Scale model cockpit FPV

cool scale cockpit video

Funny Zoo Snap

man enjoys elephant My wife noticed this in the family archives.

RC Nitro motorcycle racing

rc motorcycle Motorcycle racing in Lilliput.

Manned RC Multicopter

manned multicopter
Here’s an RC multicopter big enough to ride on!

Make: Talk 004

make: Talk 004
I had a fun time talking to Mark Frauenfelder in episode 4 of his new podcast, Make: Talk!

One Man Basement Band

one man band
I feel like I could be getting more mileage out of my right foot.


liberty vintage motorcycles An Etsy portrait. Thanks, Danny.

Tequila Sleeve

tequila the champs
Champs sleeve

Wolf-Stelzer Book Lamp

Book Lamp
My friend Tess just made the cover of ReadyMade with her cool lamp design.

Tree Stump Bug

Can this be for real? The design is so awesomely Thunderbirds. Via

The Nothing Box

nothing box


Thunderbirds are go
Are Go!

Command Center

command center
Sweet assemblage spaceship’s bridge.

Four Drano’s

Watch the sink slowly, all but disappear from the design .

Toothpaste Aerosol

toothpaste aerosol
Aerosol toothpaste

That German car smell

bmw 2002 seats

You know that vintage German car smell?

I’ts a very complex, sort of musty but not unpleasant aroma, somewhat organic and entirely automotive. You smell it when you first get into an old VW, Mercedes or BMW, most noticeably on a warm day after the windows have been rolled up for a while.

One of the primary contributors to that distinctive smell, is the horsehair padding that was used in the seat cushions in these old cars. As it turs out, my horsehair had turned to a sort of horse dust.

bmw 2002 seats

The rest of the seats weren’t really in the best shape either so, as long as the car was going to be inoperable for a while longer, I fugured that I would take the opportunity to redo the seats.

bmw 2002 seats

In order to preserve the German car smell, and take advantage of what little utility was left in the horsehair, I agumented/ecapsulated it with some foam carpet pad material. This pink layer not only restores some lost bulk to the seats, but will prevent the brown stuff from raining down on the floor as it further deteriorates.

bmw 2002 seats

I then installed a pre-sewn upholstery kit from World Upholstery and Trim. The covers are really nicely sewn, fit perfectly, and match the factory upholstery really well.

bmw 2002 seats

bmw 2002 seats

17 Responses to “That German car smell”

  1. jacob Says:

    Now that’s an improvement!

  2. Alex Says:

    I love it! Most people want their cars to be Maytag appliances. Saving disintigrating horsehair padding to maintain an authentic aroma is like the 45th level of auto zen mastery. Nice work.

  3. vladimir kerchenko Says:

    yas, but how do you know it came a REEEAAAL horse ?? “No Sir, I am a genoo-wine horse!”

  4. KenB Says:

    I agree with Alex. 45th level Zen mastery. Consumers don’t get this. Brand new cars with iPod docks and muted piezo-electric doorchimes don’t do it for me. Gimme a seat full of horsehair, hand cranked windows and a 2-point seatbelt any day!

  5. Nathan Says:

    Totally awesome. I remember the mess that the horsehair left when I pulled the seats out of a 73 super beetle. Fun stuff.

  6. vladimir kerchenko Says:

    now, lets get this straight…. a horse has a coat, call it hair , call it fur , call it what ever.

    last time i looked at a horse, he kept his “hair” damn SHORT. like so short you could never ger enough of it to stuff an auto seat. it would be more like sand or the dust steve pulled from his old seats.

    so, okay, a horse’s mane and tail have long “hair” gut thin how many VW’s and BMW’s were sold….. safe to say it would take one horse’s tail AND his mane to stuff all the seats in a car. okay, there goes one horse back to grow his “hair” out for a year.

    folks, we are talikng about A LOT of horses….. I don’t think there were enough to go around to stuff the seats with their “hair”

    please, someone explain this horse-____ to me!

  7. KenB Says:

    vladimir, it really is hair from horses.

    horses were kept as work animals all over the world, and when they were “retired” they were rendered into products like glue, bone meal, dog food, and furniture padding. they took the longer mane and tail and mixed it with glue to make it stiffer. few parts were wasted. cars were not very common, horses were.

    now that’s its the other way around, we use different materials for padding. but glue and animal feed is still made from horses.

  8. vladimir kerchenko Says:

    nnooooooo! poor wil horseys!!

  9. Bob Says:


    -I miss my Audi. Like Apollo’s chariot, nobody could drive it but me.

  10. KenB Says:

    At the risk of beating a dead horse (BOO!! HISS!!), here’s an article I found today on horse slaughter in the United States. Plants slaughtered about 88,000 horses, mules and other equines in 2005. American horse meat is sold mostly for human consumption in Europe and Asia, although some goes to U.S. zoos.

  11. Slav Says:

    Well, in case if someone wants to improve on the horsehair padding, here’s the process:


  12. Slav Says:

    Regardless, if after the above mentioned process you still have some horsehair padding left, you can list it on http://www.abccarparts.com/

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  17. Jack Taylor Says:

    The padding is horse hair in name only. If your think about the odor, you notice something slightly familiar with that odor? Furthermore, if you burn a strand of it, you’ll know it’s not REAL horse hair.

    The material that is referred to as horse hair is…… wait for it…

    Coconut fiber!

    Yep, that casing the coconut is taken from has lots of useful fibers that can be used for lots of things. Since foam is now readily available, most go to that. However, back in the day the inexpensive shaped coconut fiber was very cost effective for the company and it was normally regarded as waste.