Since the dawn of time, Mustang enthusiasts have always taken pride in finding unique and clever ways to customize their rides in a way that truly reflects their personal style.
While many of us spend the majority of our time and money concentrating on the performance or exterior aspects of our build, taking the time to tackle your vehicle’s interior is something that can often be overlooked or put off to a later date.
This can be especially true with late model performance vehicles. Let’s face it; installing a set of customized seats on your S550 Mustang can seem like a daunting task and may be something that not many of us genuinely put on our priority list.
Not because we don’t think it will add a custom touch to our projects, but more often than not it is because we really do not realize just how easy and cost effective an upgrade like this install can be.
For over 20 years, TMI Products has specialized in developing high-quality interior components for new and classic model vehicles around the world. But it was the late model offerings that were on display at last year’s Mustang Week in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina that caught our eye.
Choosing a custom seat option from TMI for your S550 Mustang will allow you to have an interior that is completely unique. - Larry Ashley, TMI Products
The company debuted a new line of OE-color-matched race seats for enthusiasts to test out as well as a Pro Chicane seat for SN95 - S197 owners that utilized the exact factory upholstery options. The available customization that these seats were offering enthusiasts got us thinking. How would an otherwise stock S550 Mustang benefit from a custom seat install from TMI? And would it be worth the effort?
TMI 2015 EcoBoost Mustang Seat Upgrade
We reached out to Larry Ashley, Marketing Director at TMI Products to find out if we could install a complete set of custom color matched seats to an otherwise stock S550 Mustang. Larry informed us that his daughter Juliana had a Competition Orange 2015 EcoBoost Mustang that we could use for the install.
“Choosing a custom seat option from TMI for your S550 Mustang will allow you to have an interior that is completely unique,” replied Larry. “With over 25 different patterns to choose from and an almost endless array of color combinations, you can truly design a customized seat that fits your dream build.”
Juliana’s S550 still had the stock cloth seats installed, and she was looking at color matching her pony’s interior with the same color as her vehicle’s exterior. She was also looking for a bit of additional support during spirited driving sessions that would give her EcoBoost project a more aggressive appeal.
Unboxing The TMI S550 Upholstery Kit
For this particular S550, we installed the full 2015+ Mustang TMI Sport-R Full Set Highback Seat Upholstery Kit. The Sport-R Kit allowed us to keep the OEM seat and swap out the foam and fabric of the front and rear seats of the vehicle by merely taking the seats out of the car and building off the existing skeleton and hardware.
What makes this install so unique is that this type of installation keeps all of the safety and electronic components intact. This includes the factory side airbags that now come standard on many late model performance vehicles.
Once we found the ideal seat pattern for the vehicle, the next step was finding the perfect color for Juliana’s seats. By simply visiting the TMI website and clicking on the “swatches” tab, you can choose from an extensive list of colors and patterns that fit your build.
TMI will even send you an array of swatches for free to ensure you are ordering your custom seats with the perfect color.
Once we found a swatch that matched the Competition Orange exterior of the Mustang, the team ordered the upholstery to be built, and we waited for Larry to give us a call once the pattern came in.
When we arrived at the TMI headquarters in Corona, CA on the install date, the team went right to work pulling the stock seats out of the Mustang and installing the new custom interior. The S550 kit comes with direct replacement foam inserts and new custom exterior leather or vinyl of your choice for the front seats. The rear seat upholstery uses the stock rear foam.
When it comes time to order an upholstery kit from TMI, the company will ask what type of stock seats your car currently has, and it sends the kit with matching installation points and velcro points that come with the stock seats to ensure a proper fit.
Although TMI does not offer individual customer installation at its facility, for the sake of this article they were able to install the complete kit to show us just how easy it is to install this kit on your stock vehicle.
Removing the stock seat upholstery will require the use of basic hand tools, and we recommend checking with your local install shop in your area for the installation as steam and heat may be needed to expand the leather to ensure a proper fit.
For enthusiasts interested in tackling the install as a weekend project, TMI does provide install instructions for many of its most popular kits and you can also view install videos as well. TMI informed us that S550 installation support is available upon request.
The first thing we noticed was just how much added bolstering the new seat provided. The replacement foam has a race car like feel, and when we put the seat next to the stock cloth seats, we wondered why these cars do not come like this from the factory.
Even though the S550 Mustang can be ordered with the upgraded Recaros from the factory, it has been well documented that for a daily driver these enhanced seats from the factory are less than ideal.
For thousands less, the TMI seat upgrade offers a more comfortable seat than the factory Recaros, yet is still 100% compatible with all the electronic seat functions that come with the vehicle. The total install took less than a day, and the team had both the front and rear seats re-installed back into the car in no time at all.
Once the seats were re-installed correctly, we spent some time testing out the seats for comfort. Having never been a fan of the stock cloth seats in the S550, the TMI Sport-R Full Set Highback Seat Upholstery Kit was a welcome upgrade to this S550.
The color match was spot on and the sport-style posture that this new seat presented made the Competition Orange Mustang stand out in a crowd.
If you are an S550 owner interested in customizing the interior of your vehicle, we highly recommend taking a look at the unique options that TMI Products has available for your Pony. For a complete list of upgrades for your late model Ford vehicle, you can click on the companies official website here.