Leather repair and restoration specialist Paul Ford

Car Leather Restoration - 1954 Bentley

As is so often the case ... a beautiful old car completely let-down by worn-out leather trim.

1954 Bentley

This is a 1954 Bentley with leather in 2 colours ... dark blue with light grey inserts and piping. When I first looked at this car I remember opening the door and thinking, "Wow ... this would have looked stunning when it was new".

But, after 50 years of use, it was certainly showing its age. Not only had the leather lost its original colour but it was showing cracks, ranging from shallow to very deep, mainly on the front seats, especially the drivers seat. In fact, there were areas where the cracking was so deteriorated, it was starting to rip.

The Interior Before Starting ...

The interior was stripped out of the car and delivered to my workshop. I don't have 'before' photos of the door panels and trim pieces but here's what the seats looked like:

Bentley front seat

Here's the drivers seat which it typical of the passenger seat as well.

cracked blue leather

Here's a close-up. As you can see, the cracking is deep and is starting to break through in places.

leather deterioated

After closer inspection, the leather has definitely broken through wouldn't be long before rips would develop.

rear seats

Here's a photo of the rear seat which were no where near as deterioated as the front seats.

Now, I'm not a big fan of repairing old, cracked leather ... it just doesn't last and always looks like a patch-up job. So what I recommended was having the deterioated sections replaced with new leather ... on the faces of the 2 front seats, which would involve the services of an upholsterer.

Replacing Leather Can Be Risky

I'm always very reluctant to have car leather replaced because, as you can appreciate, after holding a particular shape for many years, it takes a great deal of skill to re-tension any new leather panels to the original shape.

Very few upholsterers have that degree of craftsmanship and unfortunately this upholsterer was no exception and after leaning on him rather heavily, the end result stilll didn't quite reach my standard.

With this particular job however, leather HAD to be replaced ... there was no other option. It's too bad I wasn't involved in the 'upholsterer selection process'.

The Interior After Restoration ...

Here are some photos of the leather before they were sent back to be refitted in the car.

rear seats finished

Here's a picture of the completed rear seats before being refitted in the car. I didn't get any good shots in my workshop of the front seat because they were returned to the upholsterer to be redone ... very disappointing!

Normally, I never get to see my work refitted back into the car but I was really curious with this one, so a took a trip with my camera, so you can have a look too!

finished interior

It was really nice to see my work back in the car once again!

rear seats back in car

With the seat trays refitted and new carpet ... it certainly looked amazing!

front seats finished and in the car

Seeing the restored upholstery actually IN the car was well worth the trip!