Imperial Home Page -> Repair -> Interior -> Leather Seats -> 1973 New
Wipe the residue off with a clean damp cloth and follow with a clean cloth and the pristine clean product. Inspect each repair area carefully. I took my glasses off and got down with it. A few small spots remained that needed additional filler so the filler, sand, clean process was repeated until everything was right.
There is a line in the movie Cool Runnings about the Jamaican Bobsled team that said: "Feel the rhythm, feel the rhyme, come on in, it's dyeing time..." or something like that. Earlier, I had picked up good Purdy polyester brushes. I chose a 1 1/2 inch angle brush. Leatherique does not recommend natural bristles. I also got some model brushed. The one I ended up using was a 1/4 inch flat brush. I wanted to get down into the gap by the bead but not get any dye on the bead itself. The small brush did a great job.
Pour the dye out into a plastic tub and mix it well with a paint stick. Stir it well!. I had a quart of dye so after it was well mixed, a small amount was poured into a small butter tub, about 1/8 inch on the bottom. A little dye goes a long way. After trimming out each section with the small brush, I carefully cut in the edges with the larger brush:
In this last photo, you can see the first panel finished. Do NOT stop in the middle of a panel. Also, the dye is self leveling but seemed to get a little smoother when it was rebrushed 90 degrees to the first brushing. Leatherique recommends two coats or more. However, after the first coat, I did not think another coat was needed. The next morning proved a dose of reality and several small spots that were missed or thin were spotted. About 2 hours later an additional coat was applied. LOOKING GOOD!
The dye needs to dry for at least 48 hours. It was very hard not to mess with it because it looked dry but I made myself wait. The unbuffed finish was dull but looked great compared to the original. I could see NO SIGN of the claw marks and the subtle difference between the leather and vinyl made it look original.
The instructions say to buff the dye with a clean soft cloth to remove any dye residue and polish the leather. I was somewhat concerned about this step. The LAST thing wanted was for my long suffering wife to sit on the "new" seats and get something on her clothes. However, this fear proved unfounded. I buffed the complete passenger seat and could barely see any color on the white washcloth I was using for buffing.
And here is the result. NO TRACE of the claw marks or any noticeable indication of where any other filler was applied. The leather still has its folds and texture and feels soft and pliable. Can't wait to get it in the car!
The original order from Leatherique was less than 200 bucks including the dye. I still have 80% of everything left because I ordered enough to do the vinyl and door panels. I expect this process saved me a bunch of money. Many upholstery shops do not want to combine old and new material. Replacing the leather would have cost thousands. Replacing the leather with vinyl of the new "Pleather" products would have cost over $1000 also. Besides this was fun. I'm happy beyond any expectations!
The real test of this technique will be the '64 seats. They are badly cracked and faded. Plus they have perfect fabric that I will have to NOT get any dye on. Follow on:
Continue on to the next chapter, Part Three - The 1964 Imperial's Old Leather Interior: The Problem
This page last updated October 25, 2001. Send us your feedback, and come join the Imperial Mailing List - Online Car Club.