I think your upholstery shop was just trying to save you some money. While leather is a prestige item, and it looks and smells and wears great, making a headliner out of 100% leather doesn't make any sense to me. It would take 3 to 4 hides to do a headliner, which makes just the leather about $1200 to $1600 if you pay $8.00 a square foot for the leather. ( I'm talking about a headliner held up with bows) If you have a show car that's probably not a big deal to you, but for a car you're going to drive and enjoy that's a heck of an investment for something that you will barely ever look at. Besides that, cutting those large pieces out of cowhides makes the process a lot longer and more difficult, so your upholsterer would have to charge more for labor.
The car companies have their seats made for them using leather in the seating areas and vinyl for perimeter areas, seat backs, etc. They do this strictly to reduce costs. I can see doing the seats completely in leather because they are the focal point of the car's interior. I see a lot of car seats that the leather is just fine, but the vinyl has failed in wear areas.
One of my suppliers just showed me a new line of fabric that has a backing made of recycled leather and the face made of 100% polyurethane like Ultraleather. It is absolutely the closest thing I have ever seen to real leather that is man made. It retails for $36.90 a yard. (In comparison, real leather would retail for about $100 a yard and up.) Here are some pics:
No one lives forever, the trick is creating something that will.
Last edited by DanTwoLakes; 11-21-2008 at 08:17 AM.