I recently treated myself to a one week “staycation” so I could be at home while my grandchildren visited. This gave me a chance to do some work on the 928 upholstery that would be maddening if only done on weekends. This involved stripping, treating, and re-dying all the leather upholstery in the car. The car came with a $2800 option of “Full leather interior – champagne”. With this option, you get leather seats, dash, door panels, and rear quarter panels. About the only areas that did not seem to be leather were the cover for the storage compartment between the rear seats and the area on the sides of the rear fold down seats.
The leather in the car was generally in good condition, although strangely the leather on the rear seats was very dry and stiff. I had cleaned and applied softener treatment to the front seats last year but the drivers seat looked pretty dirty. I also shot myself in the foot when I used lacquer thinner to remove the adhesive from the rear hatch glass (where I had removed the tint material). Some of the lacquer thinner dropped onto the quarter panels and left little dots of a lighter color where the thinner attacked the dye.
I decided to use a process and products as offered by Color Plus. Color Plus came recommended to me by Jaguar restorers. They can provide leather dyes in a “paint to sample” format, as well as a few stock colors. They listed a stock Porsche color Cashmere Beige which my wife decided she liked better than the Champagne color (which Color Plus would have supplied in paint to sample if asked). Color Plus has an extensive discussion and directions on restoring leather on their website here.
In summary, after removing the various leather pieces and panels, I:
- Cleaned every surface with soap and water.
- I used lacquer thinner on the seating surfaces to remove the existing dye.
- I roughed all the surfaces with sandpaper.
- I applied the leather softener to all the surfaces.
- I removed the softener residual and did a final cleaning with lacquer thinner.
- I applied the leather dye.
Wow, there are a lot of pieces in this car!
This all went fairly well with some exceptions. The drivers seat may have been re-dyed at some point because I got a ton of old dye off it with the lacquer thinner. The passenger seats and the rear seats not so much. I actually decided not to remove the existing dye on the remaining pieces since they all seemed to be in pretty good shape. The drivers seat reminded me of one of my old baseball gloves once I got the color removed!
The application of the softener solution was not eventful. I put on 2 applications over 2 days to the seating surfaces, which I wanted to be the most supple. On the other hand, the panel pieces such as the doors and quarter panels really don’t need to be supple.
Color Plus recommends application of the dye with a natural bristle brush, which I purchased from them. It was only 1 inch wide and slow going to apply color to all of the pieces. That would have been fine but I was having real trouble with a “mottled” look on the quarter panels and the storage compartment cover. It looked fine wet but would not dry to a uniform color. I tried a couple of different approaches but could not get even color.
Fortunately, I had a solution in the form of my mini-spray gun. Using the gun, the coloration upon drying was very even. Plus it went a lot faster applying the 2nd coat.
Here is a picture of the seats and the storage console after using the spray gun.
I ran out of time to re-install all the pieces. Plus I decided to order a hardware kit from Robert Budd so that I had fresh fasteners to use. For sure I’ll post an article showing all the pieces after they are installed.