Updated in 2015 - includes new method and piping fix
Updated 2015 - Includes Refurbishing Dakota Cream Beige Leather
While hanging around in the Cobbler's while I had a new key cut for the 8-Series I had a look at the polishes there and wondered if I could use a normal shoe polish to get rid of the dark veins in my 840ci's front seats:
I asked the cobbler if they would work, he reckoned they might, but he had other stuff that might work a lot better. It is designed for leather upholstery - so I bought a couple of shades that were pretty close to the Champagne Nappa in both my cars. The range is from Tarrago, they do a whole bunch of shades, it comes with a small sponge applicator, the Ivory shown below was the closest:
As the colour is slightly lighter than the Champagne Nappa I came up with a plan - I would rub it on - and then immediately wipe it back off again in the hope that it would remain in the veins. I didn't photograph the process because it is too quick. You wipe it on with the sponge and then immediately wipe it back off with a lint-free cloth.
So, here we go, before:
First coat:
After two coats - that will do:
Then to the passenger seat - before:
After 1 coat:
Well pleased, it only took a few minutes!
Update 2013
The above work was done a year ago now and is still looking good, but there are a few tiny veins that have opened up and I decided on a new plan. This involved a two-stage process. First, I gave all the leather a good clean with Zaino 9 Leather Cleaner applied with a Microfibre cloth (always use a new cloth for both stages - one new cloth for each stage):
Once the leather was clean I mixed a small amount of the leather colour 'Tarrago Ivory' with Zaino 10 'Leather In A Bottle'. I applied this all over the Champagne leather, wiping it from the piping quickly if any got on it.
The results were excellent, the tiny veins disappeared and where the driver's lower bolster was slightly discoloured from wear this was returned to the same colour as the passenger seat - and the seats smelt of new leather as well!
Update 2014
This plan is still working nicely - the seats on the 8-Series are really looking good. Now that I have a bottle of 'Leather In A Bottle' with the colour in it, the process really takes a few minutes to do. However, although the leather is doing well the piping isn't!
It looks pretty horrible close-up, but I've got a new plan for this, and it's a simple one - find a Sharpie (indelible pen) that has a colour that is close enough. So, with Sharpies costing less than a quid I bought a bunch in the red/purple colours and eventually found one that was close enough. Now, a sensible bloke armed with a permanent pen near Champagne leather would mask the leather off first - but I didn't so I spent a bit of time trying to get the Champagne colour back. It may seem that this is a bit of a temporary fix - but it has lasted a year now.
There, can't complain about that! But, I haven't finished yet, I've also lacquered the piping to stop the colour leaching out and to reduce wear. I did this with an oil-painting brush - I sprayed a small amount of lacquer (from an aerosol) into a plastic lid and then carefully painted it onto the piping - job done.
Update 2015
I came across a company on Ebay that mixes coloured polish for car seats - This one is for the seats in my 650i:
This little bottle has a spongy applicator and you can squash it onto the leather and try and cover marks, in particular, the passenger seat had a very noticeable wear mark on the outer bolster where the seat belt constantly rubbed - I really wanted to get rid of that - I say 'try' because I didn't have much luck with it - the area that I treated stood out like a sore thumb - the very bold touch-up was close in colour but the edges of the touch-up were very noticeable. It could only work if I did the whole seat - and that wasn't going to happen.
So, I bought three of the little bottles, removed the caps and poured them into a half-used bottle of 'Leather In A Bottle' and applied that to the seats - and that was absolutely perfect, so easy to apply (2 minutes a seat) and spot-on for accuracy of colour. Have a look at the passenger seat now (RHD, the seat closest), there is no sign of that dark wear mark now - I'm impressed with the opacity of the finish, perfect!
I would guess that the same company would mix Champagne Nappa colour as well - but I've still got half a bottle left at the moment.
All done Time for a cup of tea.
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