z office

Want to excite that drab office? Got a couple of car seats laying around?!

You can only change that computer desktop wallpaper so much and so often – so take it to the next level and make some car seat office chairs! Back in March of last year, I got new seat covers in for the 280z and just had to throw them over the office chair for fun. Well it looks the guy at DIY-Create actually brought it to fruition on Instructables using the actual seat! Seats came from a junked 240z, and I’d say, they’re now getting much more use than left in a yard. Also, you can bring that car you love so much into the home. Enjoy!

And many thanks to DIY-Create for using the seat restore article and mentioning Daily Datsun as a resource!

Instructables – How to Turn Junker Car Seats into Beautiful Office Chairs by DIY-Create

Getting work done…fast.

Getting Wedding Ready – Part I

OH yeah. It’s on.

Time is ticking, and the Z is on it’s way to being our wedding car! Yes, I convinced my beautiful, sensible minded fiancee to use the 280Z as our chariot. The only catch: it has be 100% ready. For my wedding, is there anything else it would be? :]

Since that day (about a month ago) i’ve been planning, scoping, and wrenching on the 280z to get it ready for game day. With little over three weeks away, it seems like it’s got a great distance before it gets to 100%.

This morning, it was back to the seats.

Last time, I had just recovered the seat backs leaving the seat bottoms to be finished.

Datsun 280z seat

There are three small screws that hold in the cover plate to the adjustment mechanism. Behold! the underside uses that same straw-like padding as seen in the seat backing.

Datsun 280z seat - cover plate screw Datsun 280z seat - underside

Seat adjustment mechanism

Datsun 280z seat -adjustment mechanism

I was blocked by these stubborn screws holding down the chair adjustment spring fixture. Even with WD-40, corded drill with PH-3 (big) bit, and some taps from a hammer – those tough screws were NOT coming out.

Datsun 280z seat - spring mechanism

So I got a little clever and cut the old vinyl to slide it out from the seat spring fixture. This method will prove VERY useful when putting the new cover on.

Datsun 280z seat - working around frozen screws

Undoing the chair slider…

Datsun 280z seat - seat slider

The original seat foams are from Toyo. A quick part search on google for ‘PM690M9’ reveals nothing – surprise.

Datsun 280z seat - seat foam

Minor surface rust in the seat spring; only a little clean up required.

Datsun 280z seat - spring seat frame

Tada! No one’s going to see this part anyways…

Datsun 280z seat - resprayed

After a quick test fit of the new seat cover, I thought there was a bit too much play in the cover and the seat foam. So i decided to use some extra foam i’d been saving just for this purpose. Though pink open celled foam like this isn’t ideal (as it WILL eventually disintegrate), it should last several years before collapsing out, by that time, i’ll just get new foams entirely. Here, i cut a pattern for the seat bolster because the seat cover is a touch wider than the tapering original seat shape.

Datsun 280z seat - extra foam pattern

Datsun 280z seat - extra foam applied

I also decided to replace the straw-like padding on the bottom between the seat foam and the seat spring. My first thought was it was just a protective layer between metal and foam.. but the other day when working on the driver seat (which had this material and burlap…), i realized it’s other responsibility… absorb any excess moisture. oh well.

Datsun 280z seat - spring pad cut Datsun 280z seat - spring pad replaced

The new seat covers use a string to cinch the cover to the frame. I decided to re-use  the hog tie re-bars (as well as the string) to make sure the covers sit firmly in place.

Datsun 280z seat - seat re-bar inserted

Here, you can see where i cut the new seat cover to fit in between the bolts that hold the spring assembly. I pulled the string out from that portion of the seat cover, cut, slid the cover through the opening between the bolts, and then fished the string back through. First thing i thought of was that this solution would be something my dad or grandfather would think up of. Worked like a charm, and best of all I can move forward.

Datsun 280z seat - seat cover fix

Looking pretty full in there – now just to pull down that mid-section to give it contour…

Datsun 280z seat - seat complete topside

Seat completed, hog tied tight.

Datsun 280z seat - seat complete underside

Perfect. The seat bottom is extra cushy, and it’s got great shape. I lightly sanded down the bolts, sprayed the seat back bracket with bed liner for a nice rough texture, and cleaned / sprayed the slider lever.

Datsun 280z seat - seat complete side

Datsun 280z seat - seat completed

Datsun 280z: Gutted

Yesterday I started to tear down the 280z.
In about 2.5 hrs, I had the car just about 80% done before it can go to the painter.

Carpet: out.
Seats: gone.
Passenger door: stripped.
Center console: removed.
Passenger side door trim / seal: off.

Just need to remove the driver side door / trim, all the lights, and most importantly the windows…
And I need to make more room in the garage to store all this.

We’ll let the pics do the talking.
280z interior - gutted

280z interior - door

with the door paneling off, i was able to grease up the sticky door locks. NO MORE CRAWLING THROUGH THE BACK HATCH TO UNLOCK THE DOORS! :]

280z door lock mechanism

Like a well worn couch, it’s amazing what you’ll find after 35yrs…

280z interior - found pen

… a nasty 400W amp under the driver seat (that’s probably 400W PMP (max rating) haha, so more like 100W).

280z interior - amp

And i’m now $0.39 richer. Oldest coin here though is 1983 (the quarter).

280z interior - coins

Both Seat Backs Covered: 50% done

Finally got around to covering the other seat back on the 280z this past weekend – Kris was down to help me out.

After taking off the old ’77 280z basketweave seat covers we found something interesting…

77 280z original drivers seat - open

the driver side is padded! an additional layer of foam covers the hairy jute-like seat cushion.

Here’s Kris setting the hog rings, getting them in place. Again, honestly, you don’t to worry about getting hog ring pliers – we used them for a whole two seconds for a job that could’ve been done using regular pliers.

280z drivers seat - re-cover

Stretching a seat cover can be difficult work. It was a fairly warm day, so we were working with optimal conditions. Really, it’s the seat pattern that was just a touch too short for the liking.

280z drivers seat - stretching 1  280z drivers seat - stretching 2

But pulling, stretching and team work prevailed. Tucked and pierced the n0n-barred flap under the barred flap, just like last time.

And installed!

280z seat backs - installed

Now to get those seat bottoms done and the 280z will start to look good.

New Seats: 25% done

I finally found some time this morning and re-upholstered the seat back…yes, just the back.
Previously I purchased 1976 styled 280z seat covers for my 1977 (my year had the plastic “basketweave” styled backrest, ugh), and now it’s time to put them on.

Check it:

280z seat - recover - complete

And I’ve got to say, my forearms burn like i just went rock climbing!

Here’s some of my feedback on the process. If you’re looking at recovering you’re own seats, here’s what I did, and it may help you.

1) Take off of the old covers – I paid special attention to how the old covers were put on, and it made a difference. My 1977 280z “basketweave” seat covers were held down by metal prongs / tangs, and two sets of metal rods for reinforcement. The front face of the seat cover is under the back face. And the prongs pierce through the vinyl.
1977 280z seat - original attachment

1977 280z seat - unbinding

What was interesting was this seat arm “pocket” on a single side of the seats – none of them had been used! The arms were attached on top of the pockets instead of inside of them (though the original fit looks intentional).

1977 280z seat - seat arm pocket

There were metal reinforcement rods along the edges that will need to be removed and reused for the new seat covers.
Always remember to label just in case!

1977 280z seat - metal reinforcement rod

Like taking off a shirt, there’s two ways of taking off an old seat cover: 1) starting from the headrest, 2) starting from the bottom and rolling up.
There is a flap of extra material that hold down the seat cover snug to the seat between the headrest and the back.
If this flap has disintegrated like mine has, then you can just shimmy off the old cover like a shirt (method 1).
If the flap is still intact, then you’ll have to roll up the cover from the bottom (method 2), undo the hog rings, and then take off the cover.

1977 280z seat - uncovered

Very surprising – the back wasn’t foam material at all! The seat back padding is this straw-like material that is semi-dense and springy. With the vinyl, i’m sure it’s provides a good amount of breathing for the back.

You can also see the disintegrated cotton flap that previously help hold the seat cover taught. The new 1976 seat covers have vinyl flaps to hold the material down.

1977 280z seat - disintegrated cotton flap

On to the new seat cover! Here you can see the flap that lays between the headrest and seat back, and the hog rings that keep it there. There’s also a metal rod through the flap to help reinforcement it.
I ended up getting new hog rings at home depot (chain link fencing aisle), as well as hog ring pliers. HOG RING PLIERS AREN’T REALLY NECESSARY. It takes a touch of finesse, but I was able to manage with just needle nose pliers.

1977 280z seat - new seat cover - hog rings

“Put the cover on like a condom”. That’s actually pro advice from a friend who used to work summers at this father’s upholstery shop. And he was right. Invert the cover first. Then starting with the headrest put the cover on, rolling back on the rest of the cover on to the seat. When you get to flap between the headrest and the back, hog ring it down to the metal rod that’s between the two paddings. And continue to roll down.  Putting on seat covers work best when the vinyl is warm.

Inserting the metal rod at the end of the seat cover.

1976 280z seat cover - inserting metal rod

Work the vinyl downwards starting from the headrest on down to the bottom – almost like massaging it down. This will really help you be able to pull the covers tight, and get the ends around the prongs.

1976 280z seat cover - folding over the prongs

1976 280z seat cover - completed

Cut holes for the seat arms.

1976 280z seat cover - seat arm holes


1976 280z seat cover - installed

Seat re-covering takes quite a lot of patience and arm muscle – but certainly more of the first. You need to be patient and work the vinyl from the top down, continuously. This will help with the fit, and certainly when you need to secure the seat cover ends to the seat back frame / prongs.

Additionally, i should probably re-do this one after the passenger seat gets done – there’s excesses material in the upper bolsters that should be mounted down and lie flat on the chair. To do this, my friend suggested that i use spray glue / mounting adhesive. I’m sure this technique will require some practice to be good at it, as drying time, and allowing for stretch are major factors.

I wish I could pass down where these came from, but the previous owner can’t remember where / whom he’d bought them from. I’d give them about an 8/10 – good quality, decent fit (could be a touch better).

1.5 seats more to go.




Seat Covers Coming In!

Pop open the door, what’s the first thing you see? Yes, the seats. Or in the 280z’s case, torn up seats :]

Looks like a cat got to it as normal tearing would’ve probably gone width-wise.

Datsun 280z basketweave seat -

Datsun 280z basketweave passenger seat -

These original seats for the late Datsun 280z are called ‘Basketweave” and replacement covers sell for about $299 on BlackDragon Auto. Yikes.

Initially I wanted the 240z version with the horizonal “jelly rolls”(as i like to call them). They just scream, ‘classic’.
But even those are $200/piece (w/ replacement foam) from Les at Classic Datsun Motorsports – and sad to say, after two emails and almost a week later for a price quote, I haven’t heard back from them.

240z seat -

In the end, I guess it has worked out. I just picked up some great looking ’76 seats covers from Mark D over from the All Datsun Classifieds / ClassicZCar forums.
He was selling them for a great deal: $150, and I’ll reuse my current foam. Although they’re not my first pic, the look has really grown on me. Can’t beat that they were at a great price… and they have the vent holes. love those.

1976 280z seat covers -

When then come in, i’ll be sure to post how I’ll put them on, and perhaps make a helpful video for it.