1994-2004 Ford Mustang Interior Upgrades
Give your late-model Mustang’s interior a fresh look with the help of a color change and some well-placed improvements
The '94 Mustang was a clean-slate interior design that harkened back to the '69 Mustang and its "twin pod" dash theme. After having pretty much the same Fox Mustang interior for the previous 14 years (save the aero dash upgrade in 1987), the new SN-95 interior was well received by enthusiasts. And like most aspects of the Mustang, the new interior was a blank canvas for aftermarket companies to produce upgrades and custom parts for. Right off the bat you could order billet knobs, gauge bezels, carbon fiber or wood grain dash trim kits, and more to personalize your new Mustang's interior. But what happens after 10 years or more of daily driving abuse? That worn and tired interior needs a complete makeover and that's exactly what we were staring at with our '00 Mustang V-6 coupe seen here.
This '00 Mustang left Dearborn with a Laser Red Tinted Clearcoat Metallic exterior finish and a Medium Parchment interior. While the Medium Parchment was less "tan" than the '98 and older "Saddle" colored interior, it is still a love it or hate it color (like the earlier Fox Mustang red interiors) and the owner hated it. It certainly didn't help that the factory leather seats were splitting at the seams and brittle to the touch, or the fact that the carpet had more stains than a toddler's favorite bib. This Mustang's interior needed a complete "door to door" refurbishing, and that's what got the "what ifs" started. What if we changed the interior color? What if we upgraded the audio? What if we recovered the seats but also added some better support as well?
Some parts of said interior upgrade are simple. If your SN-95 needs new carpet, you call up CJ Pony Parts like we did and order carpet. The carpet comes out of the box and only needs minor trimming as you set it in place. It's a simple job. The seat upholstery is also not that bad of a job thanks to the crew at TMI Products. TMI has made a name for themselves in the Mustang upholstery biz and their latest is a seat cover and foam kit that takes the base Mustang seat and converts it into the much more supportive and exotic looking '03/'04 Mustang Cobra seating (or Bullitt/Mach 1 style too). It's nothing that someone with a little patience can't handle over a weekend.
Even changing the interior color isn't that tough when you consider that the SN-95 Mustang interior went largely unchanged for 10 years! Finding replacement interior panels was simply a call away to our friends at MPS Auto Salvage where they have accumulated thousands of salvageable Mustangs over the years and organized the removed parts for quick and efficient sourcing for project needs just like this. When picking a color, we opted to go with the '99-'04 Dark Graphite color, and for a few well-placed reasons. While you can find '98 and older interior parts in pure black, the interior can feel "too dark," like a black hole. Plus, we have plans to upgrade the dash to the '01 and newer center stack (more on that in the captions), which only comes in the Dark Graphite. So Dark Graphite it was and MPS got new interior trim panels on their way while we added some Dark Graphite interior dye to our CJ Pony Parts order too.
The finished product is not only a complete transformation, but the interior modernizes the Mustang just a bit and makes the owner's daily commute so much more enjoyable. From the form fitting seats with the smell of fresh leather to a great Pioneer double DIN audio system and more, this is a project that is best done all at once. However, if you're on a budget, you can easily do this project in steps with a little forethought. Or you can cut a few line items from your interior upgrade to get the project to fit your budget. TMI has standard upholstery kits that are a little less than the Cobra seat upgrade, or you can stick with your stock audio gear even. Whatever you do, upgrading your interior is one of the most rewarding projects you can do to your late-model daily driver, because let's face it, the interior is what you see and interact with every day behind the wheel. Lastly, as we only have so much room here to cover our upgrades, we highly suggest a shop manual to help with any trim or interior parts removal if you're not familiar with how to remove these parts.
The Cost of Comfort
We didn't list any pricing in our captions because prices can vary so much on used parts by location and quality. We've seen '94-'04 Mustang interior parts on eBay and Craigslist, but it's rare to find a complete interior. This is why we went directly to MPS Auto Salvage. Tell them what you need and they'll put together all the interior components and ship them out on a pallet. The same goes for products from TMI. You can easily keep costs low with new cloth or vinyl seat covers in a stock pattern, or you can upgrade to the Cobra/Bullitt/Mach 1 style, or even design something custom of your own taste and TMI will stitch it up for you. Lastly, our audio upgrades were mainly to answer a few readers' questions as to how to convert their earlier SN95 Mustangs to the double-DIN dash and we felt these modifications were much easier than changing out the whole dash structure. Audio choices are vast and you can spend anywhere from $200 to well over $1,000 for a double-DIN head unit. Whatever you decide to do, make a plan, figure a budget, and get to work. Nothing makes you enjoy driving your Mustang more than a fresh interior.