Muscle Mustangs & Fast Fords
1998 Ford Mustang Cobra - Interior Restoration
Everyone else sees the outside of your car, but you spend all your time behind the wheel. Ninety-five percent of the interaction with your ride happens in the cockpit. The seats are sat in, the center console holds your Big Gulp, your E-brake is pulled, and your carpet takes a beating.
Let's face it—late-model Mustangs are getting older and yours may not be in the best of shape. This was the case for our '98 Cobra, so we forged a plan to breathe life back into the interior and give it a modern, slightly custom look. At 16 years old, the seats were cracked, plastic clips had broken, the carpet was stained, and the interior had seen its fair share of wear and tear.
Wanting this to be a DIY project, we decided to recover the seats, plus install a new rug and headliner. We contacted TMI Products for a set of its '03-'04 Cobra upholstery and new seat foam. Along with the upholstery, we also picked up a new headliner and sunvisors to match.
TMI has been in business for over 30 years, specializing in high-quality interior components. Having first started its Ford lineup with classic Mustang upholstery, it has recently branched into the late-model market. With that, success has followed and TMI has now introduced its reproduction Cobra seat upholstery.
"It was an obvious route for TMI to take after offering the stock GT seats, as I can easily say the '03-'04 Terminator Cobra seat is one of the most sought-after seats that was ever available in a Mustang," said Waylon Krumrie, sales manager for TMI Products. "We then found out that all Mustangs from '99-'04 share the same seat frames. Any V-6 or GT seat can be stripped down and built into a premium Cobra, Bullitt, or Mach 1 seat using only new foams and upholstery."
TMI offers several options when it comes to your Mustang's upholstery. Whether you're looking to restore your interior back to spec or do something custom, TMI has what you need. For the Cobra sport seat lineup, pricing starts at $579 for a full set; new seat foam can be had for $202.99 (PN 43-7653). Limitations are almost non-existent, as TMI offers complete customization for anyone wanting something unique using Alcantara suede, unisuede, vinyl, or premium leather.
Due to interior color differences between '94-'98 and '99-'04 Mustangs, we had TMI match the vinyl and leather upholstery we would be using to the true black of our '98 Cobra rather than the later dark charcoal. We also used dark graphite Alcantara suede inserts.
Due to the design, '99-'04 Mustang seat frames are needed for this install, which meant we had to find a set. While we were waiting for our new upholstery to be made, we contacted MPS Auto Salvage and LatemodelRestoration.com for several key components. MPS sent us a used '03 Cobra center console, and '99 and newer Mustang seats, seatsbelts, and radio bezel. Latemodel Restoration supplied a new carpet, door pulls, and black dye. To reduce noise, Design Engineering Incorporated (DEI) sent us its Boom Mat sound-deadening material.
Once everything arrived at our home base in Tampa, Florida, we got to work. Follow along as we dress our Cobra in new skin.