I'm in the process of closing a deal on a 1909 touring. I really amazed at the shape of the original upholstery. There is not one button missing on the original tufting. There are also no tears, splits or other physical problems, other that the fact that it is extremely dry and fairly stiff, so much so, that I'm almost afraid to sit on it. Is there a sure way of rejuvenating it. I know that there all kinds of leather snake oils available, but I'm not convinced that the oil would actually penetrate thru the surface finish into the actual leather itself. Or maybe the leather of this era/age would not have that problem. Also, does any of the suppliers furnish pre-fab'ed tops for a '09.
If you don't take my word for anything else, take my word for this. The absolute best leather rejuvenation product in existence can be found at online at "Griots Garage". This stuff is amazing! I brought the dried cracked leather of a WWII bomber jacket back to life using this product and it is as supple as it was in 1943. It even gives the leather that wonderful scent of a new pair of leather shoes.
See: www.griotsgarage.com/product/car+care/interior+detailing/leather+care%2C+16+ounc es.do.
My 09 has very dry stiff leather with some bad tears and wear but I don't want to re-do it - none of the products I have tried so far seems to penetrate the surface finish, so maybe I'll see if Griot's will ship some of this stuff overseas.
Vince Iaccino of JV Group has made me a top kit; we are about to fit it this month so can't comment fully, but he has been extremely helpful with regular email conversations on the details (he needs accurate bow dimns etc to custom-build it). Everyone I have spoken to says his kits are excellent. I will report fully when it is installed.
Welcome aboard, Byron. You're starting out with the top T. Good for you. To avoid future disappointment, and assuming it's in the Bay area, you might want to hire Aaron Griffey to look it over before you commit $$$$.
Sounds like you already accept the idea that they're only original once.
The Griot's soaks deep into the leather. I put alot on the leather, directly from the bottle and rubbed it over the leather with my hand and let it sit until it soaked in, then I did it again and again. When I was done, the leather was a beautiful shiney brown and was as soft, supple and flexible, as a new leather jacket. I also used it on the leather upholstery of my 1990 Nissan 300ZX Twin Turbo with the same great results. I don't believe there is any way you can go wrong by giving this product a try.
This product is for leather only and will not penetrate vinyl. Are you sure what you have is leather and not an early vinyl-like leather imitation material that may have replaced the rotten leather upholstery sometime later? If you have had trouble with leather rejuvenators penetrating the leather, could it be possible that someone may have coated the leather upholstery with some sort of wax or sealant, in an attempt to preserve it? If so, you may need to clean off that coating so the Griot's can penetrate the leather and do it's magic.
I am not affiliated with Griot's, just a very satisfied customer who would like to see you keep your original leather upholstery.
Since the leather is dyed black anyway, darkening should be no issue and neatsfoot oil WILL soak in and darken the leather.
Once the leather will accept no more neatsfoot oil, Hide Food from the Connolly Brothers in Wimbledon will restore a shine to the surface. Hide Food can be found at any Jaguar dealership.
Personally, I would think twice before putting straight neatsfoot oil on leather upholstery. I know a fellow who did this to the original upholstery of his 1912 roadster and he ended up with a oily/tacky upholstery and the neatsfoot oil would get on his clothing every time he sat in his car. He had to put a towel on the cushion and over the seat back whenever he drove to avoid getting the oil on his clothing.
Pecard Leathercare has been around since 1902, and they'll even send you a pee card with your order.
It seems to work good, but I'm not religious about using it.
I second the vote regarding Griot's leather product which is available in both a spray and lotion form. I used it on an '89 Maserati TC and it did wonders. I use it routinely on my A's and T's -- excellent stuff.
If you use the Griot's leather rejuvenator, please report back on this thread and let us know what you think. Unlike neetsfoot oil, this product penetrates deep into the pours of the leather "replacing vital nutrients", which, "nourishes & revitalizes old leather" (as it says on the bottle).
I carefully peeled the directions label from the back of the bottle and enlarged it 200%, so you can read more about it yourself. Instead of using a sponge, or cloth applicator as it suggests, I prefer to use my hand because so much stays in the applicator that it is wasteful. It is good for preserving new leather as well. Jim Patrick
Thanks Jim. I just ordered a bottle for my '13. I've also heard Hide Food works good too, but haven't tried it.
Mr. Patrick, thanks for the tip on Griot. I was raised with saddle soap and neatsfoot oil, and have used gallons of both. Using one's bare hand to rub in saddle soap works very well, I usually use a brush of sorts to work up a lather for cleaning. In the day, I would use neatsfoot oil on my saddles and chaps, and if you used either pretty quick, you would get some on you. On my chaps, if you doped them up in the warm weather, man they were hot, so it does penetrate. I still have my GI issue leather jacket, almost beyond redemption, like me, but I will try this Griots and report back, I marvel at how much I have grown since then.
I also use my hands to work in the Griot's product -- does a pretty good job on them too...
I tried Neatsfoot oil and ended up with the sticky leather messing up your clothing. Also some small pin holes appeared in the leather and someone told me it was caused by impurities in the neatsfoot. And it did not seem to penetrate.
I bought a kit from a firm here which included a lacquer remover, black lacquer and hide food to be applied in turn. But the remover didn't seem to touch the original finish on this leather.
Meguiars Quick Interior detailer made my previous T's 1960s leather have a nice shine. It did not make it greasy either...
Contact Joanne M. Price at Color-Plus Leather Restoration Systems.......she is a true leather expert!
Joanne has done a lot of reasearch and written papers on leather including how to re-condition old leather.
Several years ago, I bought an original (Un-restored) 1912 buick. The original leather upholstry was stiff and hard to the touch and did not flex like normal leather. It was totally dryed out from age and lack of care.
I used a product called "Soffener Leather Condition" supplied from Color-Plus and was amazed on how supple and flexible the old leather became.
Talk to Joanne at Color-plus before you do anything with the original upholstry.
She has made a science out of understanding the needs for maintaining/restoring leather. She has written a great pamphlet about leather or why leather goes bad and what to do about it.
The conpany is located in Milford,Pa.
Phone no. (570) 686-3158
I found out about Color-plus and Joanne price from Restoration Supply Co.