Since setting off from Kensington Gardens on Sunday 22 June, Car 67 - a British Racing Green TVR Chimaera has been causing a stir as the first ever car to sport a printed leather interior.
The designers of the vehicles interior, Edward Griffiths and colleague Jan Cicmanec, are best known for their leather showpieces and were part of the team that created Kylies Kyborg outfit worn on her Fever World Tour. According to Edward, the design for the Opus 9 car is based on, the display techniques of orchids and the go faster stripes and colours adorning the dragsters at Santa Pod.
At the heart of the concept is the use of a new patented process which prints full colour, high definition images into leather, which is unlike any other leather printing process available on the market.
According to Isabelle Courtney-Guy, sales director of Opus 9 Limited, the printing method used is the equivalent of tattooing the leather without impacting on the traditional characteristics of the material.
What is most exciting about this new process we have developed is the quality and durability of the printed image and the fact that the process does not effect the usual characteristics associated with leather.
Other common methods used up until now have included transfers, surface prints used on luxury goods, screen prints or embossing. But these methods usually result in low definition, unstable images and the leather loses some of its best qualities said Ms Courtney-Guy.
However, the versatility of the product means that its use does not end with vehicle interiors and the automotive manufacturing industry.
The leather can still be used in any range of applications, which provides numerous opportunities within other industries that use leather including footwear, furniture, accessories and of course fashion a sample of which is on display at the event, added Ms Courtney-Guy.
The fashion sample is being modelled by Opus 9s co-driver, 23 year-old Dannie Blaker, wearing a printed leather outfit designed by Griffiths and Cicmanec to compliment the vehicles interior. The creation is called Hot Dragster Hot Pants.Published 25 June 2003