The New England M.G. ‘T’ Register has a long history of providing its members with advice and technical expertise on the restoration and maintenance of our special cars. We present some of our favorite technical articles and tips here for members and visitors alike.
DIY LEATHER RESTORATION
The leather seats in our TC lasted for more than thirty years and were beginning to show signs of wear. Not only that, they didn’t match the new interior we installed when the car was repainted. We didn’t want to go to the cost and labor of installing new leather covers. A friend mentioned a company called Color-Plus Leather Restoration System, LLC in Milford, PA. She was very pleased with the results she got from their products. Based on her recommendation I decided to try to restore the TC leather rather than buying a new kit.
The first step is to pick the color you want. Joanne, the owner of the company, is very helpful and will blend any color you wish. All that is needed is a one inch square sample for her to match. Alternatively she can send you samples of her “standard” colors. In my case, a color called “Jaguar Barley” was a good match.
The next step is to thoroughly clean the leather to remove ground in grit and grime as well as any of the old dye that may come off. According to the booklet of instructions Joanne furnished, the removal of any old color coating can increase the flexibility of the leather by as much as fifty percent. Use Color-Plus “Super Cleaner” for this purpose. Note that it may be necessary to use some fast dry lacquer thinner to remove the old color coat. The directions furnished are quite complete.
Once the leather is clean and completely dry it will probably need conditioning and softening. Use the Color Plus “SOFFENER Leather Conditioner” for this purpose. You just apply with a paint brush and let it soak in for twenty-four hours. A hot day will speed the process. A second coat may be needed if the leather is extremely dry and stiff. Once the leather has absorbed as much conditioner as it can, use a damp rag to remove any surplus. At this point, your now clean and softened leather will start to look and feel really good and in fact this may be all it needs.
Now is the time to closely examine the leather for rips, burst threads or any other serious damage. It may be necessary to remove the leather from the seat so that seams may be re-sown or tears patched. The leather conditioner makes the leather softer and more flexible making repairs easier.
Allow the seats to dry for a few days before applying the “SURFLEX Flexible Surface Colorant.” A quick wipe with a soft cloth dampened with fast drying lacquer thinner will help prepare the surface. Use a soft bristle paint brush to apply the colorant. It can also be sprayed on if you desire. It dries to the touch in about twenty minutes at 70 degrees and is durable for use in about twenty-fours hours. It is fully cured in six months.
So how did it work? We took the car to several shows and to GOF 84. The seats got nothing but good comments and rain and wet weather were no problem. I have no doubt that it will continue to perform as advertised.
by Jim Mink #9763
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Disclaimer: All Tech Tips presented here are copyright of The New England M.G. ‘T’ Register. Be advised that every effort was made to verify the validity of each tip. But as in any free advice, it’s up to the user to judge the usefulness of each tip presented here.