Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Buckle up: Seat belt restoration begins

What seems like ages ago we posted how a random drive in rural Georgia resulted in a parts discovery. For those who missed it here is the link:

http://dino246blog.blogspot.ca/2011/03/meanwhile-in-rural-georgia.html

The truth is that we have be dreading the seat belt restoration as it has a lot of very specific parts that are hard to get and even harder to reproduce. The 1971 Dino was fitted with Klippan non retracting belts and our car still had its original ones installed. The first step was to photograph the belts in detail before taking anything apart. It was essential to be sure of the original dimensions and stitching on everything.




To our surprise we found the belts to be in amazingly undamaged condition. There was not a single scratch on any plastic part and the chrome was in very good shape with no peeling or deep scratches. Any marks would polish out so that chrome bill was thankfully avoided. Our most pleasant surprise came in the actual webbing which was in excellent condition. There was no fraying or damage of any kind. This was good news because replicating it would have been next to impossible so it is great to have the exact correct pattern to the straps.


Next came full disassembly and categorizing of everything. Plating colours were noted for the end hardware and the photo below shows some of the stripping and prep for re-finishing already under way.


Next up was a washing of the webbing. We will show this image as the first rinse had the water so dirty that you could not make out the belts inside. Over 40 years of accumulated dirt took multiple washings to get out but by the 4th  rinse the water and the belts were clean. Credit goes out to Mom for un-stitching the belts and washing them in the kitchen sink. Thanks Mom :)


Everything was going a little too smoothly until our attention turned to the original homologation labels for which a reproduction is the only answer.  Looks like we are back to hours and hours of creating artwork one pixel at a time followed by a hunt for someone who can print perfectly on a replica fabric that has yet to be found. I must say, the seemingly simplest tasks often take the most time. 


2 comments:

  1. amazing how much dirt was in the webbing. I keep checking back for some pictures of the body progress - ? painted yet??

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    1. Yes we too were amazed as to the dirt hiding in the belts. As for the body it will be revealed soon enough but in the meantime there are lots of other parts to keep us busy.

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