By Patrick Rall
While the entire Street and Racing Technology vehicle family features seats and other bits around the interior clad in soft leather – the Chrysler Group is taking the optional luxury level of these high performance vehicles a step further with a new Laguna Leather package for the entire lineup.
SRT has sought the help of Elmo Leather of Sweden to offer this ultra high-end leather package for the 2014 Challenger SRT, Charger SRT, Grand Cherokee SRT, 300 SRT and the 2014 SRT Viper GTS. This leather is taken strictly from Scandinavian cows because in the regions where these cows are raised, barbed wire is prohibited. This means that there are very few marks of any kind of the hides of these animals which equates to less unusual marks in the leather – or less need for the company to doctor the leather to look perfect.
“Most leathers that are used in automotive applications are processed, and there is a grain or print applied to the leather to get out flaws like bug bites and scars,” said Brian Papke, SRT Interior/Exterior Restraint Manager. “Ours is naked leather. Naked leather is right off the cattle. If the grain varies or there is a scar, that’s what’s on the leather. We don’t try to correct it. It is what it is. You are seeing and getting a pure piece of hide.”
In addition to having a super soft feel, the new Laguna Leather package promises to look great for a longer period of time as this is a leather surface that requires special care – but it will last much longer than the processed leather used in most automotive interiors.
“It wears in, it doesn’t wear out,” said Fraser Mackenzie, Elmo Leather. “That’s the expression I like to use. It’s like that bomber jacket or baseball glove. In terms of overall wear, you are not going to see the cracking. You are not going to see the dryness of the leather. This is something that is going to conform to you and the way you sit in the vehicle. It will wear in. It will develop creases and wrinkles that conform to the way that you sit in that seat.”
Finally, as a move towards being a “greener” car company, the Laguna Leather is 100% recyclable and Elmo Leather has been recognized as being one of the most eco-friendly leather tanneries in the world. While many leather producers use chromates that are harmful to the environment, Elmo uses a special blend of tanning solution based on vegetable oils.
No pricing has been announced but we can expect that the SRT Laguna Leather package will cost buyers a pretty penny. The Laguna Leather is listed as an upgrade in the 2013 SRT Viper configurator and while there is no price – the Laguna is an upgrade over the Nappa leather upgrade that costs $3,000. We would expect that the Laguna Leather would cost somewhere north of that $3k figure for the Viper when it hits the market. Pricing on other models will almost certainly vary.