There is just something about a leather interior. The smell and feel just exude class and style, and having leather in a truck takes it a step up. The factories know this; they put leather-covered seats in most of the higher-end pickups on the lot. The only problem with that is though the factory leather is nice, it doesn't look ultracustom. Clean, yes-custom, not so much. So if you're planning to buy a brand-new ride to trick out, it would be a good idea to get the base-model interior and then reskin the seats to suit your particular style.
To make this process easy, companies like Roadwire take brand-new trucks and pattern the seats and door panels. With a master pattern in hand, they can quickly pump out a set of covers in just about any combo you can think up. Leather, cloths, and exotic skins are available with numerous sewing and detail options like custom embroidery. The covers are exact duplicates of the originals, so if you pay attention to how the factory cover comes off you can get the new one back on. There are a few helpful procedures to make the job come out right, which we'll show you.
Galen Armenta, the feature editor at Mini Truckin', is getting close to the end of his Colorado build, and the interior was one of the final items he needed to tackle. He bought the vehicle with the base-model interior, knowing he was going to scrap most of it anyway. Galen's covers of choice are a gray leather and yellow hound's-tooth combination with a bit of yellow detail stitching. The leather and hound's-tooth is a mixture of classic muscle car and refined luxo barge. (The exterior of the truck has a Smokey Yunick-style, black-and-gold two-tone paintjob, so you can see where the hound's-tooth comes in.) Because Roadwire doesn't offer a hound's-tooth, we had to get some from a buddy's upholstery shop. Roadwire will use customer materials, but only if they won't mess up any of the company's tools or production procedures.
To complete the process yourself, you don't need some of the high-end tools seen in this story, but you will need some basic handtools, hog rings, and hog-ring pliers. So if you're looking to customize the seats in your truck, check out how easy it is for a competent gearhead. If you're still a little leery after reading this, any upholstery shop would be happy do it for you.