Steering Wheel and Interior Reupholster - What Options Would You Choose?

suprarx7nut

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#1
Hey all, I need some opinions. I'm normally not one to care that my styling choices match the crowd, but this car will end up being a showcase of sorts, should my plans come to fruition. Stay tuned for that in a year or two. ;)

Anyways, I'm having my 91 Metallic Blue Exterior car steering wheel redone by Redline Leather in the UK. They do good work and pricing is far more reasonable than anything I've been able to find stateside.

The wheel is the 4 spoke 91 wheel. The interior is currently blue cloth, but I plan on replacing or reupholstering nearly everything - carpet, seats, all trim pieces to a dark grey (shadow grey more or less) or black.

I plan on doing Alcantara with a slight thickness increase and thumb rests. Color for the Alcantara wheel will be black.

Here are my Questions:

1a. Steering wheel stitching: Keep stitching simple and black, or go with a contrasting color? Contrasting colors in my mind would be Grey, Red, or Blue to match the exterior.

1b. Steering Wheel Center Stripe: I've seen this on a lot of Porsches, BMWs and supercars. I think it's neat, but borders on "ricey" in a non-supercar. What are your thoughts? Would a subtle dark grey stripe on a black wheel look less "in your face" or is the stripe just a dumb idea? Is a red stripe at 12 o'clock hideous?

2. Interior bits: I'm getting new coverings now for the E-brake, Shifter and center console lid. I can't decide on stitching. Should I match with dark grey? Or contrast with a lighter grey, red or blue to match exterior? I'm constantly going back and forth.

3. Center Console: I think the quilted stitching pattern looks fantastic and plan on this for the center console and the door inserts. Does anybody here find that style offensive? I've heard a few peeps complain it's hideous, but perhaps that's a very small minority. Help me out. What do you think?

Again, the car will be a showcase of sorts, so I'm aiming for something "nicer than average", yet unoffensive.

What do you think?!
 

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Old Radar

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Suprarx7nut

I guess it depends on what kind of "show" you plan on putting on.

Option 1: The subtle show of elegance of non-contrasting stitching and matching door inserts--as in the original Supra styling;

(This was done by Redline, BTW)

New Leather All Around.jpg

or

Option 2: The court jester freak show with harlequin quilt, contrasting piping and a laughable 12 o'clock sighting stripe on the steering wheel.

harlequin.jpg

It's completely up to you since I may be a little biased...
 

Old Radar

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I can't believe no one else has weighed in on this yet. I guess you'll just have to base your decision solely on my input! :drink1: Cheers!
 

3p141592654

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Unless you can also dress up the fake stitching on the dash to match, I would not go for the colored stitching. I am also not a big fan of thumb holds and the like because it looks too aftermarket for my liking.
 

suprarx7nut

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I can't believe no one else has weighed in on this yet. I guess you'll just have to base your decision solely on my input! :drink1: Cheers!
It might just come down to that!

Unless you can also dress up the fake stitching on the dash to match, I would not go for the colored stitching. I am also not a big fan of thumb holds and the like because it looks too aftermarket for my liking.
Ok, thanks. What about the alcantara material choice? Is that off-putting?
 

3p141592654

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alcantera is not something I would pick, mainly because its not really an OEM material. But its your choice, and going outside the box can be a good thing.
 

suprahero

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I love the door insert above. I'm thinking about having my interior redone also, but first I'm getting it tuned and painted. I don't mind the black leather with a color'd stitching. My new racing seats are a black leather with blue stitching and everyone that has seen them compliment the blue stitching. Either way, it's your car and you'll be the one driving it every day. I wouldn't let a trophy sway my vote. I'd rather it was comfortable and aesthetically appealing to me over a trophy getter. Good luck and keep us posted., Jay
 

suprarx7nut

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I love the door insert above. I'm thinking about having my interior redone also, but first I'm getting it tuned and painted. I don't mind the black leather with a color'd stitching. My new racing seats are a black leather with blue stitching and everyone that has seen them compliment the blue stitching. Either way, it's your car and you'll be the one driving it every day. I wouldn't let a trophy sway my vote. I'd rather it was comfortable and aesthetically appealing to me over a trophy getter. Good luck and keep us posted., Jay
Thanks Jay. Your interior has always stuck in my mind as one of the few that's been done "well", whether people agree with the details or not.

To be clear, my intent wouldn't be to win any shows or anything (although that'd be neat, I guess). It's more for the sake of appealing to potential buyers/clients. I don't need everyone to love it, but I want to avoid people having an averse reaction to it.

I'll post up an alcantara example I came across when I get back to my home PC. It demonstrates a lot of what I'm planning, albeit in the wrong color.
 

suprarx7nut

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Here's an example of some alcantara mk3 work on a car from Europe.

A few things I don't like that I would avoid:
1. Steering wheel center is covered. Ugly. Leave that as is.
2. Split wheel - alcantara and leather. I think it should be one or the other.
3. Door inserts look really plain and bland. I would do some sort of patterned stitch; likely the diamond pleat in my original post.
4. Insert color is too close to the carpet in the bottom of the door without matching. It should be a more significant contrast (dark dark grey or black, IMO).
5. Console cover was recovered, but not in a perfectly matching color. It should contrast or match perfectly.
 

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Suprarx7nut--

Clue me in. Why would you want a faux suede/Ultrasuede steering wheel? I had an Ultrasuede jacket 25 years ago, and while the chicks dug it, after it got the slightest amount of wear on the elbows, cuffs, and lapels, it looked like shit. I mean, if you're going to drive the car at all, unless you wear driving gloves, the oils and sweat from your hands--no matter how clean you think they are--are going to be impregnated into the faux suede. Take just one trip to Mickey D's or Burger King and reach into that bag of greasy fries on the way home and then have to grab the wheel to avoid some idiot texting his mom and you're screwed. As a headliner or maybe door panel inserts I can see--although depending on your driving posture your elbow can wear on part of the door panel--but on a heavy wear item like the steering wheel or, God forbid, the shift knob, I can't.
 

suprarx7nut

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Suprarx7nut--

Clue me in. Why would you want a faux suede/Ultrasuede steering wheel? I had an Ultrasuede jacket 25 years ago, and while the chicks dug it, after it got the slightest amount of wear on the elbows, cuffs, and lapels, it looked like shit. I mean, if you're going to drive the car at all, unless you wear driving gloves, the oils and sweat from your hands--no matter how clean you think they are--are going to be impregnated into the faux suede. Take just one trip to Mickey D's or Burger King and reach into that bag of greasy fries on the way home and then have to grab the wheel to avoid some idiot texting his mom and you're screwed. As a headliner or maybe door panel inserts I can see--although depending on your driving posture your elbow can wear on part of the door panel--but on a heavy wear item like the steering wheel or, God forbid, the shift knob, I can't.
Radar,

Totally valid question. It is absolutely a less durable material than leather. It's main benefit to me is the feel. I've only driven a couple alcantara wheel cars and only through parking lots, but the feel is very nice. I also believe it'd be more comfortable to grasp in the summer heat. You're right about the sweat and oils though. It will wear. I doubt that I'll drive it often enough for that to be a problem, but I suppose it could be. I think I'll average 1-3k miles per year for the foreseeable future. I have to go out of my way to drive it to keep the battery from dropping voltage too much. I would feel bad, but I've driven around 90k miles in various mk3's in the last 11 years so I've done my part to keep 'em on the road. ;)

Alcantara is an OEM material in many cars as well. It's not just an aftermarket "toy" material. The BMW ZHP 330 offered Alcantara, Porsche 911 (and 718 now) GT models have been Alcantara for a while, it's common in AMG model Mercedes, Aston Martin, Lambo, etc... Basically any sports car that's unlikely to be daily driven.

Alcantara is objectively grippier when racing with gloves as well and I hope to track the car on occasion, so there's that!

I've lusted after a supple leather mk3 steering wheel for some time, but now that I barely drive it, Alcantara has a lot of appeal. ::shrug::
 

suprahero

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I would take that interior just like it is. I would also take it with the changes you would make. Either way, it proves our interior is roughly 25 years old and needs redone........lol
 

Old Radar

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Suprarx7nut--

As members of the mutual admiration society, let me return the complement by acknowledging you have some valid points.:icon_bigg

Secondly, let me stress that I’m not trying to talk you out of, or into, anything. Everyone has their own style and they are free to express it to the maximum extent they can afford and society will allow.

Let’s stay on that affordability point for a moment. One of your valid points was that the BMW ZHP 330, Porsche 911 & 718 GT models, AMG model Mercedes, Aston Martin and Lamborghinis all have Alcantara. Another obvious trait they share is, of course, their exclusive entry level prices. Vehicles with these prices are generally owned by—and this is only partly slander—people that have more money than sense. The upside is that when they become bored with their toys, or too many of their peers acquire similar or more impressive items or when the delicate materials used in them simply begin to show wear, they cast them off to those of us in the less affluent echelons of society. The down side is the cost of maintaining these things and their delicate components is independent of disposable cash levels—just ask any high schooler who has a Supra!

As for tactility, I get the impression that you haven’t quite decided the primary purpose for your showcase Supra. On one hand, you mention appealing to potential buyers/clients, on the other you hope to track the car on occasion. Unless your potential buyers/clients are race fans, the two goals seem fairly divergent. Alcantara might feel nice and have an appeal for those poking their noses in the window or for the occasional test drive, but track the car a few times in Arizona heat and I have a feeling the sweat caused by the excitement/tension/stress of those races will soak right through your gloves and into the fabric. A top-grain leather wheel is a functional thing of beauty and may serve you better in both applications.

On the other hand I could be totally off base and out in left field. Alcantara might be the best thing since sliced bread. As I said before, it’s a style preference--and your preference is the one that counts. (But I still wouldn’t go with that harlequin stitching):: no :::: no ::
 

suprarx7nut

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Suprarx7nut--

As members of the mutual admiration society, let me return the complement by acknowledging you have some valid points.:icon_bigg

Secondly, let me stress that I’m not trying to talk you out of, or into, anything. Everyone has their own style and they are free to express it to the maximum extent they can afford and society will allow.

Let’s stay on that affordability point for a moment. One of your valid points was that the BMW ZHP 330, Porsche 911 & 718 GT models, AMG model Mercedes, Aston Martin and Lamborghinis all have Alcantara. Another obvious trait they share is, of course, their exclusive entry level prices. Vehicles with these prices are generally owned by—and this is only partly slander—people that have more money than sense. The upside is that when they become bored with their toys, or too many of their peers acquire similar or more impressive items or when the delicate materials used in them simply begin to show wear, they cast them off to those of us in the less affluent echelons of society. The down side is the cost of maintaining these things and their delicate components is independent of disposable cash levels—just ask any high schooler who has a Supra!

As for tactility, I get the impression that you haven’t quite decided the primary purpose for your showcase Supra. On one hand, you mention appealing to potential buyers/clients, on the other you hope to track the car on occasion. Unless your potential buyers/clients are race fans, the two goals seem fairly divergent. Alcantara might feel nice and have an appeal for those poking their noses in the window or for the occasional test drive, but track the car a few times in Arizona heat and I have a feeling the sweat caused by the excitement/tension/stress of those races will soak right through your gloves and into the fabric. A top-grain leather wheel is a functional thing of beauty and may serve you better in both applications.

On the other hand I could be totally off base and out in left field. Alcantara might be the best thing since sliced bread. As I said before, it’s a style preference--and your preference is the one that counts. (But I still wouldn’t go with that harlequin stitching):: no :::: no ::
Haha, love the hate on the stitching. Makes me laugh.

For the topic of appeal to client base, it's not necessarily a matter of anyone wanting to buy this particular 91. I won't divulge much more until I can make an announcement or can the idea altogether. I expect one of those two to happen in the next 24 months. Suffice to say, tracking the car a few times shouldn't detract from my plans, but rather compliment them.

I may very well end up with multiple wheels with different coverings. I suspect this won't be my last mk3 build, but again the next 24 months will likely determine that.
 

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Well, you jogged my memory about my Sienna steering wheel. New, the wheel was quite definitely Elantra like. It had a soft matte grippy look and feel. After 6 months it turned shiny and now looks and feels like regular leather, even after a good cleaning. So I'm retracting my down vote on Elantra. Still, how long it will look good is anyone's guess.
 

te72

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To address your questions, in order:

1a. Mild contrast would look alright. High contrast, not so much. The Mk3 was never really a flashy car, but it was classy.

1b. Center stripe on any car seems silly to me. I don't care where the wheel appears to be pointed, I'm not looking at it anyway. In a high performance driving situation, I'm far more concerned with where the CAR is going, and adjust my steering accordingly. "Oh noez, my wheel appears to be two degrees further pointed to the left than I intend in this corner, I should correct that," seems like a silly thing to say when pulling upwards of or over 1.0g...

2. For me, all stitching should match. It was mentioned that the dash also has simulated stitching, worth taking into account, although it is a subtle thing, it might be noticeable by some.

3. Quilted look is classy enough for Bentley and Ferrari... Personally I like it if kept in moderation. Seat centers, door inserts. Probably where I'd call it a day in that department.

Alcantara is nice stuff. Megan's Miata has it in the seat inserts, from the factory. Apparently someone at Mazda realized, sometime in the early 2000's, that leather and flat seats are a bad combo in a car with such high grip levels...
 

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No on the center stripe. Absolute yes on the diamond stitching but subtle in black or grey. That is my favorite part of the new Avalon.

I would go with smooth on the wheel or my favorite carbon fiber like the s2 mkiv wheels.
 

suprarx7nut

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To address your questions, in order:

1a. Mild contrast would look alright. High contrast, not so much. The Mk3 was never really a flashy car, but it was classy.

1b. Center stripe on any car seems silly to me. I don't care where the wheel appears to be pointed, I'm not looking at it anyway. In a high performance driving situation, I'm far more concerned with where the CAR is going, and adjust my steering accordingly. "Oh noez, my wheel appears to be two degrees further pointed to the left than I intend in this corner, I should correct that," seems like a silly thing to say when pulling upwards of or over 1.0g...

2. For me, all stitching should match. It was mentioned that the dash also has simulated stitching, worth taking into account, although it is a subtle thing, it might be noticeable by some.

3. Quilted look is classy enough for Bentley and Ferrari... Personally I like it if kept in moderation. Seat centers, door inserts. Probably where I'd call it a day in that department.

Alcantara is nice stuff. Megan's Miata has it in the seat inserts, from the factory. Apparently someone at Mazda realized, sometime in the early 2000's, that leather and flat seats are a bad combo in a car with such high grip levels...
Awesome feedback, thanks!

No on the center stripe. Absolute yes on the diamond stitching but subtle in black or grey. That is my favorite part of the new Avalon.

I would go with smooth on the wheel or my favorite carbon fiber like the s2 mkiv wheels.
Thanks!


So based on feedback from you lovely folks and some additional consideration on my part, here's my plan:

1a. Steering Wheel: Black Alcantara with black stitching

1b. No center stripe.

2. Interior: diamond stitch on alcantara for door inserts; alcantara boots; undecided on center console cover for material, but no diamond stitch.


A big part of these decisions was seeing how mince the shadow grey looks on a clean interior on Japan Classics importation site. I think the alcantara accents and a color change (blue to dark grey) will really clean up the interior. I plan to paint the interior to a nice shadow grey-like color. No more blue interior on this car!

*Oh, I also just bought a couple OEM leather shift knobs. I couldn't find the TRD ones, so new OEM will have to do.
 

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Not a fan of the blue interior? I loved mine... so unique! In fact, part of why I want an S2000 is because they offer a similar color on a couple of their color combos.

Japanese Classics does bring in some clean cars, that much is for certain.
 

suprarx7nut

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#24
The new lexus GS-F has suede, so I stand corrected.

View attachment 80273
I thought your OEM comment was about the Supra. AKA Not OEM for the MK3.

Alcantara or Suede is all over modern performance cars for most makes now , at least as an option. I think Lexus is behind in that regard. It's mostly higher end specs because it will wear like crap for the average driver, but it's becoming more and more prevalent in "enthusiast" cars. I really like the dashes in suede like in that Lexus GS-F.

Redline forgot about me so this has fallen down my priority list, but I still hope to tackle some of it this winter!
 

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Well, I've got everything on order.

I went with black alcantara with black stitching for the wheel. No center stripe. Kept it simple. ~$475 shipped.

For the console cover and boots I went dark charcoal with matching stitching. ~$150 shipped.

I'll report back when it's in my hands and again when it's installed!

The wheel was sent to Dallas Custom Steering Wheel in Texas and the other parts were ordered from Redline Goods in Poland.
 

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#26
Nice, show some photos when you get it done.

I am debating re upholstering my stock steering wheel as well, but if I do it I plan on also cutting / welding and reshaping it.
Moving from the stock round wheel to something close to this -> Momo EAG35BK0S

Or I may just buy the wheel and forget the stock one.
If i go that route I would re-design a custom set of buttons to retain cruise function on the aftermarket wheel.
 

suprarx7nut

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Nice, show some photos when you get it done.

I am debating re upholstering my stock steering wheel as well, but if I do it I plan on also cutting / welding and reshaping it.
Moving from the stock round wheel to something close to this -> Momo EAG35BK0S

Or I may just buy the wheel and forget the stock one.
If i go that route I would re-design a custom set of buttons to retain cruise function on the aftermarket wheel.
If I didn't have an airbag wheel, I'd have just bought a different wheel. That Momo (and a couple others like it) look really nice in a MK3.