"In this Special Series about the OE+ Recaro Pole Position custom seat program, I document the process to converting a standard Pole Position to an OE+ seat for my E46 M3.
In this entry, we tear into the original seats and start laughing. We explore what makes M-Texture special and get to work on converting the Nardo Arista covers.
We finally get to test fit the seats in the car. Set your expectations: bucket seats need adjustments after a drive."
What sofa guys don't know.
We wanted to tear into the OEM seats to better understand the heating elements, airbags and other components.
The front seats' center section had previously be reupholstered using a perforated leatherette. It was off spec, leading David at Recovered to believe these had been redone by a furniture guy.
As we tore into the cover, David's intuitions proved true. We found padding material that was taken straight from your grand ma's sofa.
The padding was funny, it got worst as we undid the center section to reveal the inner foam and heated element.
The previous upholstered hadn't bothered removing the previous M-Texture upholstery, he instead stitched right over it.
This is a prime example of corners cut in the upholstery, but it's also a sign of owners not knowing the ins and outs of a quality upholstery job.
It did seem he tried to remove the M-Texture, as a part of the center section had the perforated Alcantara layer removed. For the purpose of this entry, it did have its use.
M-Texture was special: it made a brief apperance in the E39 M5 and E46 M3, never to be seen again. It was a multi layered fabric with a bottom pad, a printed grey section and a perforated Alcantara section glued on top.
Unfortunately, M-Texture wears poorly over time. The upper perforated section can tear and even unglue from the printed fabric section.
We had options.
BMW never officially sold the fabric, leading to many M-Texture interiors being left in trashed conditions or swapped for other interior upholsteries.
The previous owner didn't know he had options to source replicas of the M-Texture from US and European sources.
We sourced various fabrics to experiment for the custom seat program, including a 1:1 replica of M-Texture.
We pulled the velcro'ed covers off the Recaro seat and aligned it on the M-Texture sheet to get a sense of much would fabric would be needed.
We cut through the stitches on the original Recaro covers to create the templates needed to precisely reproduced the covers.
The cover was also aligned to take into consideration the unique M-Texture colored pattern. We wanted to avoid having uneven seats and patterns being cut off by plyes.
With the templates created, we cut through the replica M-Texture and stitched each section together, using new velco on the custom covers to fit to the shell.
David commented multiple times on the quality of the replica M-Texture, impressed by the overall quality when compared to the original fabric remaining in the car.
The covers were relatively straight forward to recreate once we had aligned the patterns. You get a better visual sense of how important this is when the covers are reassembled on the shell.
We pondered doing the outer section of the cover in Nappa leather to match the original seats and overall configuration, but I needed seats and I wanted to drive the car this Summer. We will be revisiting this later on.
With the covers on, we quickly bolted the side mounts to the seat and sliders to test fit the seat in the car. The electricals weren't finished yet, but we wanted to test the seat's alignment with the steering wheel, and height settings.
It all looked great at first, but with buckets seats - it's rarely perfect on the first try.
The M-Texture fabric popped, and brought the interior back to life. It's the first thing you notice when opening the doors.
The seats were a little low, and sitting a tad too straight. My lower back would feel strained on a 30 minute drive.
Fortunately, it was pretty well center'ed already. We had slight adjustments to do to avoid the seat squeezing with the center console.
Things were looking up.
Up next: we finalize the electrical sliders, chat safety and it's a wrap!