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When I bought my 308, it had a flat-bottomed Nardi steering wheel and a hub extender installed (see photo in my introduction thread), and the original was in a box. I didn't like the wheel's shape and size, and how close to me the extender put it. The original, however, had seen better days!

I had a piece of leather large enough and the perfect white upholstery thread, so I spent last Saturday afternoon and evening re-covering it. Take a look:


1) Original Nardi wheel is dirty and torn:





2) Original leather has been removed, and a new cover has been measured and cut. The original does not make for a good pattern because it is curled and shrunken, and the new leather will stretch. There is a little bit of estimation required in measuring a new piece.

The original wheel was only stitched along the rim, and separate, small pieces of leather were just wrapped and glued around the spokes. I prefer the more complete look of a single piece of leather with stitching going up the sides of the spokes. This is more difficult to do than just straight around the rim. Initially, I purposely cut the spokes too wide, to be trimmed down more exactly during test-fitting:





3) Holes for the stitches have been punched along the perimeter of the new cover, the ends have been sewn together to make it a loop, and the cover is test-fitted on the wheel. The ends and sides of the spokes are the trimmed a bit. The cover is removed, and the ends of the spokes and the seam are folded back and glued with contact cement.

The holes are approximately the same distance apart as on the original stitches. They were made by marking a ruler, using the ruler to mark dots on the leather, and making the holes with a hand-held lever punch.





4) The cover is test-fitted again, the spokes are trimmed slightly more for better fit, and then I begin stitching the new cover in place.

When sewing by hand, it is easier to use waxed thread in a steering wheel cover, which helps to prevent the loosening of the last few stiches as you move forward. But the original white thread from the Nardi wheel was not waxed, so I followed suit. Also, wheareas many steering wheels cross-stitch over the top, the Nardi has parallel stitches on top that cross underneath:





5) The wheel is stitched up. The last step is to brush contact cement on the undersides of the edges and inside of the wheel, and press the edges of the cover into place. Here is the finished product:




It's not perfect, but I am quite happy with it, and it looks impressive mounted on the car.

The things that take the greatest amount of time are measuring and checking everything as you go. The old saying is, "Measure twice, cut once!"

So there it is. My little Saturday 308 improvement project. Eh, good enough! . . .
 

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It looks beautiful! Very impressive!:)

Chris
 

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Awesome Tony!!! Very good job!!
 
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