DELWYN MALLETT 22
WITH NO FEWER THAN THIRTY LEATHER JACKETS AND COATS STASHED AWAY, YOU COULD BE FORGIVEN FOR THINKING MALLETT’S A BIT OF A FETISHIST. HE TELLS US HE’S NOT, BUT…
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
“THERE’S STILL TIME TO CHANGE MY MIND…”
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…