We are now approaching the end of our Voltavia project with, this time, a return to Style & Design in Maurepas, in Yvelines. This time, it is no longer a question of bodywork, but of upholstery to give a facelift to the passenger compartment. Have we made yet another bold choice that will not win all the votes? Of course.
We are now on the tenth episode of our retrofit series based on the 1969 Skoda Octavia Combi and the lines in our specifications that have not yet been checked are starting to become rare. But there remains one written in bold and capital letters and this time it concerns the interior. And there, again, everything had to be redone: beyond the natural wear linked to 53 years of use by the multitude of posteriors that have followed one another, the interior of our little Czech identifies most of the themes of problems that can be encountered: humidity in the roof liner, door panels with broken fixings, missing pieces of carpet or even rusty seat structures.
In short, this is still not a gift that we gave to our friends from Style & Design and more particularly this time in its saddlery department where we find the talented Isabelle and Thomas who passionately introduced me to this world which was, I admit, totally unknown to me.
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Even if Style & Design is used to unique projects since this is its specialty, this requires particular rigor when tackling a new one, and perhaps a little more on this one where the information available on this generation of Skoda Octavia are becoming particularly rare. It is therefore first necessary to carry out real exploration work in order to determine precisely how the whole thing is designed. Before even dismantling, you must therefore take as many measurements, reference points and photos of all the elements in their place as possible, which will greatly help when reassembling.
Then finally comes the disassembly which must be done with the greatest care, because we do not yet know at this stage what the fate of the parts will be: some will go in the trash, but others will be completely rebuilt. , serve as a template to reproduce them or even be reused after restoration.
Once the dismantling was done, it was necessary to do real collaborative work to make my layman’s ideas a reality, knowing that the list of my requirements was ultimately rather small, but not simple. I wanted bright orange, velvet and I presented the interior of the Peugeot e-Legend concept as a reference. And deal with it. Which they did brilliantly! The choice Several shades were offered to me, ranging from Stabilo visible in the night and fog several kilometers away to the most timid red, and my choice fell on an intermediate citrus variation.
Thomas then used the original deconstructed headdress to serve as a pattern to recreate a new one, adding sewing lines running all along the back and seat as well as Skai piping and n not forgetting to respect the direction of the pile of the velvet. This last aspect may seem like a detail, but it considerably influences the perception that we can have of the color depending on the angle and the light. Please note that in our case, it goes from top to bottom for the backrest and backwards for the seat.
The next chapter is about carpeting the floor. Here, everything had to be created from scratch since the Skoda originally only had a rubber covering with simple mats in this area. It was therefore necessary to start by creating a craft paper template which then served as a pattern to then reproduce it in the final material. Here again, Isabelle has a very simple way of presenting successive tasks, but this obviously requires great know-how and extreme precision to obtain the absolutely impeccable result that was obtained. Thomas then took care of creating a TEP border for the whole thing. Here, black was chosen, which perfectly highlights the color of the upholstery and panels and avoids an overdose of citrus fruits.
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Isabelle then looked at the door panels. Here, the original ones only served as templates to reproduce them entirely, whether at the level of the cap or the support. The visual appearance in three parts has been preserved, with the two upper parts in TEP, one smooth and the second with perfectly straight and symmetrical dimensions (unlike the origin where it was done vaguely by eye, it must be said), and the third made of carpet for reasons of both aesthetics and longevity.
Then finally comes the reassembly phase. Side panels, carpet, rear benches and front seats, the Lego is reconstituted, but it is also this precise moment where the Explorer Green of the bodywork meets the orange of the upholstery for the first time. So, love at first sight or instant rejection? I’ll let you give your opinion in the comments, but if I may have doubted some of my choices throughout this journey and this one made almost the entire team particularly doubtful, I admit to being absolutely delighted of this color combination.
Finally, a quick aside to come back to our wheel assembly problem from the previous episode: the rear skirts were slightly reworked to no longer come into contact with the tire and we had track spacers made of remarkably light aluminum to free the rim from the steering link and better fill the wing in the process.
Next week, we will tackle the finishing touches: our Skoda Octavia must now receive a certain number of modern equipment that must be found in any modern electric car worthy of the name.
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