Does the SC have real 100% leather seats? - Club Lexus Forums


Does the SC have real 100% leather seats?

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Old 02-05-17, 10:29 PM   #1
jwynn
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Default Does the SC have real 100% leather seats?

Simple question, Does the SC have real 100% leather seats? Thinking of getting my 99 seats reupholstered. The passenger side looks new driver side is partially ripped. Also what are the comfiest seats to switch into the SC? Aftermarket? Other Cars? Looking at all options right now. Willing to just sell the leather from my passenger seat if anyones interested.
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Old 02-06-17, 12:02 AM   #2
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Yes, they're real leather. Not the highest quality, but it does seem like the later years improved in that respect, with the leather staying softer and being less prone to rips, but also taking on a purplish discoloration. (I've seen several examples of this, not just on my '98.)

The MKIV Supra seats are the easiest swap, being the only direct bolt-in, but they don't get overly high marks for comfort. I haven't tried them myself.

Comfiest depends on what you're after. Support, plushness, or somewhere in between? Personally, I find the SC seats to be too big and plush for a medium athletic frame, not holding me in place well at all when cornering. Aftermarket will generally score big for support, but even track guys have a hard time calling them comfortable with a straight face.

I've got a Mazda RX8 seat in the '98 and '00-05 Celica seat in the '95, both of which are very similar designs. They're much lighter and much more supportive than stock, and they don't sacrifice a whole lot of comfort. Especially the RX8 seat, which retains most of the adjustability and heater. The feet need to be modified to mount up to the SC's holes, however, and I raised the seat pan up 1" on the Celica seat because it was annoyingly low.
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Old 02-06-17, 12:09 AM   #3
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Yes they are real leather in the seats, door handles and center arm rest/console. The panels have faux. But I disagree that they are poor quality. These are just 20 year old leather that have dried out since most owners don't really recondition them, and SC's have very hot cabins due to the tiny roofs we have. I've seen an SC interior with perfect condition leather and its way softer than the one in my 08 GX. I always shake my head when I see people replace theirs with S2K seats, because those have the cheapest NAPA leather that most Fords use.
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Old 02-06-17, 11:48 AM   #4
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I said they're not the highest quality, not that they're poor quality. (I've probably been more critical elsewhere.) The leather in many cars holds up far better without care, so much so that many people don't even know their seats require any special attention. It's also debatable whether conditioning is even anything more than a placebo, given the uncertainty about sealed leathers.
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Old 02-06-17, 12:13 PM   #5
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the cheapest leather i have ever had was in the c-5 corvette.i treated it all the time with conditioner.after a couple of months they had alot of cracks,very poor quality.
i had a 98 gs400 and a 06 ls430 and my 93 sc400.the sc400 imo has the best leather then any other car i have owned and i have had over 40 cars most with leather.
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Old 02-06-17, 12:28 PM   #6
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Definitely real leather from the factory (unless you had a cloth base model 1992-1993 SC). By now the leather can be very aged and worn or (as was the case with my car when I bought it from a used car dealer) replaced with cheaper vinyl "leather" seat reupholstery in an effort to spend less to make it look better again. I had my front seats reupholstered in leather again to bring it back.

t2d2, I have to respectfully disagree with you about the bolt-in Supra MKIV bucket seats. I find them to be very comfortable but I'm also not a huge guy. More supportive lumbar than the factory SC seats and they actually have side bolstering. The seating position is also much improved to emphasize driver involvement. The stock SC seats are very good though and highly adjustable, just more focused on cruiser comfort. I'd also venture a guess that the quite old seat foam padding in most of these cars could use a bit of TLC these to bring them back up to the standard of comfort they had when new.

I'll agree though that the late model Celica and RX-8 buckets are also very good supportive sport-oriented bucket seats.

Last edited by KahnBB6; 02-06-17 at 12:33 PM.
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Old 02-06-17, 02:26 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KahnBB6 View Post
t2d2, I have to respectfully disagree with you about the bolt-in Supra MKIV bucket seats. I find them to be very comfortable but I'm also not a huge guy. More supportive lumbar than the factory SC seats and they actually have side bolstering. The seating position is also much improved to emphasize driver involvement. The stock SC seats are very good though and highly adjustable, just more focused on cruiser comfort. I'd also venture a guess that the quite old seat foam padding in most of these cars could use a bit of TLC these to bring them back up to the standard of comfort they had when new.
1) We're not really in disagreement. Many people like them, but I've also seen a lot of comments in the Supra threads that they're not super popular.

2) More supportive, yes, but that's not exactly the same as more comfortable, as I attempted to differentiate.

3) I do agree about the less than ideal seating position of the SC la-z-boys...indirectly through the improvements of a sportier bucket. I didn't really notice that until getting the M/T SC300 and finding it awkward to work the clutch with a stock seat.

4) I would say just the opposite about the foam padding, actually. The foam used appears to have been very high quality, not breaking down with age at all from what I've seen. The later years appear to have gotten softer foam, perhaps resulting from a decision that the foam was too stout early on. I've seen comments here noticing the same thing but assuming the older seats were stiffer because of aged leather. However, even after reupholstering my '94 seat with very supple leather, it's still much firmer than the '98 seat.
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Old 02-07-17, 09:58 AM   #8
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A lot of good information here. I personally like my OEM seats and re-upholstered the fronts/back/armrest a number of years ago. I'm 6'0 and a medium build I guess. I definitely do slide a bit depending on how fast I take a corner, but then again I don't race my SC.

I wouldn't mind swapping in Supra seats, if I can find a set in mint condition.lol

As far as aftermarket seats, I'm all for Recaro as I've had them on previous vehicles. I've had a few Sparco's and they were comfy to me and held me in good.
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Old 02-07-17, 12:10 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by aswang View Post
I wouldn't mind swapping in Supra seats, if I can find a set in mint condition.lol
That's partly why they don't top my list of options. I've only seen two sets show up for sale within a ~200 mile radius of here in nearly 3 years of watching, and they were in very poor shape with mounting feet removed, yet still a few hundred bucks.

You can't throw a stone in a junkyard without hitting a '00-05 Celica, so their seats score very well for availability. Bigger people might find them a bit soft, though, so best to find one that isn't full of blood and broken glass to sit in and see what you think. The GTS has a black leather version of the same seat that would compliment the SC pretty nice.
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Old 02-07-17, 05:31 PM   #10
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I worked for a leather repair company for some time and learned a bit about automotive leather. You are correct, and it is very provable if anyone wants to argue. There is a sealant layer applied after color to protect the actual leather and the color. The sealant comes in differing levels of "shinyness" .e.g satin, matte, semi-matte, gloss. etc. It is a very flexible "paint" if you will. The SC has two different "clearcoats" for the front and back seats. If you're ballsy, and want to experiment with some old seats, take paint thinner (the pink colored kind) with a rough sponge and apply a small amount to the sponge and start scrubbing. You will immediately cut through the clear coat and the leather underneath will be soft. If you keep scrubbing the color will start to come off. There are many types of leather as well, so I don't know the exact terminology (split, top, etc)

In essence, leather protectants or moisturizers, don't really do much - you could argue that the chemicals may help lubricate the clearcoat, and may dry to give the leather a very flimsy temporary coat that may help cleaning. Some may have some UV coating to help as well.

But in the end, the most simple test is to just put a drop of water on the seat. If it absorbs, it is absorbent and does not contain a top coat, but it's quite rare that a mass produced car will have unprotected leather, I think I looked it up and it's been done. If the water beads and rolls, then no "leather conditioner / moisturizer" really gets through to the leather. You'd have to strip the leather cleacoat completely, THEN apply moisturizers, then reapply a clear. Lots of work!

Quote:
Originally Posted by t2d2 View Post
I said they're not the highest quality, not that they're poor quality. (I've probably been more critical elsewhere.) The leather in many cars holds up far better without care, so much so that many people don't even know their seats require any special attention. It's also debatable whether conditioning is even anything more than a placebo, given the uncertainty about sealed leathers.
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Old 02-07-17, 06:46 PM   #11
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Thank you for the tips on leather care and coatings, ISFFUN! I've been using a leather conditioner/cleaner product I bought at a Lexus dealer (I'll check my trunk for the name. It comes in a brown bottle with white spray nozzle). I've also read some Bentley and Rolls owners like Connelly(?) leather cleaner/protector. I haven't tried that yet to see how good it is.

It's telling though when you say that for the most part the majority of leather protector products only do so much.

t2d2, I don't think we're really in any disagreement either other than that I don't feel the comments elsewhere that the Supra MKIV seats are uncomfortable are very accurate to begin with. I've been on some ten hour drives in the MKIV seats and that's the only time I've ever had a complaint... from not changing my position much for hours on end. Otherwise they do pretty well even in heavy city traffic. Certainly they aren't the only seat options around. I've always liked the Celica GTS seats but they are a bit wide for SC's, aren't they? I could be wrong.

My SC seats I recall being cushy and comfortable but not so supportive in the lumbar. Mostly I didn't like the complete lack of side bolstering I was used to in my previous car's seats (stock Honda Prelude) since my torso would naturally move too much when taking turns very aggressively.

As for the condition of the leather, for what it's worth I gave up two SC front seats with upholstery in great condition when I picked up two MKIV tan seats with hard, cracked and ripped leather that looked like hell I drove on those for a couple of years like that until I had them recovered in new leather. I special ordered the MKIV skins in the same color leather Katzkin uses for direct replacement SC seat leather so that the interior would match. MKIV tan seats come with more of a slight gold leather hue compared to ours.

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Old 02-07-17, 07:45 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KahnBB6 View Post
Thank you for the tips on leather care and coatings, ISFFUN! I've been using a leather conditioner/cleaner product I bought at a Lexus dealer (I'll check my trunk for the name. It comes in a brown bottle with white spray nozzle). I've also read some Bentley and Rolls owners like Connelly(?) leather cleaner/protector. I haven't tried that yet to see how good it is..
You're thinking of Lexol...it is the same product I use. Fantastic smell.
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Old 02-07-17, 08:51 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KahnBB6 View Post
Thank you for the tips on leather care and coatings, ISFFUN! I've been using a leather conditioner/cleaner product I bought at a Lexus dealer (I'll check my trunk for the name. It comes in a brown bottle with white spray nozzle). I've also read some Bentley and Rolls owners like Connelly(?) leather cleaner/protector. I haven't tried that yet to see how good it is.
Connolly is the brand that is commonly used for high end cars. I've heard good things over the years, but I've never tried it.

There is always a lot of discussion about leather care in the detailing sub forum, but this recent post has some good information in it. http://www.clublexus.com/forums/auto...ml#post9747402
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Old 02-08-17, 04:59 AM   #14
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Lexol is exactly it, Thomas. I couldn't recall the name. Thank you! So far I like using that. Blkexcoupe, I will try Connolly out at some point. I figure it can't hurt unless the price per bottle is horrendous.
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