Classic Porsche - - Contents -

Mal­let’s men­tal me­an­der­ings

This month Iʼm deeply into leather. Ac­tu­ally, Iʼm deeply into leather most months. I have to con­fess to a long-stand­ing fond­ness for leather jack­ets and coats. Noth­ing sin­is­ter I stress – no Fas­cist salutes or whips in­volved. Ridicu­lous though it may sound I have thirty – yes, you read that cor­rectly – stashed around the house. In my de­fence, which is ac­tu­ally no de­fence at all, as a no­to­ri­ous hoarder, own­er­ship of some of them stretches back as far as the early 1960s to my art school and scooter­ing ʻModʼ days. The even odder fact is that I rarely wear any of them – in fact while in my own­er­ship a few of them have never ven­tured out­side the house. And no, I donʼt do ʻdress­ing upʼ in the evenings…

What on earth has this ʻtrue con­fes­sionʼ got to do with Porsches, I hear you ask? Well, as some of you may re­call, in is­sue No.55 I re­lated the strug­gle that I ex­pe­ri­enced in se­lect­ing the shade of grey for my split-win­dow 356 ʻstream­liner ʼ and, hav­ing fi­nally plumped on my cho­sen shade, ended by say­ing that there was more de­ci­sion mak­ing – or in­de­ci­sion – ahead when it came to in­te­rior trim.

One might be for­given for think­ing that this is the first time that Iʼve had a car re­painted, but far from it. I must be push­ing around a dozen re-sprays in my lon­grun­ning car col­lect­ing ad­ven­ture but past de­ci­sions were easy – Porsche Guards Red or Sil­ver, with red or black in­te­ri­ors. (I once si­mul­ta­ne­ously owned eight Guards Red cars, only two of which were Porsches.)

Seek­ing some sup­port from a neu­tral quar­ter, a ren­dezvous with ed­i­tor Seume was ar­ranged at re­storer Steve Ker­tiʼs Dunker­swell premises. (Still not sure if rop­ing Mr Seume into the process was the wis­est of moves, af­ter all he chose to paint his old Porsche gold, of all colours!)

Gath­ered around my freshly-painted 356, the de­ci­sion seemed fairly straight­for­ward. Head­lin­ing choice was be­tween fawn or light grey and sev­eral of the Ger­man box-weave car­pet shades im­me­di­ately elim­i­nated them­selves. Red, green and oat­meal were out, leav­ing the choice be­tween char­coal, light grey and a blue/grey mix. Easy then. Grey car – grey roof lin­ing and blue/grey car­pet. Done and dusted – head for home, leav­ing the car des­tined for im­mi­nent de­liv­ery to the premises of West Coun­try Trim­mers in nearby Bovey Tracey. I soon re­ceived a call from pro­pri­etor Guy Broom to say that the head­lin­ing was fit­ted and would I like to pop down and make a de­ci­sion on the seat and door panel colour.

The out­come of the dash Devon-wards was not quite as an­tic­i­pated. The head­lin­ing is beau­ti­fully made and fit­ted, but a few square inches of swatch now trans­formed into sev­eral square yards of head­lin­ing looks much bluer than I had imag­ined. Whatʼs more the car looked less grey than I re­mem­bered, and Iʼm be­gin­ning to think that it is­nʼt ac­tu­ally grey at all and that ʻTau­peʼ (a bit ʻfash­ionyʼ I know) would be a more ac­cu­rate de­scrip­tion. Itʼs def­i­nitely a warm rather than cool tone.

Slightly taken-a-back, con­fi­dence in my choice of trim colours made only a few weeks ear­lier now be­gan to wa­ver. ʻTake your time,ʼ ad­vised Guy, sens­ing my con­fu­sion. And time was cer­tainly re­quired.

Itʼs quite amaz­ing how many dif­fer­ent leathers and sur­face fin­ishes are avail­able for the auto trade – hun­dreds! Af­ter an hour-or-more of lay­ing swatches on the sur­face of the car I – or should I say ʻweʼ – fi­nally opted for a dark blue and I set off for home. But that lit­tle worm of doubt was al­ready gnaw­ing away and I was be­gin­ning to think that per­haps once again I had made the wrong de­ci­sion.

One hun­dred miles later I had con­vinced my­self that I would be for­ever un­happy with a blue in­te­rior. The sub­se­quent phone call went some­thing like this, ʻGuy, so sorry, hold the presses, hope you havenʼt or­dered any­thing yet, Iʼve got it wrong, changed my mind, very, very, sorry, I think Iʼll have to come down again, sorry.ʼ An­other 300-mile round trip was in the off­ing. Bovey Tracey here I come

Back at West Coun­try Trim­mers, with Seume once again along for moral sup­port (Iʼm a glut­ton for pun­ish­ment) plus a car de­signer friend with im­pec­ca­ble taste, it was swatch book time again.

Now, Iʼm sure that you are still won­der­ing where leather jack­ets fit into this saga? Well, amongst my ac­cu­mu­la­tion I have a 1920s ʻmo­tor­ing coatʼ and a WWII jerkin as used by despatch rid­ers (and, post­war, the favourite of coal­men – the sort that de­liv­ered to your house off the back of a lorry, for those not old enough to re­mem­ber). Both gar­ments are tan in colour, and made from very soft, al­most matt, analine leather.

Un­like the leather typ­i­cally used in cars, which have a re­silient and pol­ished top coat­ing, analine leather is dyed us­ing sol­u­ble dyes that al­low the hideʼs nat­u­ral blem­ishes to show through, and is less re­sis­tant to wear and stain­ing. Ideal if you are a fan of ʻpati­naʼ.

I took along my mo­tor­ing coat and jerkin to spread across the Porscheʼs in­te­rior and to my eyes at least the re­sult was not dis­pleas­ing. Net re­sult – Iʼve de­cided on tan leather, as close in colour and tex­ture to my coat as fea­si­ble. How­ever! Iʼm wait­ing for the car­pets to be fit­ted be­fore mak­ing the fi­nal, ir­re­versible, de­ci­sion. But thereʼs still time to change my mind… CP


Donʼt be alarmed: Mallett may have a fix­a­tion with leather but itʼs harm­less – hon­est. Heʼs just look­ing for in­spi­ra­tion for his Porscheʼs new in­te­rior. Well, thatʼs what he tells us…

Many would de­scribe Delwyn Mallett as a se­rial car col­lec­tor – one with eclec­tic tastes at that. His Porsche trea­sures in­clude a pair of 356 Speed­sters, a Le Mansin­spired Pre-a coupé and a 1973 Carrera RS. Some of them even work…

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