Having just had the leather upholstery replaced, I wonder if anyone has considered "loose" seat covers to protect mainly from UV light. Perhaps a blanket or throw with elastic edges that might be stretched over them and easily removed for posh events? Perhaps if anyone has achieved this, does they hold templates?
My parents and grandparents who survived WW2 came to OZ from Europe in the late 1940s. Their property had been nationalized by the communists so they literally only had the clothes on their backs and little other in the form of posessions. They were very hard working people and when they started to accumulate some wealth again they gave it great care and value. This lead to extreme methods to conserve these material posessions...such as covering lounge room furniture in clear plastic covers. I recall as a young child when visiting my aunt and grandmother sitting on shiny, squeeky furniture and thinking that is was kind of quirky, although as a young adult I understood the reasoning!
As an aside, is the UV in the UK really such a concern?
As lagain says, I couldn't bear to hide new leather seats from the sight of day if I had mine redone. Plus I certainly wouldn't trade sitting on squeaky plastic, or even cotton cloth instead of the comfort, feel, and smell of premium leather. I'm sure my hide will wear out long before the leather on my seats will. The leather seats in my Riley RME are all the original leather showing off their excellent patina with pride. But different strokes, for different folks, of course.
I'm with you with the seat issue Ken. The UV where I live can be extreme in summer and is a serious health hazard to those who work out doors continuously. My coupe is generally garaged when not being used so is not 24/7 in the sun. I did spend over $4000 AUD on reupholstering the interior about 10 yrs ago...so do look after the leather interior... but like Ken won't be fitting seat covers.
The original black was faded to natural brown in patches particularly on the top edges of the seats and seams on the corners of the front ones were splitting, as much the thread rotting than the leather I imagine. A restorer said "Connollising" would be the better option but some cracks which had been filled opened up in a few months, the corners re-opening and the overall appearance of bright gloss paint not attractive. Hence I paid again to have the leather replaced and the seat fillings as well to make a quite beautiful restoration. So this is why I want to protect this result as much as possible and I thought a black blanket or something similar would be a good idea when the car is not in use.
There are a number of options. 1) treat the leather with a UV polymer coating such as the low sheen urethane clear coat from Furniture Clinic. 2) use a UV rated leather conditioner. 3) throw a loose white sheet over the seats when not in the car.
I use my car for work and it sits outside in the WA sun for several hours. During this time I leave a white sheet over each seat, and leave a window partly open.
suprisingly the UV rays in the UK are enough to damage the leather. Even though my car was only 4 years old when I bought her the tops of the rear seats had become very rough, sort of pickled up. The wood door cappings had also blistered and I had them re-polished. All I can assume is that the first, possibly elderly, owner had used her to collect the newspaper in the morning and then left her standing on the drive all day. Soon after purchase I had the leather re-connolised by Connollys, but it did not take very well and eventually I had the seats re-trimmed, which transformed the interior. One of the problems with the original leather is that the colour is only on the surface, so with my Mulberry the colour could rub off and leave a white patch. If you are concerned about UV have a rug laying accross the top of the back seats.
Best option all round and I imagine these days by many owners is to garage their pride and joys. Its not going to harm the car at all if taken to a show for a few hours and with regular feeding and cleaning the leather will stay as it should be for many years albeit if not looked after it will indeed suffer = ££££££££££££££££'s to put right.
Even when my cars are in their stable they have a indoor cover fitted to them.