INSIDE STORY: CLASSIC FX
Garry Hall’s Porsche trimming business.
How did you become upholsterer of classic Porsches?
It wasn’t intentional! I studied electronics and mechanical engineering while at university, but bagged a job working part-time at a local coach trimmer to help make ends meet while I was a student. After finishing my studies, I was invited to serve as a full-time member of the team, which I did for about twelve months, before leaving to establish my own engineering company, which kept me be busy for the next fifteen years. The success of the business enabled me to buy a variety of air-cooled Porsches and, during this time, I restored a 356. Utilising the skills I learned during my time as an automotive upholsterer, I retrimmed the car’s interior. At shows, people would ask who did the work. After I confirmed it was me, they’d request repairs to their own classic Porsche interiors. Before long, I found myself re-upholstering 356, early 911 and 912 seats. When I sold the engineering firm fifteen years ago, the decision to take what I’d learned about running a business and combine it with my trimming skills, as well as my love of old Porsches, made perfect sense. Thus, Classic FX was born.
Where is Classic FX based?
Surrey, fifteen minutes from Gatwick airport. There are three of us working on site, including myself.
What cars do you cater for?
Ninety percent of the jobs we turn out are for Porsche sports cars, and of that quota, more than half are jobs commissioned by owners of pre1973 911s. We usually have six old Porsches on site at any one time, with short-wheelbase 911s a regular fixture of the Classic FX workshop. We work on a fair number of G-series 911s, of course, but the primary focus of our retrimming service is the 356, early 911 and 912.
Tell us about your popular Porsche fabrics.
The story starts with the fact I couldn’t find a Pepita (houndstooth) fabric which perfectly matched the OEM material Porsche used in period. In my quest for Porsche trimming perfection, I commissioned the manufacturing of fifty metres of Pepita woven in black and white by a weaver here in the UK. The process started with an original piece of seat fabric sent to the weavers for analysis. They then recreated the pattern, colour and repeat adopted by the original manufacturer, a process which resulted in an exact reproduction of the OEM fabric. Once my new Pepita had been produced, it underwent what’s known as the Martindale Test, which is essentially a measurement of the durability of fabric according to the amount of times discs can oscillate sandpaper or wool across the material before it starts to show distress. The rub test score is internationally recognised and measures the durability of upholstery fabric for general use. The material is categorised by a numerical score to show how durable it is. Having scored favourably, my first run of fabric has since been shipped around the globe to the delight of Porsche owners. I now stock different colour combinations, too — let me know if you’re after Pepita in red, black and white, or blue, black and white. I keep many metres in stock at all times. I also stock OEM material used to trim the 911 (991) 50th Anniversary Edition.
What new trends are you seeing in Porsche personalisation?
There’s definitely more of a drive to return early cars to their factory specification, and we work on many Porsches where the owner wants to retain patina. In other words, a seat might need repairing, but we have to use period-perfect materials, such as old vinyl, to ensure the overall look and feel of the car’s cabin remains unaltered. A rapidly growing part of the Classic FX service, however, is our creation and supply of replacement seat centre covers for 996, 997, 991 and 992 lightweight sports seats and folding buckets. The centres are detachable, held on by Velcro, and feature fabric covers. Using our Pepita fabrics and sourced OEM Porsche materials in all colours, we can offer a perfect replacement for your car’s original seat centres. If you fancy an early Pepita look for your new GT3’S interior, or maybe you’ve got an orange 911 and want the colour extended to the car’s fabric seat centres, these covers are an excellent solution. I even have stock of the 911R’s Agate Grey and Black Silver material, as per special orders for the factory. Simply remove your seat centres, remove the covers (again, held in place by Velcro), fit the Classic FX covers to your now bare cushions and then place them back onto the seats. It’s that simple!
We understand you’re working hard to combat bolster wear, too?
Correct. Classic FX now offers custom bolster protection covers for Porsche fixed carbon lightweight bucket seats. Produced in OEM leather with stitching to match your car’s existing interior, they simply slip over the seats to protect them from the typical wear and tear caused by jeans and trousers rubbing against rigid protruding bolsters. Visit our website at classicfx.net to view the various options for these products, as well as installation instructions. You can also take a look at our latest air-cooled Porsche projects, including classic Targa roof refurbishment.
Thanks for your time, Garry. It’s appreciated.