S2 E-type: Leather vs Vinyl Surfaces

Hello -
New 1970 S2 FHC E-type owner and I’m trying to learn where Jaguar put leather versus vinyl in the interior. I just want to make sure I’m using the right cleaner/preservatives. Any help from the community would be appreciated!

My S2 FHC has a black interior, so distinguishing between animal hide and petroleum-based products isn’t always obvious. My main areas of concern are dash top (leather?); seats (leather?); center shift console and arm rest cover (leather?); door cards and door sills (vinyl?); rear side panels (vinyl?); and storage/luggage deck (vinyl?).

Please let me know if I guessed wrong on any of the above.

Thanks in advance!



The surfaces you normally touch while sitting in the seats are leather. Not the sides of the seat cushions or the sides and backs of the seat backs. The headrests are leather. The top of the console and the top of the console arm rest pad are both leather as is the shift boot and the passenger side grab handle.

That’s all I can think of. Everything else came from a vat in a chemical plant.

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Thank you! Very helpful!

I have a Series 2 FHC, build date of 6/70. It has all-vinyl seats, which I have EVERY reason to believe are totally original to the car… I am aware that this contradicts the usual received wisdom on the subject, but it is convincingly obvious to me that this is the case. The color (beige) matches the Heritage certificate, and the wear is consistent with the age and condition of the car, which has never been restored.

Has anyone else ever run into this? Mine surely couldn’t be the only example.

Bob Frisby
Boise, Idaho

Graham, there are subtle differences in the grain pattern of the leather vs vinyl. See this current thread and look at the swatches side by side.

Also, if you can access the back side, vinyl has a thinner backing than the leather. The vinyl typically has a tightly woven cloth material on the back side, typically white. With leather, there is just “the hide” of the cow and it is generally about twice as thick as a piece of vinyl. If you pull your boot boards out, you will find some edges of the pieces that cover the sides of the boot. These will most surely be vinyl. If you reach up under the seats, the edges of the seat covering are wrapped around the bottom of the frame and are stapled or tacked. You can at a minimum feel in there with your fingers and establish the difference in thickness.

Note there is every possability that your seats have been recovered at some point. The bolsters on the drivers side in particular get damaged. So don’t just assume they are one or the other. I have a set of seats now that have 2 layers. The original leather and then a set of vinyl covers over top of that.

Colorplus.com is a good resource for education and maybe some of their products if your leather needs some work. There seem to be a lot of leather care products out there. Everyone seems to have their favorites. Regarding your vinyl, I like McGuires Rubber and Vinyl treatment but again, everyone has their favorites. Reading detailing websites makes me crazy, there are so many options out there. Good luck.

I don’t think any e-type was ever delivered with vinyl seating surfaces.

I don’t think so either. Would Jaguar have installed vinyl as a special order? Doubtful anyone would have asked for that, but if so do they note such things on the heritage certificate?

There have always been some people who don’t like leather (and not just vegans or PETA adherents.)

Unless one intimately knows the history of a given vehicle (original owner, in the family, etc.) it can’t be ruled out that changes like this were made early in the car’s life.

In a more extreme example, I’ve read about 1965 E-types rebuilt from a junkyard - in 1969. One could easily say the car was just as it was in 1969 - but that doesn’t make it close to original…


Or they damaged the interior. Someone here recently damaged their seat by forgetting they had a screwdriver in their pocket when they sat down. In one of my sister’s cars the front seat and carpet under the ashtray area looked like hell after three years of ownership because she was sloppy and smoked like a chimney. Looked like someone played with sparklers in there.

I use a good quality automotive upholstery cleaner and a soft brush like one for scrubbing your hands to clean the vinyl/ non-leather surfaces. Wipe the residue off with a microfiber cloth. I use Lexol leather cleaner and then lexol preservative for the leather areas. I recently tried some Gliptone leather treatment in my F, not only for the conditioning, but it has a leather smell to it that I wanted to bring back. Maguires vinyl / rubber conditioner is good for the dash top and for weatherstripping/seals.

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