VW Beetle Seats + Doortrims - Our Shed

By: Glenn Torrens, Photography by: Glenn Torrens

Presented by

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Glenn Torrens gets down and dirty cleaning a set of VW Beetle pooey pews

My mate Don pulled apart a rusty VW Beetle in his garage. I’m not sure where Don acquired this thing, but somewhere in a tropical rainforest near a beach is a good guess as it had rust holes big enough to drop coconuts through. The remaining useful parts were removed before the corroded skeleton was loaded onto a trailer and taken to the scrappies.

The Beetle died but its donated organs are keeping others alive!

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I bought the seats and door trims. Don’s rusty Bug was a one-year-only model which means the seats are difficult to find, so I thought I’d save them for a future Beetle project. As many car enthusiasts know, finding correct parts can sometimes be a challenge so you grab components as you find them, even if you don’t need them yet!

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Moisture had destroyed the seats' matching door cards but the vinyl will be installed on another set of backing boards

The seats were filthy – and the door trims’ Masonite backing boards crumbling – from sitting around in the weather for who-knows-how-long, but I could see that under the grime they didn’t have any rips and the beading along the seat cushions’ edges – which often comes adrift – was intact.

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A variety of scrubbing brushes can be found in hardware stores. Micro-fibre cleaning cloths work great

I reckoned that with a good clean, these seats could be almost pristine again.

There are many different types of cleaners; sometimes the big-buck ones are crap and sometimes the cheaper supermarket stuff works surprisingly well. A few years ago, I discovered a citrus-based degreaser, Citra-Force. It’s produced in Queensland by the same mob that produces Lanotec, the lanolin (from sheep wool) corrosion inhibitor I use on my salt-lake racer VW and my 4WD. Citra-Force is a very effective cleaner/degreaser for cars and the active ingredient, citrus oil (derived from orange juice production) seems to replenish the vinyl as it cleans it.

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Freezer bags can be used to prevent cleaning fluid from drying out, giving it time to work on the stains

So I spent a very pleasant sunny summer afternoon scrubbing the grime from the seats. Some of the more stubborn stains – I’m not sure if it was chewing gum or tree sap – benefited from being soaked under a plastic bag for 20 mins or so to give the Citra-Force time to work on the stains without drying out or flowing away.

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A liberal application of elbow grease and this is the result. Night and day

After a few hours – and a few beers, with Unique Cars’ words wizard Adam Morrissey as a drinking companion – the seats were transformed, with only a few deeper, darker stains remaining. The final task for the seats’ revival was to swap their rust-damaged base frames for a good spare set that I’d retained from another dead Beetle.

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After a successful clean, the seats' original bases were replaced with good second-hand ones

Almost spotlessly clean and re-framed, these VW seats are now stashed in my spare bedroom, ready for a future project.


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