FAITH, HOPE & CHARITY
John’s steadfast belief that he will get to use his Monza this year is bolstered by a charity shop find
1985 OPEL MONZA GSE 3.6 ‘IRMSCHER’
Ifreely admit that I’m of a larger stature (well, for someone who isn’t American anyway), so the Recaro seats fitted as standard in Monza GSEs have always been too narrow for my 20-stone 6ft 4in frame. I solved this a few years ago by buying a larger Recaro seat known officially as the Expert M.
It wasn’t cheap, but used the original’s mounting-bolt pattern and was wonderfully comfortable when coupled with the lowered seat rail that custom guru Dave Harris made for me. That 30mm drop created a Monza GSE driving interface that fitted me like a glove, but the all-black seat didn’t match the other seats and passengers of a larger stature struggled to get in to – and, amusingly, out of – the narrow bucket passenger seat.
However, I wasn’t keen on spending another £1000 on matching the passenger seat, especially as I’ve never liked the rather harsh standard Recaro black cloth. I finally stumbled upon a matching Expert M in an Essex charity shop. It was grey and fluffy but I was going to re-cover it anyway so it was a bargain at just £50. Aston Martin had a sale of Alcantara when it moved trim shops a few years ago, and I managed to pick up some rolls of the genuine stuff in what looked like the claret colour of my Monza. Now I had a pair of seats and, with the car in bits, it seemed like a good time to finally action the plan to have matching front seats – the back seat will have to wait for when funds allow. I took both seats along to the everhelpful Sandra at PJM Trimmers in Shropshire, who found some nice black leather for the sides and back and used my Alcantara for the centre section. This meant I had enough left over to do the rear seat to match, if I can ever afford it! Sandra called a week or so later to say that trimmer, Terry Eccleston, had the seats apart and had discovered that some of the foam was perished beyond salvage.
Sandra suggested I call Recaro as she believed it still supplied foam for most of its old designs. It does, and considering how much new Recaro seats are, I’d definitely recommend buying new foam to restore old ones as it was very reasonable – around £250 for both seats. It was easy to order, too, because we had the numbers from the original covering. The results are stunning to behold – the sort of really nice job I’ve come to expect from PJM – and my first ‘sit’ in it in the workshop felt very comfortable.
These details are important as I’m building a car to drive, not to show. If only we could finish the project and actually get it to the MoT station!
The list of jobs left to do on the Monza is shrinking now that the brakes have been rebuilt, but I still have to re-pipe the corroded fuel system; it works, but wouldn’t pass an MoT so I’m intending to add a new pipe, front to back.
I need to sort the steering column issues and put the rest of the interior back together. Then, once it’s MoT’d, I can sort the aircon and get the wheelarches rebuilt and painted. I live in hope of actually using the car this summer.
Maybe, just maybe…
‘I’d definitely recommend buying new foam to restore old seats as it was very reasonable – around £250 for both seats’
THANKS TO: pjm-motors.com and capitalseating.co.uk
Monza needs a new fuel pipe to pass an MoT. Matching Expert M Recaros laid bare. Terry strips the seat of its original hard Recaro fabric. Alcantara centres came from an Aston Martin sale.