Wednesday, 25 February 2009


Why is it that today's cars, which bear almost no relation to those built a century ago in dawn of motoring, still share one single component; a seat covered in dead animal?

Don’t get me wrong, dead animals have their place; its just that covering car seats isn’t one of them.

The stuff is freezing cold in the winter, likely to give you 1st degree burns on a hot day, and is slippery all the year around. It was originally used because cars usually didn’t have roofs, and needed a seat covering that would stand up to the elements. By the time cars had roofs, we’d all moved on. Take a look in the back seats (where the owners sat) of an upmarket saloon from the 20’s and you’ll find rich fabrics; the skin was reserved for the paid help who did the driving.

I appreciate that previous attempts to find a replacements for the stuff haven’t been all that successful; the 50s gave us vinyl, and the 60’s leatherette. Those efforts simply recreated the weak points of cow skin, and removed the one good point; the nice smell. A 70’s velour in beige might not have been very much better, but at least you didn’t skid across it before hitting the (vinyl) door trim when engage in any enthusiastic cornering.

The motor industry is capable of building vehicles with complex hybrid drive trains and with carbon chassis. My nearest branch of Millets is crammed with high tech fabric clothing, surely, a seat fabric that cools or heats as required, feels good to the touch, and grips you comfortably is not beyond their ability?


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