Connolly Hide Care Dissolving Color of My 1986 XJ-SC Leather

Hi All,

today I attempted to condition my 1986 XJ-SC leather interior (LDY = Savile Grey) using Connolly Hide Care and found that the product dissolved the grey color of my leather. Attached are some photos to document this along with photos of the product/canister. Also note the cream-like consistency, since there are reports of people saying theirs has become liquid/separated, not the case here.

Before the conditioning, I took 3 rounds of leather cleaning, using warm water, 2x application of Connolly leather cleaner 1:12, the two more applications with warm water.

I have stopped using the product and was wondering if someone has made similar experiences. I am also wondering about the authenticity of the product in the first place, since the product, event though it carries the label, has nothing to do with the original Connolly company. On the back it says: “Manufactured under license for H S French Flint Ltd” HS French Flint is a British importer of jars and food containers - no hints to the leather industry at all.

Is Connolly care products a big scam?

Some of the Connolly family members still sell the leather and own the old archive, and I have contacted them if they approve this product but no reply:

Also, some part of Connolly is now a leather accessories company with upscale retail in London, nothing to do with car leather:

Anyone any thoughts or real insight in this? I should discard this stuff, have used Leather Honey today, great product and the leather looks super supple now.

Are you sure the leather hasn’t been ‘painted’ by a previous owner?

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All that warm water and repeated cleanings sounds very harsh. Was that according to instructions? Leather really required very gentle cleaning. You’re only wanting to get the dirt off, not actually deep clean the leather.

You’re right about the Connolly company though, the original company went out of business in 2002. A new company, Connolly Brothers resumed the original business, and other ventures have also used the name.

Hard to believe that a conditioner product of any kind would be harsh enough to smear the underlying dye. Perhaps the hides were previously re-dyed or that particular batch of hides didn’t get the full treatment at the tannery and the sealant wasn’t up to par.

Xactly I thought that. You beat me to post.

If that stuff can take the dye off, you might want it to take the dye off. Better that than coming off on someone’s clothes.

I had the same thing happen to my Savile Grey seats in my 1987 XJ6 when I used Hide Care. Nothing else I’ve used (leatherique, neatsfoot/lanolin) caused the same thing.

I stopped using Hide Care after that first use.

Coincidence that it’s happening to Savile Grey?

Thank you very much everyone for your replies!

I had tried this in other places (lower side of the seat back, door panels) and the dye is coming off in all these places. I know the front seat received a new bolster at some stage but all other leather is original.

During all my cleaning steps I never scrubbed and only used moderate pressure, using a brand new white microfiber cloths that turned dark from the dirt (not grey!) in the first step but remained sparkling white during the last cleaning step

I respectfully disagree, the dye did never come off on anyone’s clothes, I am using the car regularly the last two years. The dye came off because of some solvent being part of the Hide Care product

This is fascinating…maybe some diff in the grey lacquer vs. the other colors? I have no idea, however I am done treating the whole car with Leather Honey, after two consecutive applications my pad does not show a single sign of grey!

I thought it is supposed to say something like 'Hyde (Hide?) Food" on the containers, at least as to the conditioner part – at least from back when Jaguar still sold that product? :thinking: I’m wondering if what you bought is a knock off of the original product (?)

Reminds me of when ceramic polish first became all the rage recently. :money_mouth_face: One of the primary manuf’s product was this purple liquid that came in a small clear bottle with a real funky sort of “half 8”-shaped handle + spray trigger on it. You had to twist a little knob above the trigger to unlock it so it could spray. I forgot the name of that product, but the one I bought online looked very similar but did a VERY poor job. :frowning: In fact, one of the names that goes sideways down the front of the bottle was misspelled. I didn’t catch that red flag until I had used the product a couple of times. Another red flag were the use directions on my bottle, which advised “no need to clean the surface” before applying, and also directed that you should “wipe it off immediately after spraying”. wth? :open_mouth: I found out later on the correct application of ceramic polish requires that you CLEAN the surface first, and that, like with wax, you allow the product to dry to a haze before removing/buffing off. Undoubtedly I fell victim to a knock off (probably made in a non-English speaking country), and, IIRC that mistake cost me around $25.00 or so. :angry:

I agree with Nick on that first comment. :open_mouth: Didn’t know the part about Connolly still being “in biz”, though. Wow. :disappointed_relieved:

A couple of afterthoughts, if that product IS legit, is there an expiration date on it (or was there one on the originals?)? If so, might be well past that date and that has somehow changed the chemical properties, possibly? Same possibility if it was not stored properly, such as in extreme heat or cold conditions. :thinking: Reminds me of the time I bought a bottle of that $$$ Zymol car wax (or possibly it was “Smart Wax”?), which contains all kinds of fruit extracts in it (banana, apple, etc.). I guess the idea is that these “natural ingredients” lend a good conditioning to the paint (?) However, the co. apparently omits any preservatives in their product. The disastrous result for me was when I left the bottle in the hot boot of one of my Jags over the TX summer. By the time I found it a few months later, the bottle had swollen up greatly due to the trapped gas pressure of the decomposing fruit, and was “sweating”, appearing that an explosion of same was imminent at any time. :grimacing: I VERY gingerly carried it out to the trash dumpster and heaved it in, like carrying a live grenade away.

Note also it says on the bottle to not use it on “untreated leather”. IIRC, the Connolly leather in our Jags is covered with a thin layer of clear lacquer sprayed on it at the Jag factory. If somehow this “clearcoat” protective layer has been removed on your car’s leather, then possibly your application of the product to the bare leather surface might understandably be taking the dye off/out of it. ? :thinking: Your cat being of that age, and a convertible, plus multiple cleanings, might = missing clearcoat layer.

The original Hide Food, is what would have been recommended for these cars. It may even mention it by name in my manual, I am not sure.

If two people with the same color are reporting the same result with the new (reformulated) Hide Care, then the problem is probably some new ingredient is not agreeing with that color.

Everything is (constantly) reformulated now. Specially when products and trademarks are sold to and owned by larger corporations, all they care about is profit. If changing an original formula saves them 1/2 cent per bottle, they will do it. Smaller business still owned by families are more likely to keep original formulations intact.

There’s a lot in the archives about the original Hide food. I had some. Everyone agreed it doesn’t do much, but there was no talk of removing colour. As mentioned, the original colouration was lacquer on the surface. But by now many seats have been redyed with Leatherique or similar, which is latex (water) based. To apply the lacquer must be removed with lacquer thinner or similar. It’s possible that the new replacement for Hide Food can dissolve latex-based dyes, and that the seats in question have indeed been redyed. There was mention of the dye coming off the door panels (?) which would suggest that they had been dyed with latex-based leather dye even though they are vinyl. IMHO.

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Don’t mean to hijack this thread but I noticed the other day , I just probably ruins my leather seat. The only think I can think of is I left my bottled water there and maybe the condensation combined with UV light during the heat wave. Cooked the leather. It went all hard and crusty. I’ve been soaking it with this product (no affiliation) and just seems to discolour it.
I’m open to any suggestions that anyone has to bring this back.

Water as a lens to concentrate the UV and concentrate heat at a spot!!!

Use a glass and a piece of paper can be ignited with rays from the sun…

Wow. Can’t believe that took place in just one “episode” ? :confused: Yes, I read something in the news a year or two ago where they were warning people not to leave bottles in their cars in the sun on hot days. :sun_with_face: The bottle acts like a magnifying glass with the sun’s rays if hit at just the right angle and can even cause interior material to spontaneously combust. :open_mouth: :fire: :fire_engine:

I think I posted sometime back how that almost happened with Superblue. I had left the bottle (of soda, IIRC) laying on a basket of clothes in the passenger seat that I was taking to the Laundromat. This was during one of our very hot Dallas summer days. :sun_with_face: Before going to the Laundromat I stopped at my office and happened to be there a few hours. When I went to the Laundromat later that day I took the clothes out of the basket to wash and was stunned to see that my dark brown bath towel had a couple of holes in it. :open_mouth: Upon closer exam of the holes, I could clearly see “char” marks on the perimeter of the holes, which told me that the holes had been burnt into the towel, like with some laser beam. I thought and thought and finally it dawned on me what had happened. :angry: Very luckily for me, the bath towel probably had some kind of anti-flammable chemicals (i.e. flame retardant) in it to prevent it from spontaneously combusting except when touched directly with an open flame. If not for that, given there was a whole pile of clothes under the bottle, I would have come out of my office to see XJS Flambee … :car: :fire: btw, Jagrrrrrrrrrrr … Superblue’s interior is the same color as your cat’s - Doeskin. You’d think that light of a color would “resist” such things, but apparently not. I’d really hate to see what it would do with a black/warm charcoal interior … :grimacing:

Surprised that no one has chimed in here yet … but I’m sure different products will be mentioned, including Leatherique. Sorry, but I have nothing good to say about that product, personally. :hushed: Others will suggest Neatsfoot oil, saddle soap, and the Connolly Hide Food product, I’m sure. I think I had tried that very same product you show w/o results on Superblue’s seats. :angry: I noticed that Chemical Brothers also now sells a 2-part leather cleaner and conditioner, and it’s probably the most $ of anything else I have seen for leather conditioning (over $20 per bottle here). I haven’t tried it so don’t know how well it works. Anything that you do use the usual suggestion for hard core cases is to apply it liberally and then place a layer of saran wrap over it. Then lit sit with the seat area directly in the hot sun with windows up all day.

Thanks to everyone for the continued discussion.

Some follow-ups:


Yes Hide Food was the original name of the product but I read somewhere that they had to re-name it for the American market. On the cleaning I performed I want to re-iterate my statement above that throughout my cleaning cycles no color was picked up by my cloth at any stage on any surface.

Also, I had purchased the product recently and if stored too hot the ingredients would have separated as reported elsewhere. Per my photo of the product this was not the case.

Regarding your point on the clear coat, I am not aware that Connolly leather has this. Doing some research, Connolly leather is a vegetable tanned leather which is thicker than modern leather, and only colored on the surface with solvent based paint, nothing else. The back side of Connolly is supposed to be brown no matter what color our front side is. I’ll check this on my car and report here.


Yes I agree with your assumption that there’s some ingredient (solvent as I have heard) being part of today’s Connolly Hide Care product that does not match my paint on the leather.

As for who owns this product this remains a mystery but it is definitely not today’s Connolly bros. Still waiting on their reply to my question wether they approve Hide Care for their leathers…

Finally, one comment was questioning if my door pads had leather. I believe yes and also same goes for the arm rest. My car is 1986 and per my research only the early XJS had the vinyl door panels w/o the wood inlays.


Hi Dirk ;

In my experience, they don’t reply. I asked them about Vaumol leather for my E type a few years ago and I am still waiting for a response.

My understanding is that when the company went broke, the current owners parents or grandparents sold the licensing for the Hide Food to some 3rd party, but I don’t know who. I am glad you didn’t end up ruining the interior, and at least now you know to be careful with the products you use. Probably some gentle Lexol or Griots spray Leather conditioner.