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Forza Article on Seat Restoration

Discussion in 'Technical Q&A' started by Quasimotor, Feb 15, 2004.

  1. Quasimotor

    Quasimotor Formula Junior

    Jan 4, 2004
    313
    Yonkers, NY
    Full Name:
    George Avgerakis
    Guys:

    I'm writing for Forza, a step-by-step article with historical notes on the restoration process of leather seats in Ferraris. Using my own as the example, because they need restoration, but not redying (which is the focus of the article) and because they are tan, which is one of the hardest colors to restore well. I would be interested in your tales, and references (I know there are many) to some of your favorite threads. I could also use some good before and after photos, if you are willing to donate the rights to use same. No promisses to use them, of course.

    Naturally, we are going to mention Leatherique - since my research shows they are the foremost leather restoration manufacturer, but do any of you know of competing brands, generic (home brew?) remedies and/or horror stories?

    Finally, I'd like to post a poll, but frankly, I don't know if there's anyone else but Leatherique to put in the voting booth. Any suggestions?
     
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  3. Quasimotor

    Quasimotor Formula Junior

    Jan 4, 2004
    313
    Yonkers, NY
    Full Name:
    George Avgerakis
    Oh yes, one other thing. Steve Ahlgrim, one of the lead 308 concours judges in the US, told me about an optional leather treatment that was used on some 84 308's called "valmaux." Essentially, this was a tan colored leather (perhaps Saddia), which was then given a second coat of dye, black. The black was wiped off before it dried, leaving a grainy, antique look to the leather. Steve says this effect did not age very well and that many people, restoring this feature, thought the black was dirt and over-washed their seats, perhaps ruining or prematurely resorting to redye. (BTW - although concours judges will dock you only a point for bad seats, redying, in my opinion is to be avoided). Do any of you have any experiences owning valmaux seats (or suspect you have them?). One way to be sure is to look at the leather under the headrest or seat, and of course, you could check the factory build sheets (ha ha ha ha!).
    I'd like to hear from any subscribers - especially if you can send (close up!) photos.

    Quasi
     
  4. Mike Florio

    Mike Florio Formula Junior

    Jun 19, 2003
    575
    NW Rural Nevada
    Full Name:
    Mike Florio
    I've been using a set of products from Color-Plus in Milford, PA (570) 686-3158. The product line includes a leather cleaner; Flex-Fill for repairing cracks or worn-through spots; Soffener, a brush-on restorer/softener; and Curflex, a colorant and finish. They also offer a color-matching service for the colorant.

    I've had good results with these products, especially the Soffener. I haven't used Leatherique, so I couldn't compare them.

    I have no connection with Color-Plus, Blah, Blah, Blah...
     
  5. norm

    norm Karting

    May 30, 2003
    204
    Rochester, NY
    Hirsch out of New Jersey also has leather restoration materials and dye. up until a few years ago, they sold a lacquer based product that was suppose to be the correct Connelly leather dye that was used from Connelly.
     
  6. Chiaro_Slag

    Chiaro_Slag F1 Veteran

    Oct 31, 2003
    7,731
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    Jerry
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  8. flashman

    flashman Formula Junior
    Silver Subscribed

    Jan 5, 2004
    480
    Star Valley, Arizona
    Full Name:
    William Rappaport
    I used this product to restore the Connelly leather seats in my 59 Rolls Royce about 8 years ago, and the results were no less than perfection! I also bought a can of dye from them that was color matched for my 81 308 GTSi, but fortunately have never had to use any of it.
     
  9. GearHead

    GearHead Karting

    Jan 3, 2004
    76
    I used Leatherique dye to restore the sports seats in my 535i (black seats).

    Came out fine, but a little different than I thought. Leatherique is more of a paint than a dye. You end up with seats that definately act like painted seats.

    To be honest, was fine for my daily driver BMW, but I'm not sure it's something I'd want to do in a Ferrari.
     
  10. Sean F.

    Sean F. F1 Rookie

    Feb 4, 2003
    3,004
    Kansas
    Full Name:
    Sean F
  11. Mike C

    Mike C F1 Veteran
    Lifetime Rossa Owner

    Aug 3, 2002
    6,075
    Southeast USA
    Full Name:
    Mike Charness
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  13. peajay

    peajay Formula Junior

    Apr 17, 2002
    454
    near Paris, France
    Full Name:
    Paul
    There is a product widely used in the UK called Liquid Leather, I haven't used it yet but plan on trying it soon. It sounds similar to Leatherique but shipping cost is less for me here in Europe. I also have tan seats in my 87 328 GTS which have some wear on the driver seat, but I am reluctant to mess up the leather with poorly matching color. I have not heard of anyone getting a good first match for tan.

    http://www.liquidleather.com
     
  14. Verell

    Verell F1 Veteran
    Consultant Owner

    May 5, 2001
    7,002
    Groton, MA
    Full Name:
    Verell Boaen
  15. Quasimotor

    Quasimotor Formula Junior

    Jan 4, 2004
    313
    Yonkers, NY
    Full Name:
    George Avgerakis
    Thanks everyone for your replies, thus far. Mike Charness - it was your excellent article that got me started, and out of respect for it, (and other reasons) I am stopping my article just short of the dye process. I plan on naming those who have helped me here, so say if you want to be annon. Would those of you who mentioned Hirsh and the *** site, please email me privately to send me those URLs. This is shaping up to be a great article and I hope of some use to you all in return.

    George
    george@avekta.com
     
  16. Chiaro_Slag

    Chiaro_Slag F1 Veteran

    Oct 31, 2003
    7,731
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    Jerry
    I agree - Mike's article is excellent & helped a lot with my project. I like to refer to it as "The Bible" when it comes to seat restoration. :)
     
  17. bustedknuckle1

    Feb 4, 2004
    32
    New Jersey
    Full Name:
    Frank Mummolo
    Mike,

    I am in the final stages of closing a purchase on the exact car you own, so naturally I was interested in the seat restoration project.
    And I couldn't help but notice the beautiful paintwork.....any tips here as well? It looks factory new!

    Thanks.

    Frank
     
  18. ricrain

    ricrain Karting

    Nov 1, 2003
    195
    Dallas Area
    Full Name:
    Ric
    Following Mike Charness's lead, I redid the ENTIRE tan interior in my 85 TR. For those who haven't really looked, the TR has much more leather than most of the other similar period cars.

    The interior was basically shot cosmetically, and had been resprayed once already with the WRONG Connelly laquer dye (paint). I stripped the seats with laquer thinner and applied custom batch of the leatherique dye (also paint). Brushing was useless. I only got decent results after spraying with a touch up spray gun in many light coats until desired coverage was achieved. A hair dryer helped shorten the cure time between coats.

    This car has close to 60K miles on it...
     
  19. ricrain

    ricrain Karting

    Nov 1, 2003
    195
    Dallas Area
    Full Name:
    Ric
    More pics...
     
  20. Chiaro_Slag

    Chiaro_Slag F1 Veteran

    Oct 31, 2003
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    Jerry
    Nice - The TR looks great!
     
  21. ricrain

    ricrain Karting

    Nov 1, 2003
    195
    Dallas Area
    Full Name:
    Ric
    Another thing to note is that I did NOT do this in situ. I removed all the leather from the car and recolored it piece by piece.
    On another note, the carpet is the original carpet. Since it's nylon, I made the first pass (out of the car) with Ivory Soap and lots and lots of water, followed by Simoniz Tuff Stuff.
     
  22. Quasimotor

    Quasimotor Formula Junior

    Jan 4, 2004
    313
    Yonkers, NY
    Full Name:
    George Avgerakis
    This is getting really good. Here is some input I would like to add at this point, which I think is essential in understanding the difference between deciding between a replacement, a redye and a touch up. I've spoken with concours judges and resellers of F-cars. Each of them claim they can "spot a dye job from a mile away." When probed further (I use a soft rubber probe by the way), it boils down to the exposed threads which which the pieces of leather are sewn together (lots of these on a 308). It is pretty nigh impossible to redye these seats with a spray and not paint the threads! Painted threads are the giveaway. The only way to avoid painting the threads (IMHO) is to feather into and under the threads with a very fine artist's bruch. Any of you have any experience with this issue?

    Another thing I would like to share here, but not in Forza, is that Leatherique appears, after investigation, to be the originator of the current benchmark restoration products and that - how do I put this - most other purveyors I KNOW of, are in one way or another - derivatives of George Pavlisco Sr.'s technology. Can any of you suggest a different supplier of leather restoration products (even if you must digress from specifically Connolly leather restoration products) which legitimately digress from Pavlisco
    s line of work.

    There, I've tried to make this querry as accademic as possible and hopefully to avoid any slanderous innuendo. You are all free to respond as you wish.

    Many thanks for your candid replies. I hope my efforts to use FC as an accademic, "real users" research tool are appreciated and that you will respond with due diligence.

    Quasimotor
     
  23. Chiaro_Slag

    Chiaro_Slag F1 Veteran

    Oct 31, 2003
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    Jerry
    If you really wanted concours quality, I'm not sure a dye job would even be the way to go. I have seen 328's with a re-done interior using new leather & it looks incredible - of course it costs more also. But if you want concourse quality, that would seem like a better route than dyeing, because yes it would be pretty though not to get the threads in the process.
     
  24. Verell

    Verell F1 Veteran
    Consultant Owner

    May 5, 2001
    7,002
    Groton, MA
    Full Name:
    Verell Boaen
    I won't say it's impossible to avoid the threads when doing a re-dye, but I sure didn't (& wouldn't) have the patience to try.

    Many of my threads were worn enough that I was happy to have them dyed as the layer of dye built them up & it'll take the wear rathar than the threads.

    I guess if it came down to an absolute tie-breaker that needed the a point to differentiate between two cars in a concours, then a car with mint leather & threads would get the point over a otherwise indistinguishable re-dye.

    However, When judging a concours, I wouldn't initially take points off for a high quality re-dye. A good re-dye is in the same category as a high quality repaint or other normal & necessary maintenance. It's a sign the car has been taken care of.

    A judge can tell a repaint too. A repainted 308 generally has a smooth as glass finish. An original paint job has mild orange peel & a bit of waviness to it. However, I've never heard of a concours judge taking off for a swirl-free wet looking paint job even tho it wasn't original.

    Usually there's plenty of really obvious stuff that will differentiate between entries long before it comes down to super fine nits such as to whether or not the thread in the seats was redyed.

    Just my $0.02, it's your car & your money.
     
  25. Quasimotor

    Quasimotor Formula Junior

    Jan 4, 2004
    313
    Yonkers, NY
    Full Name:
    George Avgerakis
    Thanks Verrel for that excellent analysis.
    Do you judge concourse, BTW? And if so, may I quote your comments?
    I think it is important to note that the entire interior of a concourse judgement is 5, with the seats usually totaling just one point. However, an owner might just apply concours rules to the rules that would best guide an owner in keeping a car up to its maximum value for resale/investment. In such a case, I think the seats would have a higher point value, but perhaps a buyer would not notice the threads while his blood is pumping through a brain that is excited about being a Ferrari owner.
     
  26. Chiaro_Slag

    Chiaro_Slag F1 Veteran

    Oct 31, 2003
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    Great Comments Verell!

    I think the typical prospective Ferrari owner just wants their car to look nice and doesn't really care about concourse. That said, I think a typical buyer would want a car with a properly done dye job over an untouched 20 year old interior.
     
  27. Quasimotor

    Quasimotor Formula Junior

    Jan 4, 2004
    313
    Yonkers, NY
    Full Name:
    George Avgerakis
    Well said Slag, but what if you have a 20 year old interior that falls somewhere between needing a complete dye job and not being pristine? Let's say you have perfect threads and interior areas of seats, but the bolsters are creased and flaking? Hmmm.
     
  28. Chiaro_Slag

    Chiaro_Slag F1 Veteran

    Oct 31, 2003
    7,731
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    Jerry
    I think that would just be a personal preference decision - I know when I got my car, I hated to show people an interior that wasn't flawless. I'm too much the perfectionist & a worn out bolster would bother me, but not others.
     

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