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Hey all,

I've been on the hunt for a spare / replacement pair of the interior door pulls for some time. Alfa in their infinite wisdom would like you to purchase a complete interior door panel just for the handle - which is slightly insane - once you remove it from the door panel it's a separate piece that could easily be sold as such :rolleyes:Unfortunately, used handles/door panels are hard to come by (esp. in good condition and correct colour combo), and many months of searching were fruitless.

So my OCD got the better of me and last year I started exploring the idea of having my own interior handles made - how hard could it be right?! 馃え

Well, as Lars alluded to in a post a while back - there is a lot that goes into making them (it's not just a curved piece of leather). Through some family manufacturing connections in the UK we got to work prototyping to see what was possible.

Handwriting Rectangle Slope Triangle Font


The strap itself consists of two matching (curved) leather pieces, with a nylon loop stitched at the ends for a pin to fit through:

Sleeve Wood Grey Automotive tire Automotive exterior


The strap is fed through slots in the metal bases, and the pin is inserted to secure the handles. I wasn't looking into making new pins or metal bases (easy to re-use the existing ones).
Automotive design Carbon Automotive exterior Rim Personal luxury car


Sandwiched between the two leather pieces is a curved piece of plastic which helps give some shape and structure to the overall curve of the handle.

And....here are my first (Alpha..Alfa? 馃憖) prototypes:

Human body Sports equipment Wood Automotive lighting Musical instrument


Sleeve Bumper Automotive lighting Rectangle Grey


I had some variations mocked up: red leather/red stitch, black leather/various stitch types.

And here it is test fitted in my car (I'm holding the original strap next to it for comparison)

Hood Textile Automotive design Bag Car


I've been using this in my car for a few weeks to see how it's holding up and I'm happy with it as a first prototype. There are still some things to iron out for the Beta batch; I've changed the stitching to a higher quality thread and longer stitch length, and - importantly - making the stitch much neater. The other main challenge is the inner supporting material - we used thick card stock but it gave a jagged curve (not smooth like OEM) and creaked a bit! Gone back to the drawing board on this and I'm sourcing a plastic material similar to OEM for the beta batch. Another challenge will be matching the Alfa red leather colour for anyone who wants red leather handles, though initially I'll look to make OEM black leather with either red or black stitching.

So pre-empting some questions:

Production
As I've gone to all this effort, after the beta batches arrive and once I get to a finished set that I'd be happy with in my car, I'll look to start production on these. It'll likely be OEM colours initially for people who are interested in just a spare set to save their original handles, or replace beat up ones. Then potentially I can move onto more customised options if people demand them.

Cost
At the moment it's still really early to say but I'm shooting for $150 ish per pair - ballpark - TBC!

Availability
As mentioned I'm awaiting on the beta batch - which I'll then subject to testing, followed by any final tweaks then (hopefully) a retail batch that I'd be happy enough to sell. Now that I'm this far along the process I thought it would be good to canvass the opinions of forum members - are other people interested in a pair? What colours are most in demand (OEM or custom?) and would the price target be prohibitive? I already sent a very early Alpha pair to a forum member (some say he memorizes 4C vin numbers as a form of gratification) and he didn't think they were terrible :p

Let me know your thoughts :)
 

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I can understand this if you want to change the color of the pull straps. The red does look very attractive. But I wonder if there is a market to replace black with black? Don't the stock straps last almost forever?
 

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I would be interested in a pair if they were 100% stock in look and feel.
 

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I would be interested in a pair if they were 100% stock in look and feel.
As @zr33 alluded to, I have been playing around with one of his alpha prototypes for a few weeks now. I don't think 100% look and feel is realistically possible (for anything), but I think his alpha prototype was already 95% there. As I mentioned to him, the stitching needed to be cleaned up a bit but the feel of the material and using the pulls was already pretty darn close to OEM.

I am definitely interested in a black/red stitch (maybe the cross stitch like on the LEs) or the full red if you perfect the material match.
Also a black/tan stitch in all likelihood.

Love this btw. I went over and over with my parts department on these and @zr33 is correct you have to buy a complete door panel to get this leather pull.
 

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I'd be interested in a black with red stitching (as most others are as well).
 

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2018 Rosso Competizione 4C Spider, 2019 Rosso Competizione Giulia Quadrifoglio
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I would be interest in a red leather set.
-T
 

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As @zr33 alluded to, I have been playing around with one of his alpha prototypes for a few weeks now. I don't think 100% look and feel is realistically possible (for anything), but I think his alpha prototype was already 95% there. As I mentioned to him, the stitching needed to be cleaned up a bit but the feel of the material and using the pulls was already pretty darn close to OEM.

I am definitely interested in a black/red stitch (maybe the cross stitch like on the LEs) or the full red if you perfect the material match.
Also a black/tan stitch in all likelihood.

Love this btw. I went over and over with my parts department on these and @zr33 is correct you have to buy a complete door panel to get this leather pull.
95% is close enough. I just dont want anything that looks out of place and obviously modded.

These things have the potential for a lot of wear and I just would like to have a set for the future. I always just slip 3 fingers behind them and pull to close.

I never squeeze them, which I got really mad at a dealer for doing when I was in for service.
 
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Shit when i brought this up no one said anything with the exception of @lpspeedster, my concern was how expensive it would be to make 1 or 2 pairs instead of a bulk order. At any rate ill leave it to the OP because he went through with it. @zr33 i finally matched the red leather on factory alfa seats and have had the matching black for awhile, also the tan i jist matched. If you need help message me.
 

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If you're going through all this headache just to see how the leather material you've selected will last as long as the Hulk-like specialty stuff OEM has, the nylon core loop has my interest. Yes, wear items, making OEM copies (especially if you can do the "upgrade/newer" pull stitching) will see many of us buying as replacement set... But you're missing a low hanging opportunity for those of us that want to keep our OEM 100% but have one less wear item to worry: JUST that nylon. The highest end Porsches have the nylon pull straps, in various colors. This is because the wear characteristics on these will last over 100 years of daily use, wont fade or lose color, cannot "crack" like leather inevitably does, and just plain weighs a little less. Since the core is where the strap's "strength" and main function lives, I wouldn't doubt many, many of us wouldn't like "track versions" especially for a cheaper price... In which case I want two of every color.馃槀

So pls, pls offer just the cores/"naked" straps as well in black, red, grey, brown, etc (no need for anything fancy, but if you're an artist, melted-edge perforation patters and/or color-deviated stitching designs can make these dripping with sexy). Thinking here a wild thought: $49.99. There will be riches.
 
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