We're always looking at the material we harvest from cars, to see if the form of the material lends itself well to any particular product. The "map pocket" on the rear of many front seats is a case in point. On some cars it has an elasticated top and seemed to us to lend itself to a small drawstring bag ideally suited to holding small items like Golf Balls.
We put together a prototype to see what it would look like and we're really pleased with the look of the results. It's made from a 1978 Jaguar XJ8.
But its not us that need to be impressed its our potential customers, though we think it would make a great unique gift for any Golfer. A unique functional product, environmentally friendly and a novel topic of conversation at the 19th hole!
Not sure what to call it though.......
Luckily the two Jaguar XJs's we mentioned previously had not yet been processed and we were able to retrieve the seat leather before the cars are crushed and recycled. One car was first registered in 1998, the other 1997, making them 18 and 19 years old respectively.
The majority of the leather is in fabulous condition, only the drivers seats showing wear (which we left behind). It would seem a combination of high quality material and low usage of passenger seats has meant the material has stood the test of time, and now will go on for a good few more years as a bag.
A bit of research on the web tells us that one car was last MOT'd in 2013, which means it could have been on the road up until its MOT expired in 2014. So it was still being used just a couple of years ago.
Looking around at all the lovely Walnut veneer adorning the vehicle interior when removing the leather material, it seems such a shame that we cannot yet harvest those materials too.
Jaguar XJS - fingers crossed
We know that there are far fewer cars on our roads (and hence in our recycling yards) that contain leather seats. So for us its a case of recruiting a large number of suppliers that will each send us a small volume of material for us to turn into high quality bags.
Its not always easy for a potential supplier to see merit in what we do as it means a small amount of extra work and at the moment whilst there is a positive return for them, its not massive. So when I visited an Authorised Treatment Facility yesterday to chat about our Seatgear project, I was very pleased to be offered two Jaguars from which we could access the material.
There is a catch though, the cars may not still be held (they are at another site) and may already have been destroyed. Hopefully we can locate them, they are still intact and we can access the material which should make some really nice products.