Upgrades from Coby Wheel, Wet Okole and Sparkplugs.com!

Project M3: Part 9 – Interior upgrades kept simple

Enhancing the overall driving experiece in one afternoon.

by Pablo Mazlumian

If you’re reading MotoIQ.com you’re probably like us in the sense that driving a performance car for you is a real, visceral experience that excites all your senses.  A large chunk of that is arguably from the senses aroused by the car’s interior, and despite what might come from the engine and overall performance.

When it comes to interior upgrades, two senses are really stimulated, including vision and tactition (touch).  And, depending on the upgrade, a third sense can come into play, which is olfaction, or smell, but stimulating it from passing more gas (through the motor!) isn’t what we’re talking about.  We’re talking the sights, feels and smells from new interior parts that we’ve installed on Project E46 M3.  Let’s check them out.


Coby Wheel offers Alcantara® upgrades for your factory BMW parts, including for E82 1 Series; E36, E46 and E90/92 3 Series; as well as E39 and E60 5 Series BMWs. For our E46 M3 we had our steering wheel, arm rest, shift and E-brake knobs and corresponding boots all wrapped in Alcantara®.

While Alcantara® is often referred to as “suede” or “suede leather”, it’s really an artificial substitute that is more durable.  The stuff pretty much created its own category.  Alcantara® is actually a tradename for what was discovered by a Japanese scientist, Miyoshi Okamoto, in 1972.  The product doesn’t fade nor will it bleed its colors like suede can, and for the automotive enthusiast it provides incredible grip with a soft touch, but also without heating up in the summer or cooling down in the winter.   

On steering wheels and shift knobs, Alcantara® has been known to last for years in a car if properly cared for.  The first line of defense is to not drive with dirty hands.  But in the case of needing to clean it, using a nailbrush and a few drops of dish soap with warm water can do the trick.  You get the full details on Coby’s website.


Wet Okole offers aesthetically enhancing Neoprene seat covers to not only protect your car seats from further wear and tear, but also to keep them from getting hot in the summer or cold in the winter.

Neoprene, the same material you find wet suits made of, was invented in 1930 by Dupont scientists, and was originally marketed by Dupont under the trade name, Duprene, but it didn’t excel commercially because it disappointed the olfactory senses—oh whatever, it smelled like crap, okay?

In 1937, after the product was enhanced to smell better, it was decided that the trademark was to be dropped and replaced with the name neoprene, and sold as an ingredient instead of as a finished product.

Compared to natural or synthetic rubber, neoprene is better at resisting degradation and burning (it’s rated at 500F!), so there are a variety of uses for it, including in the cooking, sports, medical and music industries, to name a few, but in the automotive industry you can find it used in gaskets and hoses, and of course seat covers.

Originally started in Hawaii, Wet Okole is one of the best-known seat cover manufacturers, and it claims to have glove-like fitting seat covers for every popular car, truck van or SUV.  These seat covers are also washable and water proof.

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Monday, November 24, 2014 5:47 AM
I had to register real quick because those seat covers look like complete ass. I mean seriously? They fit alright but it still has that landscaping truck appeal.
Monday, November 24, 2014 8:31 AM
I personally think the seat covers look fine, but I'm more of a function over form type of guy. They aren't some nasty and loud color combination like on the Focus ST Recaros, STIs, etc. Or weird plaid inserts like on VW Golfs. Just plain black with some white edging, whatever you call it. Well, I'm just a pretty basic guy, plain black motorcycle helmet, typically solid color shirts...
Pablo Mazlumian
Pablo Mazlumianlink
Monday, November 24, 2014 9:37 AM
If I'm not doing seat replacements, I've always liked these seat covers. You should see how they fit and look on the Vader E36 seats. Unfortunately the picture isn't avail online, but here is a shot of the rear seats in the same car. I just loved this scheme in an estoril blue M3:

EDIT: I did find a pic online of my buddy Jon's M3 coupe with the Vader seats, which was the car used for fitment back in 1998 (car was technoviolet). CHeck out how well it fits the head rest on this otherwise complicated Vader helmet.

If you like plain, I think you would have appreciated what i did with this M3 two projects ago. Bought it black strictly to have CF hood, wing and trunklid without paint, and it blended well. I sure miss this car:
Monday, November 24, 2014 9:50 AM
"I had to register real quick because those seat covers look like complete ass. I mean seriously? They fit alright but it still has that landscaping truck appeal."

I wish this website had a +1 on comment feature.

In the words of Kenny Powers "I said put something nice on, you look like a busted Daytona stripper..."

But hey if you like it, that's all that matters.

-MDR (who had his vaders reupholstered this summer in order to avoid covers)
Pablo Mazlumian
Pablo Mazlumianlink
Monday, November 24, 2014 10:23 AM
Nah, not all that matters. Just the way it is (hey, it's aesthetics). I do encourage the feedback, so I thank you guys.
Covers are a good bang-for-buck because--assuming you like the looks--it saves the factory original seats, plus as I'd mentioned they don't get hot/cold, and are only $100/corner. I think I plan to get the Corbeau seats in Project Supra reupholstered, however. Wouldn't mind some Alcantara in that one since I drive it much less.
We should definitely have a "like" feature on here, I agree.
Nick B
Nick Blink
Monday, November 24, 2014 12:29 PM
I'm not sold on the seat covers either Pablo... but that steering wheel is one nice piece.
Colorado S14
Colorado S14link
Monday, November 24, 2014 10:32 PM
Another +1 for everything but the seat covers. Look up Leatherique, I say try that and you will be suprised how well they turn out.
Connor Harrison
Connor Harrisonlink
Tuesday, November 25, 2014 8:24 AM
Good stuff Pablo, I've been kicking around the idea of spending the money on similar bits for my Legacy GT (wheel, shift boot, ebrake boot, wrapped arm rest). Its tough to cough up the dough for them as I hardly drive the car. It actually hasn't had a battery in it for a few weeks now that I think about it.

I understand the logic and motivation behind the seat covers, but they're just not for me.
Tuesday, November 25, 2014 2:08 PM
Another +1 on the Coby wheel and the ZHP shift knob. I have both on my E39 M5. Usually the first two things I do when I buy a BMW - night and day difference!

Pablo Mazlumian
Pablo Mazlumianlink
Wednesday, November 26, 2014 6:48 PM
@ Colorado: thank you. I will check these guys out--looks like good stuff!
@ Connor: If I had the dough to get the seats I want I would have gotten them in a heartbeat. In the future hopefully. But these do feel a lot nicer than factory. Aesthetically, to each his own of course.
@ Speedblind: agreed!
@ Nick B: disagreed! ;)
Anonymous User
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Tuesday, March 31, 2015 10:30 PM
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