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Rebuilding a 1947 Champion Front Door Armrest

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  • Interior: Rebuilding a 1947 Champion Front Door Armrest

    Hi everybody,

    I thought I'd share my "tear-down" and "rebuild" of the front door armrests from my 1947 Champion Convertible.
    Just as it happens and with no idea of the outcome! More fun that way.

    I considered using the (once) widely available reproduced "Custom" trim level armrest handles, with black plastic covers on a simple U-shape frame, but it just didn't look quite right with the Regal Deluxe trim everywhere else in the car.

    From the Body Parts Catalog I have (1947-1950, dated 1951) these armrests seem to be the same part number (Part # 272110T) for 6G through 9G Champions and 14A through 17A Commanders with leather upholstery interiors. So, I'm hoping this might come in useful for somebody else out there.

    I was lucky enough to have a single and fully intact front door armrest assembly original to my 6G-S2. The red leather covering has fully dried out, the waterproof canvas cloth is worn thin, but the frame is still solid. Amazingly, the original foam rubber pad (Part # 272113) inside was not only intact — but still 90% flexible!

    Click image for larger version

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    The upholstery cover is held on with a "U-shaped" bracket with two screws on the underside of the armrest assembly.

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    With the "U-Bracket" removed, you can see how the upholstery pieces wrap around the frame and pad.

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    The door attachment mounting sides of the armrest bracket typically have a paper fiberboard rectangle panel riveted in place. They have crumbled away in this example, but they're intact on another armrest bracket I plan to use. I'll show them when it comes time to cut a pair for this bracket later on.

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    After (carefully) removing the metal bracket from the foam pad, you can now see the original pad part number more clearly. Part #272113.

    The Body Parts Catalog also lists different armrest and pad part numbers for different upholstery types. Closed body styles (with cloth trim) after 8G / 16A have Pad Part #292351 and Bracket Part #652920P instead. However, the part numbers I mentioned earlier (and as shown in these pics) are listed for both Closed and Convertible cars with leather upholstery through 1950.

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    I also gingerly removed the dried leather and delicate canvas cover from the foam pad. Fortunately, they are intact enough to build a pattern from.
    And, I have a completely intact and still flexible foam arm pad to try to replicate.

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    Hope you enjoyed Part One!
    Hope you'll stay tuned as I try to tackle this restoration job a little further.

    Thanks for watching!
    mbhdesign -

    Michael Hennessey
    Proud Owner
    1947 Studebaker Champion Regal Deluxe Convertible

  • #2
    Cool work. definitely looking forward to future updates.