TOTYl Ressurection is Back!
We Outfit Our ’97 F-150 with Custom Lightning Leather Seats from TMI
Some of you may remember a few years back when we dragged this beaten-down 1997 Ford F-150 Lariat out of the parking lot and gave it a new life. The truck is significant because it's the actual truck that Ford delivered to MotorTrend magazine back in 1996 for testing. This truck won the coveted Truck of the Year award for '97—the first year of this body style, and somehow the truck has remained a member of the staff ever since. After seeing it abandoned in the parking lot, Truckin commandeered the F-150 and brought it back to life. It has served us well as a parts hauler and occasional tow vehicle.
Recently, after sitting in the company parking lot for a couple months, we jumped in the truck to find that the head unit had been stolen, along with a few other odds and ends. The battery was also totally dead. But as you can see in the before photos, we had a much more pressing matter if we were going to get this truck looking respectable again. The factory Lariat leather had just about had it when we started working on the truck the first time, but sliding our butts in and out of a lifted truck and letting it sit in the sun all the time took its toll and the seats literally started coming apart.
Luckily for us, we had a remedy for this situation. TMI products, long known in the muscle car and VW world, and more recently blowing up in the C10 world, provide upholstery solutions for nearly every popular classic car and truck with both replacement interiors and custom options. We were shocked that they had custom seat options for the '97-'03 F-150s, but the reason why is pretty straightforward. The SVT Lightnings of this era are still extremely popular, and TMI jumped in to provide a simple to install leather seat option for them. Of course, Lightnings all had gray interiors and no back seat, but the folks at TMI knew guys like us would be bugging them, so they had already created a pattern for the rear seat. And the color change is not a deal breaker; you can custom order any color you want. We chose two different tan colors and black thread, a combo that matches the dash and panels of our truck even better than the factory seats ever did! We spent a couple days out at TMI headquarters and learned a few things while the experts busted out our new interior and installed it, and we couldn't be happier with the results. Check out the TMI website to see what's available for your classic truck, and check back next month when we address a couple other interior issues and make our parts hauler good as new—on the inside anyway.