What is Classic car Leather?
Damage On A Classic Car Interior
A classic car can be as old as 15 years to be classed as a modern classic, cars over 30 years old can be classed as a vintage car.
When cars began production they used vegetable tanned leathers, the first car reported to be built was by Karl Benz in 1885 with a gasoline powered internal combustion engine.
Henry Ford built his first car in 1896 he called this the quadracycle at his home in Detroit.
Vintage cars and classic cars have many problems with leather, from drying out, cracking and in ground dirt and grime, this is all due to the vegetable tanned leathers that were used, these leathers were used as they were a natural transition from the horse drawn carriages as they were using veg tanned on seats.
This meant early production cars had no surface colouring on them, so a lot of people were using saddle soaps, even grease was used to keep seats supple and soft.
As motor car revolution began, new methods were introduced for leather in vehicles and soon came along the vegetable tanned seats with a surface colour coating applied to them, Connolly leather established themselves as world leader in leather for automobiles. You can tell a Connolly leather from other leathers very easily they had a brown tone on the reverse and the colour on the top did not match that of the brown tone on the reverse of the leather hide.
Classic Rolls Royce Connolly Leather
With the increased number of cars being produced new methods had to be introduced and chrome tanning became the normal for all car leathers, believe it or not chrome tanning was invented in 1858 and was patented by an American called Augustus Schultz.
Cars have changed over the years from early production to what is used today, a lot of fake leathers are now being used in cars to help with the environment, but they last just a few years within 3 years these new methods can start to deteriorate and break down, how’s that good for the environment if you’re having to produce ten times the amount to one classic car seat or genuine leather seat?
Modern Classic Lotus
Classic Car Interior With Damaged Seats
Classic Car Interior Restored
Classic cars if left without the correct care can deteriorate very quickly as they are not protected with clear coat lacquers like modern seats are today and most probably not a chrome tanned leather either.
Classic car Seat With Damage
Classic Bentley Car
A more modern looking classic cars the Austin Healey. Cars became popular and sports cars were introduced to win over customers to have a sporty number, it wasn’t long before these classics were racing cars and people were using them in sports like hill climbs and for racing.
Austin Healey A More Modern Classic
Classic Car seats if left can become damaged, cracked and splits appear as the leathers used required food to keep them soft and supple, drying out was a major issues on classic cars as can be clearly seen in this picture below.
Typical Damage To Classic Car Seats
More modern classic seats with a surface coating suffer from colour fading, as colours were not as good a quality in the early days as to what they are today.
Modern Classic Seats With Colour Loss
Modern Classic Seats Coating Restored