Muscle Mustangs & Fast FordsProject Vehicles
1988 Ford Mustang GT Project Hypersilver - Interior Installation
Inside Job - We dive into the interior of Hypersilver with LatemodelRestoration.com and TMI Products.
By the looks of where we left off last issue, Hypersilver should be running, driving, and tearing up the track by now. The problem is, we haven’t touched the interior yet—at all. OK, we put the steering column in place so we could wheel it around, but that’s it. We have a bare interior—a blank slate to build in any way we desire—and we’re planning on using that to our advantage.
Demon Motorsports did an awesome job fitting our street ’cage with low door-bars, so we really didn’t have to worry about fitment issues. The hardest part is picking the right components that will work well with each other and complement our high-end street car theme. The solution was simple: a stock-style interior with the newest innovations available, both for Mustangs and in the automotive world in general. To accomplish this, we turned to LatemodelRestoration.com.
A leader in Fox-body (and newer) restoration supplies, Latemodel is known for its Fox catalog. Offering everything ranging from interior, exterior, engine, chassis, suspension, brakes, drivetrain, and even performance parts, this company has it all. Since its online catalog is so comprehensive and uber-easy to navigate, we turned there for our interior needs—if it’s available, then Latemodel probably has it.
If you remember, we scored a donor car from MPS Auto Salvage. From that donor, we salvaged the seat frames, interior quarter-trim panels, rear body-trim panel, armrest housings, headliner moldings, dash, and console—all of which are not yet available new in the aftermarket. Other than that, we simply clicked away in the Interior Parts & Accessories section on Latemodel’s website. There, you can navigate through gauges, seats/upholstery, carpet, dash/trim, headliners, console parts, door parts, door panels, hatch hartdware, pedals, floormats, insulation, and restoration starter kits. We ordered everything that applied to our ’88 GT.
For colors, we decided black and silver would be the cleanest route. Luckily for us, most of the restoration parts are available in black, and the stuff that we had to reuse off of our donor car could be dyed to match. LatemodelRestoration offers an entire section of interior dye paint from SEM, a well-known and respected coatings company. All interior colors (from ’79-’93) are offered, including less popular colors like Sand Beige, Scarlet Red, Regatta Blue, SVO Gray, and even white. So if you just want to change the color of your interior, or restore it, you can. It even offers kits to convert your Fox interior to black, starting at under $1,000.
For upholstery, we turned to TMI Products (which is also available on LatemodelRestoration.com). “TMI staff are Mustang enthusiasts and listen and learn from other enthusiasts,” said Dean Satterfield, president of TMI. “This interior also grew out of a desire to modernize the Fox and SN-95 Mustangs with some of the best of modern Mustang design.”
It offers an array of replacement seat upholstery, seat foam, door panels, and headliners for Foxes (and newer). It also has some really obscure offerings like ’79-’82 zig-zag Recaro upholstery, Ghia stuff, and even SVO replacements. TMI carries not only a full line of stock-style replacement upholstery, but also custom kits. It has ’03-’04 Cobra-style kits for Foxes, Mach 1-style kits, and recently launched its new Sport R kits.
The Sport 500, which we chose for Hypersilver, is a continuation of TMI’s Sport line that launched a few years ago for classic Mustangs. Sure, there is a surplus of aftermarket bolt-in race seats, but what makes TMI’s product unique is the use of your existing stock seat frames. Simply remove the stock upholstery and foam, and install the Sport foam and upholstery. The Sport 500 features contrast stitching, UniSuede inserts, increased side and leg bolsters, and a classy look with GT-500-style stripes.
Kits are available with blue, red, and gray stripes, but TMI made us a custom set with silver stripes to match our combination. Sure, it costs more to go this route, but if your attention to detail is as fine-tuned as ours, then it’s worth it. The company even used silver stitching as an accent. And as a bonus, TMI gave us the first set of its new Fox-body premium door panels. Since we were unveiling Hypersilver at SEMA, TMI even upholstered a couple of other pieces for us to match, like the gauge cluster bezel and dashpad.
Mere weeks before we tackled the installation of all of this, we learned that classic-car gauge-guru Dakota Digital was launching a Fox-body cluster line. Of course, we had to have one, so we ordered its carbon-faced/blue-backlit VHX version (PN VHX-87F-MUS; $795). It features fully digital operation, fits directly into the stock bezel, and has a programmable message center (like a new car). We could do a whole story on just this cluster (and we may, later on).
That’s about it. Well, other than the sick sound system that we haven’t even touched yet. We’ll cover that next month. It won’t be long before we power this baby up, hit the dyno, and pound some pavement!
1. Here’s what the interior looked like when we started the project just over a year ago. There wasn’t a bolt, screw, or even clip to be found anywhere, so we needed some serious help transforming it into a complete car.
2. Before installing the interior, we made a bracket from aluminum square tubing to mount all of our computers and modules. We’re using a FAST XFi, FAST Xim, and ISIS wiring. Since we didn’t want to clutter the engine bay, behind the dash was the easiest place for them. Yeah, we wanted to install A/C, but that’s going to have to wait. You can also see the 2-inch hole we drilled in the trans tunnel to run the wiring harnesses to the engine bay.
3. Here’s a small pile of the stuff we got from LatemodelRestoration.com for the interior of Hypersilver. We ordered trim, clips, mouldings, handles, hardware, switches, interior dye, and just about everything else you can think of for a Fox interior.
4. For the rest, we had to dye original pieces that we salvaged off our donor car, thanks to MPS Auto Salvage. Kristian Grimsland helped us out a bunch with this portion of the build.
5. It’s actually not that difficult to dye interior panels. First, clean the panel with mild soap and bristled brush.
6. Then, rinse it clean with water and let it dry completely.
7. Use SEM vinyl prep to coat the entire panel. This provides a superior adhesion surface for the dye. Next, spray the panels with the dye, applying light, thin coats until full coverage is achieved.
8. With our dash carrier assembly, we removed the face of the dash from the metal frame. While apart, we sandblasted and painted the frame. Here, we’re reassembling the dash.
9. We had to reuse our pedal assembly, so we gave it the sandblast-and-paint treatment as well. LatemodelRestoration supplied a billet-aluminum pedal kit, which we also installed.
10. Here’s the mounted bracket and modules, as well as all of our wiring harnesses roughed in. We’ll go into more detail on the wiring in a later story. At far left, you can see the module that controls the Dakota Digital instrument cluster. We then installed the dash assembly.
11. Here, Tech Center Manager Darrell Kunda is installing the new turn-signal switch onto our (used) steering column.
12. Take a look at Dakota Digital’s new digital gauge cluster. This one is carbon-faced with red, and we chose the carbon-faced with blue. Silver and black alloy finishes are also available.
13. Design Engineering (DEI) provided us with a slew of sound-deadening supplies, exhaust wrap, and spark plug wire loom.
14. Kristian is installing DEI’s Boom Mat, which we’ve used on other project cars with great results. It deadens sound and insulates heat.
15. Auto Custom Carpets hooked us up with its black Fox-body carpet, and Kristian and Darrell installed it over the Boom Mat and wiring harnesses.
16. We’ve already installed our TMI premium Fox-body door panels and trimmed them out with hardware from Latemodel Restoration.com.
17. This is the assortment of seats in the Sport line that TMI Products had on display at SEMA. The two on the left are Sport 500s, and the far right is the Sport R.
18. Here’s a look at our seats installed. They certainly fit the theme, and give our interior a modern and sporty look.
19. Without jumping ahead too far, here’s our complete interior. See the blank spot in the center stack? That’s where our iPad Mini is going to be installed, along with a slew of Kicker components, next month.