Rolls-Royce experts: ‘We can solve James May’s itchy car problem’
TV presenter James May has announced that he is selling his 1972 Rolls-Royce Corniche – because he’s apparently allergic to its leather seats.
May wrote a post on his Drivetribe blog to say the Corniche has to go. ‘If I drive it for more than half an hour I start itching, and then have to boil all my clothes,’ he says of the fixed head coupé, under the hammer at Bonhams’ Goodwood Members’ Meeting sale on 19 March and estimated to make £25-30k.
Patrick Lloyd-Jacob, partner at Royce Service & Engineering, says: ‘ The only way that this could happen is if he had left the car in a damp location and mould spores had grown on the leather.
‘It’s more likely to be something on the leather, rather than the leather itself.’
Pictures of May’s Corniche show the leather seats to be in good condition, but an allergic reaction is possible if your skin is sensitive to chemicals that may have been used in cleaning and restoring leather seats.
Lloyd-Jacob advises owners to make sure the leather doesn’t dry and crack. He says: ‘Kits are available to help bring seat leather back to life, return the colour and keep it supple.’
Andrew Baldwin, owner of Rolls-Royce restoration specialist AB Classics, says that the mystery allergy could be a reaction to the leather tanning process: ‘I suppose it’s possible. People have allergies to all sorts of things, but I’ve never heard of it being a problem.
‘My advice would be to wipe your seats clean and use a hide feed to keep the leather in good condition.’
Autoglym spokesman Mark Docherty, suggests a two-step process: ‘After vacuuming and soft brushing the leather, you can use a spray-on cleaner to remove dirt that will give it a matte finish, just as the leather is when it’s new.
‘After cleaning we would recommend an application of leather care balm to nourish and protect the leather. This balm should be applied between two and three times a year.’
May’s Corniche is estimated to make £25-30k in Bonhams’ 19 March sale.