Furniture Clinic Restores the Legendary 'Return of the Saint' Jaguar XJ-S

‘The Saint’ played by Ian Ogilvy

Furniture Clinic have a very special project we would like to share with you. Last month our expert team completely restored the entire interior of the original Jaguar XJ-S classic car that was featured in ‘The Return of The Saint’ TV Series for The Practical Classics Restoration show.

‘The Return of The Saint’ was a spin-off show from the original ‘The Saint’ television programme, which ran for just one series from 1978 to 1979 with 24 episodes in total. 20 of those episodes featured the angelic all white XJ-S with ‘antelope’ tan interior prominently, gaining a cult following along the way as one of the most desirable cars in British Television history.

The programme revolved around lead protagonist Simon Templar- a wealthy and mysterious good Samaritan known as ‘The Saint’ played by Ian Ogilvy in the return and Roger Moore in the original. Ogilvy was always accompanied by his XJ-S at every turn in the latter series.

This particular Jaguar XJ-S was an early prototype, built in 1975, and then supplied to ITV specifically for the show. When it came to Furniture Clinic it was in a bad way with holes, tears, colour damage, hardened leather and various stains all over the front and rear seats and looked beyond repair in many ways.

Today, we will be guiding you through how our expert team achieved the impossible, and restored the interior of this famous car back to perfect health, using Furniture Clinic’s products which can all be purchased from our online store.

Stage 1 – Leather Prepping: Firstly the leather needed degreasing as the grain was thick with unsightly stains, greasy marks and general dirt. To do this our team used Furniture Clinic’s Leather Degreaser, which they smothered the leather with and left overnight to extract excess grease and oil contamination. The leather was then cleaned with Furniture Clinic’s Leather Ultra-clean, prepped, and stripped to remove old damaged worn coatings and tarnished paint.

Stage 2 – Leather Reviving: After this came the reviving stage, using Furniture Clinic’s Leather Revive. The solution was massaged into the leather to loosen and soften the fibres, replenishing the natural fat liquors that the leather had lost over time and generally conditioning the material, making it supple and smooth once more. After this application the leather was then left overnight to ensure the Leather Revive soaked throughout the grain of the sofa.

Stage 3 – Leather Repairs: The third stage involved repairing rips, holes, scuffs and other surface damage to the leather using filler to bind and restore the surface to the leather. This damage in some cases was very deep and severe, but the filler managed to create a smooth surface once more and the majority of the repairs were absolutely seamless.

Stage 4 – Leather Binding: Furniture Clinic's Leather Binder was then applied to all of the leather, soaking deep into the structure of the material to strengthen any foundations that may have been lost, prolonging the life of the leather and ensuring that the hide is structurally sound for future use. Due to the age of the interior, this is an important process which cannot be overlooked, even if the leather seemingly looks of sound structure.

Stage 5 – Respraying & Finishing: Finally, the leather is resprayed, repainted and colour matched to give the best finish possible. We successfully ensured that the colour we chose (Antelope) matched the original colour perfectly, which sprayed the leather with an exact match to the original colour and left the final interior perfectly. This was done by applying pigmented coats in fine layers, building up the colour gradually and then applying a cleat finish and lacquer layer in the same way as the colour to finish.

After the entire process was finished, prior to the interior being reinstalled into the famous motor, Craig & Adam who were heading the restoration job were very proud of their work, and took the time to get a picture with the finished interior.

For a more detailed video guide of the restoration, watch the video below: