Mexican Blankets for Hot Rods and Custom Cars
A Mexican Serape blanket is an affordable, popular, and good-looking alternative to worn-out interiors in hot rods, customs, gassers, daily drivers, and beaters.
The History of Mexican and Indian Blankets in Cars
Mexican and Indian blankets in cars go back to at least the 1940s. In 1941 you could order your stock Chrysler in a wide variety of interior colors and patterns. The best-known interior design of 1941 was a model called Highlander, which featured plaid seats and a plaid convertible top cover. A less known design was the "Navajo" trim, which was available in the Navajo and the Thunderbird option.
Mexican Blankers Were Cool in the 1950s
According to Howard Gribble, both Mexican and Indian blankets were commonly used to cover over aging and worn stock upholstery in the 1950s and the 1960s. "But sometimes seen over new custom tuck and roll as protection for everyday use. This was especially important in an era when most custom upholstery was partly or wholly white and showed even the slightest soiling. For cruising and car show display the blanket would be put away." In February of 2021, Howard recalled seeing brand new custom interiors where the owner immediately covered the seats with clear plastic covers. "So the seat covering was well protected but at the cost of aesthetics, it seemed to me." Memo Ortega could confirm Howard's story. "Yep we used em way back," he commented on Instagram. According to Memo a lot of guys used them to cover their worn-out seats, while others used them to cover-up their tuck and toll seats. "It was hard to keep the white tuck and roll clean." According to Memo you also used the blankets if you wanted to be cool.
In Texas Saddleblankets Were Also Commonly Used
According to Wes Richey the Mexican blankets were very common in San Antonio and South Texas. Saddle blankets were also common for people in the area that didn't have the money it took to get their interior done. Supposedly used since the 1940s, Wes saw a lot of them in the 1970s, usually in early 1950s cars belonging to hippies barbecuing at the city parks on the weekend. 1950s cars were cheap as dirt back then, and it was a cheap solution to bad upholstery in an old used car. In 2021 Wes recalled that folks crossing the border usually brought a few backs on their Tequilla runs.
Tom Walters first saw Mexican blankets in Chula Vista, California in 1968. "I was 10 years old and I had a grown-up cousin living there. We would go to the Safeway nearby every night to see the lowriders. They would cruise and jump their cars and drop the rear end and make lots of sparks. Some had flames coming out of their tailpipes. When we went to Tijuana with him I bought a real wool Saltillo blanket to put on the bench seat of my mom's 62 Pontiac Starchief."
The Big Comeback
In the mid-1990s Mexican Serape blankets became real popular in traditional hot rods all over the world. They became very popular very fast, and in 1994 Mr. Wolf used a Mexican blanket to cover up a bloody Nova in the movie Pulp Fiction. Mexican blankets are still popular in 2021. Not as popular as they were in the 1990s and the 2000s, but you still see them covering up beaten-up interiors in hot rods, customs, and daily drivers all over the world. Just as back in the days, they are also commonly used for protecting expensive custom upholstery jobs. Today many have become tired of the traditional Serape blankets, and they are searching out to find nice alternatives, such as Indian Blankets, Saddle Blankets, or Pendleton Blankets.
Alternatives to Mexican Blankets
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