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Starting to turn my mind to the interior as the exterior job list is starting to dry up a bit.

Interior is "Lotus Gold" half leather. 

IMG_2154.thumb.jpg.be3f69c9f037f2de69f603e4a8856c95.jpg

The carpet I was going to attack with Chemical Guys Lightening Fast cleaner & stain remover. The reviews I have read all say it's very good and I will probably finish with SWMBO's carpet cleaner. Hopefully that will take care of the carpet, door inserts and seat centres.

The leather has faded and gone a little hard. I'm still scratching my head over this one. Is the leather coated? I have tried the absorbtion test and I think it's absorbant, water isn't instantly soaked up but if rubbed it works in. From what I've read our seats were coated after 1993 so my '84 car shouldn't be.

If it's not coated can I use Furniture Clinics Leather Recolouring Balm which I'm quite confident in being able to do as it's just a rub in product. A good clean, use of their Leather Revive to soften, the Recolouring Balm and finishing with their Protector I hope should give a good reslult.

Has anyone got any experience of DIY restoration of their interior? Am I on the right track or would you recommend anything else?

Thanks for the help, NigelM

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Seats and centre consul finished. Dash is going to be a winter job. Process was easier than I thought it would be and pretty easy to get a good finish. The dye has soaked into the leather so it d

You have to take the surface layer off to remove all the grime and dirt so the colourant will bond to it. Then you have to apply a finish to stop it coming off.Heres new leather hide I recoloured and

So I met @Hornsey Boy at the Essendon breakfast a couple of weeks ago and he persuaded me that I just needed to give the leather a damned good clean and get some oils back into it again. After a bit o

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Confirmed, Lotus didn't use coated leather until after 1993.

 

Our '88 Esprit has been preserved well (by me) with yearly applications of Connolly Hide Care (formerly Connolly Hide Food). But many Lotus owners have tried the restoring solutions at Leatherique. For a short while I used common saddle soap.

http://www.leatherique.com/

Atwell Haines

'88 Esprit

Succasunna, NJ USA

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  • Gold FFM

Hi Nigel

The balm may do the trick for you, the hard part will be the scrubbing and cleaning of the leather before applying the balm.

If you feel it wants a refresh colour wise then try Gliptone  https://www.liquidleather.co.uk/  If you send them a leather sample they will match it for you. The leather in my HC was dry as a bone when I got the car and after a couple weekends I was well pleased with the end results on the seats, door and dash. I found Gliptone products better than furniture clinic 

261148402_HC3.JPG.f5df35b98174860d43d4411cf8f29f15.JPG

 

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Thanks very much for the recommendations guys. 

So we have recommendations for Leatherique, Gliptone and the Furniture Clinic.

Would be nice to get to some sort on consensus if anyone else can chip in with their experiences.

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Gliptone for me...

 

88 Esprit NA, 89 Esprit Turbo SE, Evora, Evora S, Evora IPS, Evora S IPS, Evora S IPS SR, Evora 400, Elise S1, Elise S1 111s, Evora GT410 Sport

Evora NA

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Thanks Bibs, looks fantastic.

I was leaning towards the FC Reconditioning Balm as it's rub in rather than spray on. I don't have a spray gun or compressor so was hoping not to have to go down that road.

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The key thing to remember with ANY balm is that it takes time to work itself in.  I let our Connolly product sit for several days before buffing.  A couple of my friends have allowed their Leatherique to soak for a WEEK.

 

I think that in your case, a good clean is the first step. I just use a household cleaner like Formula 409. (Don't know if this is available on your side of the pond),  Scrubbing with a gentle brush to get into the folds and cracks is important. The cleaner DOES dry out the leather, so an application of Connolly Hide Care happens right away.

 

Who can recommend a fabric cleaner for the center seat panels & console?

Atwell Haines

'88 Esprit

Succasunna, NJ USA

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I applied Gliptone dye using a sponge /cloth, the clear sealer is available in rattle cans, Matt/Stain/Gloss for that final finish. So need for a compressor as such.

But a hair dyer is a must when applying the products between coats to speed up the drying process.

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  • Gold FFM

Hi @NigelM

Both the Gliptone and Furniture clinic products are designed to watered down, so goes a long way.

When I first started on the HC i brought a craft type model sprayer and a bottle of compressed gas and applied that way. But I got tied of this slow process. Its OK for small localised repairs etc.

So I just applied by hand, watered down and dried it off after each application with a  hairdryer, takes about 2 mins to dry this way and just layer it on.

The final finish is a lacquer applied by a can ( my was Satin)  3 cans to do a whole leather interior on my Esprit including door cards and dash, and again using a hairdryer between coats. 

Like Bibs says Gliptone is by far the best product on this front that I have used     

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Thanks @Hornsey Boy. Gliptone it is then. 

So in terms of process:

1. GT12 intensive cleaner. Lot's of scrubbing and make sure I get it really clean.

2. GT11 conditioner. several applications until the leather becomes soft again.

3. Scuffmaster leather dye, rubbed in thin coats and dried with hair dryer between coats.

Do I need to use the GT23 Precoat as well?

Anything else before I go and get my hands dirty?

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@NigelM

I never used the GT23, I think that is for more newer leather. But if you give them a call they can confirm that. I found them very approachable and helpful. I recall there are some you tube vids around using their products.

Give it a go, its a rewarding job to do

Fabien's looks great 👍  

 

 

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Thanks guys.

Now talking to Gliptone. The next challenge is colour. 

Mine is badly faded and I want to get back to somewhere close to the original Lotus Gold. There appears to be nowhere that remains close to original, not even under the seats. Gliptone don't have a reference for it and Connolly are happy to sell me 5 hides for £2k but can't sent me a cutting to colour match.

I have this photo which I found of a Gold interior on a red car. I think I might end up going to a DIY store and getting a Dulux colour that's close to the photo for Gliptone to match. 

Anyone got a better idea?

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Haven't gotten familiar with their new website, but Leatherique offers to match their dye to a snippet of your un-molested leather. 

 

You would need to un-bolt a seat and send them a sample swatch.

Atwell Haines

'88 Esprit

Succasunna, NJ USA

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Been doing some more hunting.

Found a photo of a restored car with Lotus Gold interior:

IMG_5799-1800x1198.thumb.jpg.a0ca9392bc01a37e764f89c7f30d813b.jpg

If I can get close to that I will be very happy.

Gliptone will not try to match to the photo, they want a colour swatch to match and suggested I went to a DIY store and picked something from something like a Dulux card.

Dulux don't have anything close enough but Farrow and Ball do, Sudbury Yellow:

https://www.farrow-ball.com/paint-colours/sudbury-yellow

Has anyone out there got a Lotus Gold interior in good condition and can they confirm that I'm in the right ball park in terms of colour/shade?

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You need a postage stamp size piece of material. Usually if you take the seat out the leather underneath is undamaged and you can cut a small piece for a colour match from the edge between the clips. Factory style finish is achieved by removing the seat finish using chemicals. When the colour starts to come off the finish is removed. Let it dry. Then you rub in the new colourant by hand to form a base. Then spray the colourant on with a airbrush in layers, allowing each one to dry. When you have a uniform coat apply several coats of matt clear finish. If done properly it looks like new, but takes a lot of work! Lots of videos on how to do it on youtube from furniture clinic. Their products are really good. I have a lot of experience of this and you can’t match any colours from photographs. I had a sample of Lotus Gold sent to me by the director of Connelly leather. It was the colour used in the FYEO car, a swatch of the original. I can give you the code to order some as I had furniture clinic replicate it. But it may not be identical to your car. So best to take a sample from the bottom of your seat where the leather hasn’t faded.

Have a look on my FYEO blog theres lots of how I did the leather on there.

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Fabian, thank you for that. 

Can you please send me that colour code from Furniture clinic.

What "chemicals" did you use to remove the finish? I was under the impression that there was no finish applied to the leathers until 1993, but having done the job you should know. I can't see a "finish remover" on FC or Gliptone websites. 

Would be great to get a Big Ears to Noddy guide from you on exactly what you used and how you did it as yours looks great.

Thanks, Nigel

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You have to take the surface layer off to remove all the grime and dirt so the colourant will bond to it. Then you have to apply a finish to stop it coming off.Heres new leather hide I recoloured and Steve Fulcher crafted into a seat for me, Big warning this is Lotus Gold exactly as supplied for the James Bond car,  I don’t know if Lotus used it for the production cars. You would need to check the shade very very carefully before you use it. I’ll get the code for you. A better way is to use a sample off your seat for an exact match.561AA41F-664F-416D-BC5A-AE605089098A.thumb.png.be89322a3334cf6a05874e259649b4e3.png

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Thanks again Fabian. 

I have spoken with Andy Graham at the archive and he has confirmed that my build spec was Calypso Red with Lotus Gold interior. Unusual I know, but that's from the horses mouth and looks right against the less faded areas.

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Nigel

I own a 1992 MY Excel, that has Gold full leather trim according to Lotus Archives Provenance cert.

I'm going to need some leather dye / reconditioning materials for it shortly. I recently removed the centre console trim and took a sample about 120 mm x 15mm from the underside, which reflects unworn condition and colour. It looks darker than the Esprit photo posted above, but that's likely just what Photo's and PC screens do. When I offer it to my photo below, it looks just as dark, so that's good news.

200801e.jpg.192f6aef3c8cf7585b4a92c279e4a948.jpg

I'd be happy to buy materials from same source you decide. If you PM me with your contact details, I can send you the sample so you know what to expect and if it suits, we can arrange to order at same time off teh sample.

Tony

 

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So I met @Hornsey Boy at the Essendon breakfast a couple of weeks ago and he persuaded me that I just needed to give the leather a damned good clean and get some oils back into it again. After a bit of research I settled on Leatherique as the company who really sold themselves on the refurbishment of old leather rather than colouring it. The reports from those who use it are very good, so worth a go.

I started with the centre arm rest and have moved on to the drivers seat. On each item I have rubbed in the oil every day for 7 days until it wouldn't take any more and then cleaned with their cleaner. 

The results have been amazing. Gone from hard and brittle to soft and supple. Really pleased with the results.

I do need to add some colour so have sent Leatherique a cutting from under the seat. I want to stick with one system rather than go to Gliptone for the colour.  Will post some pictures when the recolouring is done.

The other job I did was clean the carpets with Chemical Guys Fabric Clean which had also got some good write ups. Diluted 8:1, sprayed it on and scrubbed it with a brush. Then used SWMBO's carpet cleaner set to rinse to flush out all the dirt. Couldn't believe how black the water was. Carpets have come up a treat, but I bet if I repeated the process I would still get a lot more dirt out.

Process only part complete, but it's looking positive so far.

 

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Posted (edited)
  • It's a bit difficult to photograph the change in feel Stephen. As soon as I have done the recolour and installed I will get some before and after pics up.
Edited by NigelM
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Was it Rejuvenator Oil you used?  

 250ml seems a standard size. In your experience, how much of a car could this volume do? 

Tony 

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