Leather blether

The leather on my driver’s seat bolster was on the way out when I bought the car. Every time I got in, I could feel the stitching on my jeans inflicting some fresh damage on the surface (which already looked like Jabba the Hutt’s middle buttock).

In the course of having it detailed once, I mentioned the possibility of a repair and the valet, of course, knew someone who knew someone… etc. I ended up visiting a guy operating a business from what looked like a private house dropped into an industrial estate from low orbit.

After much sucking of teeth, head shaking and tutting, I was informed that, whilst he could fix black seats, light brown was impossible to match. He did know someone who would know someone, etc, who would sell me a pair of seats for £3,000. I rasped my backside into the driver’s seat and left, sharpish.

There were also some patches of abrasion on the gearlever, steering wheel and door handle. Nothing major, but it was starting to attract my attention in an otherwise pristine interior. This led to what can only be considered a period of obsessive searching for YouTube how-to videos centring on leather restoration.

I reckon I’ve seen them all. The couple with the insane white interior fitted to their Jaguar…that bloke going at his Mercedes seats with a wire pad fitted loosely to his hammer drill. That woman who was staining her sofa green as a practice run before attacking a Mazda that was worth less than the cost of the dye. Whilst it was fun watching these folk do battle with amniotic fluid stains, epidermal fissures, ingrained filth and school-run debris, I knew that I’d have to get on and do the job myself.

A Scuffmaster leather paint kit in ‘Savannah’ was thus bought from Porscheshop.co.uk .  I also splashed out on some Gliptone leather cleaner and conditioner. The Gliptone was generally raved about in all sorts of obscure online fora. Personally, I reckon it wasn’t that special. In particular the leaner was a bit mild and ineffective (at least in my inexperienced hands).  Despite being a bit of a painter, I found the leather dye took some getting used to. Its colour was not an exactly correct match for the leather in my particular car, so I ended up doing four successive experiments to blend in the colour. This required using some painter’s wipes from B&Q that did a good job of removing any paint which wasn’t working, before the next nailbiting attempt.

Eventually, I hit upon a method which worked to my satisfaction.

After cleaning the surface as hard as I dared, I made a slightly diluted sample of the paint and dabbed it on, very very sparingly, over a large area of the lower bolster. This I repeated four times, concentrating more on the damaged area each time. Finally, I was pleased with the colour match, the texture and the blending. It is not factory perfect, but the effect is about 99% correct. Hugely better than before and the leather itself is nice and flexible after two or three further applications of conditioner, rubbed in over a period of a few weeks. Please see below…

before

Before

after

After

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