To know how to buy vintage car fabric for a restoration project, you need to find the fabric code used by the original equipment manufacturer. Find this OEM code by checking a Detroit sample book and finding your car in the book. Then, select the fabric's original color. To get your hands on a Detroit book, visit an upholstery shop that specializes in automotive interiors rather than furniture, or an upholstery fabric supplier. An internet search through your favorite search engine will yield some suppliers that allow customers to review the Detroit book online. However, color images might not be available online, and if they are, the colors might not be true.
Restoring a car with the original, which is now vintage, fabric will increase its value, while non-OEM fabric potentially diminishes the car's value. Manufactured interior kits made from the original fabric are also available for many popular cars for restorers who prefer not to sew. When you are ready to begin looking for your vintage fabric code, you will need to know:
- The year of your vehicle – The year is the first information you need to know, because Detroit books are organized by year. If, for example, you look at a 1980 book when looking for original vintage fabric for a 1982 car, you might get a fabric that is close, or you might get a fabric that is nothing like the original.
- The manufacturer of the car – Detroit books are sub-divided into manufacturer categories.
- The car's model – Detroit books have each model of car made by the manufacturers listed alphabetically.
- If your car came from the factory with any special packages installed, like luxury or super sport editions – Manufacturers often use two different shades of the same color when special packages are created, one for standard vehicles and another for the higher priced version. So, you need to know which fabric suits your vintage vehicle to get the right fabric.
When you have found your car's interior codes, you can buy the vintage car fabric you need from an upholstery shop or from an online upholstery fabric supplier.