Jim Smart
November 20, 2014

TMI Products’ Sport Seat concept is legendary for what it has done for classic Mustang aesthetics and comfort. There’s just nothing else like it on the planet because it delivers a tasteful “original” message with sporty good looks and comfort. It takes these humble mid-century Mustang buckets and brings them closer to the 21st century with cool side bolstering and great lumbar support. The “Sport” approach has made chronically uncomfortable bucket seats comfortable. Those with ’71-’73 Mustangs have been waiting patiently for Sport Seats to arrive for this era of Mustangs. TMI Products proudly announces Sport Seats for ’71-73 Mustangs in a variety of styles, bolsters, and colors.

There are four basic types of Sport Seats available for the ’71-’73 Mustang owner to choose from: Sport-XR, R500, Mach 1, and Deluxe. The R500 yields generous side bolsters and big comfort. We’re going with the Mach 1 Sport R pattern with white vinyl and gray suede on our Rebuilding Generations ’71 Mustang convertible project. You can check out all of the various Sport Seat upholstery and seat foam options on the TMI Products website. TMI Products dealers will stock standard Sport Seat colors and options, while custom upholstery colors/stitching are available directly from TMI Products for those special projects, like this ’71 convertible.

01. Our ’71 Mustang seats have been completely disassembled already. The seat bottom frames are being fitted here with TMI’s Sport Seat foam, which will give these high-backs new life. The foam is secured with listing wire to the frame.

02. Listing wire, which secures the upholstery, is slipped into the sleeves. Although some use coat hanger wire, this practice is discouraged. Find an upholstery supplier and opt for real listing wire, which is thicker and stronger.

03. The upholstery is secured using hog rings and hog ring pliers, also available from any upholstery supply house and many Mustang parts vendors. Take breaks as needed; the work is tough on hands and fingers.

04. The upholstery is pulled over the side bolsters, which is not an easy feat. Use steam heat and silicone spray on the foam to aid flexibility. A good trick is a thin layer of plastic, such as a grocery bag, over the foam, which helps the vinyl to slide over the bolsters. Once the vinyl is pulled over the foam, you have to spank and pull the vinyl and foam to achieve a solid fit.

05. Listing wires are installed below the side bolsters into the loops sewn onto the edge of the upholstery. These four sides are then secured to the seat frame with hog rings.

06 Seat back stops and hardware are installed next on the upholstered seat bottoms. A small dental pick is a good tool to help locate attaching screw holes.

06. Seat back stops and hardware are installed next on the upholstered seat bottoms. A small dental pick is a good tool to help locate attaching screw holes.

07. Clean and lubricate the seat tracks before reinstalling on the bottom seat frames. Adjust the seat tracks evenly so they match and ensure the adjuster is tight enough to disengage the secondary track when the primary track lever is moved, but securely locks both tracks when the lever is released.

08. Now it’s time to install the seatback foam. New foam is what separates the men from the boys because it is stiff and challenging to handle. Listing wire is inserted through the foam and secured to the seat frame.

09. Listing wire is installed in the seatback upholstery’s listing loops and then secured to the foam and seat frame using hog rings.

10. Steam heat is your greatest friend when it comes to installing vinyl over new foam. And once vinyl is secured, steam allows the foam to expand filling in imperfections. It gets rid of wrinkles quickly.

11. The seatback vinyl is secured to the seatback frame as shown, using hog rings and plastic J-clip attachment points.

12. The seatback panels are a bear to install regardless of generation. Use new clips, which are available from your favorite Mustang parts vendor. Mounting clip and seatback hole alignment are everything to getting the job done. Gently press clips in place. Never pound them.

13. This is the Mach 1–style Sport R seat complete and ready to be installed into our ’71 convertible project car—talk about sharp! This is the way to make your ’71-’73 high-back seats into something comfortable and exciting for the daily commute or weekend fun through the twisties.

Easy Trick

When you use plastic bags between the vinyl and foam, you create a slippery barrier for the vinyl to bear against, making it easier to pull around stubborn and grippy new foam. The plastic protects the foam from spills and perspiration as well. Bonus!