Napier Auto Upholstery

Project name: 1960 Chevrolet Bel Air
Material used: Ascot Wool Cut Pile Carpet, Bedford Houndstooth, Jaguar Black Vinyl
Fabric Supplied By: Reid & Twiname Ltd & Le Mans

What did the client request?

As our client received the vehicle when they just 16 years old, it was running for the past 14 years until they decided to begin a ground up restoration six years ago.

As our client’s vehicle was very tired and worn out, the ground up restoration decision was implemented to help update and modernise the 62-year-old vehicle. The overall goal our client had in mind was to ensure that the life of the vehicle was prolonged for the future generations ahead to also enjoy. This was to ensure they could have the vehicle in a state where they can enjoy the hard work that has gone into the restoration of it, and not only feel like they’re driving around a brand-new vehicle but so that it is in good condition for future generations to come.

What is unique or complex about the project?

What was most complex about this vehicle restoration project was putting an inspired two door American model into the reality of a four door New Zealand model.

In particular, getting the lines accurate throughout the whole vehicle was difficult as houndstooth increases gamma oscillations in the brain which are associated with headaches, ultimately meaning our team would have sore eyes and begin to second guess measurements if they looked at the material for longer periods of time e.g., cutting and sewing. Hence why this had to be sewn in bite size pieces to ensure accuracy. Although this may have been a complex material to work with, we successfully succeeded with an astonishing end result.

As the background of this vehicle is very unique, our client felt the need to keep his father in the loop on how the restoration process was coming along. Due to the nature of the heirloom, our client’s father was uneasy on upgrading anything related to the car as he thought it was going to just be another ‘hotrod.’ To his surprise, we were able to show him that the vehicle is more than just a ‘hotrod,’ but something that can be enjoyed and used for the future to come by many more generations.

What were the results of the project?

Overall, our client was well pleased with the outcome of their vehicle restoration. Prior to choosing our company, our client was looking for a company that could replicate the specific design which our team got the opportunity to do and completed exactly what our client was after. Our client was amazed at watching a design progressively become a reality. They were also impressed with how our team took the time to discuss each stage of the build, whilst making suggestions along the way on how things could be improved even further. From concept to implementation, our client felt our team was approachable, transparent and profession with an extremely high level of craftsmanship that exceeded their expectations. After restoring our client’s piece of family history to a high standard, they have and will continue to recommend our services to others in the community.

Is there any other relevant information?

As can be seen on the arm rests on all the doors, they have a pop of red. Due to the vehicle originating from Canterbury, the tight bonding of the red and black colours is a representation of the closeness of a partnership, in this case our client’s family.

This vehicle came into our workshop completely gutted and delivered to our workshop in boxes. The easiest way to describe how we managed to fit everything back into its correct place is like completing a puzzle without the box. Luckily time was on our side, and we were able to perfect this overall restoration.