Removing the Front Seat Backrest for Upholstering?

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    Does anyone have experience in removing the front seat backrest on a Series 80 Sedan?

    This is the only one with which I have a problem.


    I don’t know Model 80 specifically, but usually a backrest on a 20’s or 30’s car has a couple of bolts holding at the bottom, under the very back of the bottom backrest, and then it slips down or up depending on how the attachment is made.

    Sometimes these bolts are fasteners are well above the bottom of the backrest, as things have settled over the years, so you have to look under and UP the bottom of the backrest to see them. Luck.

    David C.


    The Series 80 front seat does not have separate wooden framed back cushion. The front and back seat lower cushions are upholstered to a wooden frame which provides support for the seat cushion springs. The same applies for the rear seat back cushion, it has two flat tabs at the top that slip into slots, then two or three metal tabs at the bottom of the backrest frame, these are screwed to the body framework and are accessible when the lower cushion is removed.

    The S80 sedans I’ve worked on have a thick layered padded ‘bag’ of cotton and horsehair padding, it is sewn into something like a large pillow with the good wool upholstery on one side, all the pleats and buttons all sewn together as one pillow-like piece. There are several inches of extra fabric around the edges of the ‘pillow’. The extra fabric is tacked to the wood seat-back framework, then some trim-pieces are tacked over the tack-heads, hiding them from view.

    There is a set of springs between the seat back wood framework which is an integral part of the middle door pillar. The back springs rest on the lower wood framework that is part of the support for the lower seat cushions.

    So, it will require some careful exploration in the seams of the rolled fabric trim pieces. I think if you roll the tubular trim piece to one side or the other, you will expose the hidden tacks, When these are removed the seat back upholstery ‘pillow’ will start to come loose and able to be removed.

    A set of photos taken as you get the cushion removed would help us all have an idea how the seats were assembled and upholstered.

    Greg Long


    Thank you Greg for the information. I was still trying to figure out if there is any

    possibility of me moving my seat to the rear so I can have some leg room. It sounds like I am out of luck. I hate to think I have to have a driver so I can enjoy my 80 Sedan.

    My wife volunteered to learn how to drive it tonight but I hate to put that kind of pressure on her.

    I also would enjoy seeing pictures Peter so I can understand how my seat is put together.

    Thank you,




    There is talk that “some” Series 80 guys somehow reduced the thickness of the front seat backrest to give them another two or three inches to slide back in the front seat.

    Well before I assumed ownership of my family car, I understood that there was no moving the entire seating assembly backwards.

    However, in the past few years heard the scuttlebutt about thinning the backrest and I thought it interesting.

    Greg’s comments support what I previously believed and feared, so I will see how that project comes.

    Photos will be available as I get into doing it.



    When I reupholstered my ’31 phaeton about 14 years ago, I added just a little extra padding to the front seat backrests. I couldn’t sit in car, not enough room. I took apart and removed the padding, and then some, so much so that the spring outlines are partially visible under the leather.

    I now wish I’d removed the springs too! I still need more room for my legs……


    Thank you Peter and David for the feedback.

    Peter, I look forward to seeing the pictures. I was also thinking of removing

    the stuffing. Now that Dave has mentioned the Springs I think that would help give

    me even more room. I just hate to fool around with the upholstery sense it all looks new.




    You can also get shorter seat upholstery spring sets, and / or at least modify the existing springs to reduce their height / extension.

    I plan on thinning out both the upholstery padding and the spring extension on my Series 80 front seat backrest when I have the interior seating done this Fall.

    I will keep everyone posted on the project as it moves along.




    Very helpful site. Thanks for sharing it.




    Great information. I need all the room I can get.

    Thank you,


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