- Max Tarmossin is the owner of ColorGlo GTA, which specializes in restoring car interiors.
- He walks us through how he restores the driver’s seat in a Ferrari 360 Spider.
- This includes cleaning, filling the cracks in the seat, and repainting it.
- Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Following is a transcript of the video.
Narrator: My name is Max Tarmossin, and I’m the owner and operator of ColorGlo GTA. Our main job is to refresh and restore interior components of vehicles. Today, I’ll be walking you through how I’m restoring the driver’s seat on the 2006 Ferrari 360 Spider. The problem with the driver’s seat is that over the years of use, there’s obvious signs of wear and tear. The original dye has faded, it started cracking. The leather has started to wrinkle and fold up and deform itself.
The first thing that I do with this car is I start by removing the seat from the vehicle itself. That makes it much easier to work on, and when I end up spraying the dye, I don’t have to mask off the entire interior. Once the seat is out of the car, I put it on my worktable and I start by dismantling the seat itself. I’m removing the main bottom cushion and the top cushion to expose the bolsters of the seat. This makes my life a lot easier, because I gain access to all the little crevices that are found in the seat.
I start by fully cleaning the seat. I have my own cleaning mixture. I spray the seat down, and I start off with a brush, and I start agitating the seat to lift the dirt up from the leather that’s been in there for years. This is a very crucial step, because I want a clean working slate. The reason for that is when I’ll be applying the fillers and the dyes, it has something to stick on and there’s no grease or oils that could alter or affect my products. I use a soft horsehair brush to get into all the little crevices and to clean up the threads, and then I follow up by drying it with a hair dryer. I could leave it to dry by itself, but I find that it’s much quicker and I can see any parts that I missed because they still remain shiny and not matte.
Once the cleaning has been fully done, then I start by sanding the leather down. It creates trenches in the leather that enables my product to bond with the leather to have proper adhesion. I’m removing the old dye that’s all cracked up, and I’m exposing the natural hide on the seat itself. I usually start with 120 grit, and I work my way up to 400 grit. The smooth finish is needed because once I start applying the dye, you don’t want the leather to be still uneven when the dye lays on it, and looks natural, clean, and uniform. Then I start filling in any imperfections, scratches with our crack filler. Our fillers are flexible because leather is flexible and we can’t be using a stiff filler. I use an artist’s spatula. It allows me to fill the cracks but also remove the excess filler from the top surface. I carefully go around the entire seat. I let that sit to dry for a bit, and, once again, I go back to sanding. It creates a smooth, uniform finish.
I start by mixing the color. In this case, the color is black, so it’s fairly simple. I’m pouring my base into the green cup. Then I pour the black pigment. Once I’ve established the ratio for how consistent I need the dye to be, I move on to the next step, and that is starting to hand-rub the dye into the leather. It allows the dye to be sucked into those trenches and valleys, and it allows the leather to really absorb our dye and to hang onto it. I go over the entire seat. Once I’ve done that, I pour the dye into my spray gun and I add additives to my dye. So, in this case, the additives that I’ve added was a no-gloss additive. Usually a full seat receives about three to four coats of dye. Once I’ve been spraying, the white crack filler is no longer visible, and that’s what I’m aiming at. I take out my second gun, and now into that gun I mix in the same leather base that I started with, but without any black pigment, and this serves as a clear coat for the seat, which separates the black dye from the user. Curing takes about a day, then I go ahead and reinstall the seat.