Rolls-Royce ex­perts: ‘We can solve James May’s itchy car prob­lem’

Classic Car Weekly (UK) - - This Week -

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.

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