Our recent seven-day trip in the CTBNL was the first big road trip we have taken in it since we bought it last year. When we got home both of us commented how the seats in the car didn’t seem as comfortable as the ones in the Emperor. They are the same seats in both cars except the Emperor’s seats were covered in tan leather with about 58,000 perforations in the center sections instead of the black cloth of the CTBNL.
The only thing I can think of that would make that much difference between cloth & leather is stick-a-tude. In the cloth seats, you plunk your butt down and that is pretty much where you stay. This which is why the autocross guys love ‘em, you don’t slide around a lot in the turns. With the leather, there is just enough slippage that after a few minutes of driving your butt self-centers in its most comfortable position.
So, we have (re)started to explore getting leather upholstery.
At an MMC Bug Splat event a few years ago, there was a couple in the club who had recently had their seats recovered in leather at a local shop and were showing them off. Because at that time the leather seats in the Emperor were getting tired looking and worn in spots, we had been considering that same job. We oohed and aahed appropriately as both Donna and I thought it looked really nice. When we asked how much it cost, it sounded expensive ($1200), so we tabled the idea and decided to think of the wear on our seats as patina1, not a defect.
That four-figure price above included installation and the hive mind that is the Miata.net Forums say it is a do-it-yourself job. I’ve looked at a couple of guides on there and it is possibly doable even for me, but it will probably take me not the 8 hours claimed, but a whole weekend to do the job. That same wisdom recommends either LeatherSeating.com or Katzkin as the quality leather upholstery to buy. The price (shipped) direct from LeatherSeating is $750. The Katzkins are only sold through re-sellers and there is only one vendor on the forum shopping page that sells them, GoMiata, and a set shipped from them is $670. Either way I’ll still need another $30 for hog-ring pliers and the rings. Coming up with the $700 free dollars won’t be the hardest part about re-upholstering the seats though, it will be setting aside a full weekend of not driving the Miata…
On the way back from Columbia on Saturday the CTBNL passed the 58,000 mile plateau.