08 December 2015

Shift and Emergency Brake Boots and Shift Knob

I made new shift and e-brake boots for this car.  LeatherZ (which means "I") has been making boots for BMWs since 2002.  I have made boots for 8-series cars, E28s, E30 M3s, M6, you name it.  I have templates for everything.  Nothing I make is a generic or one-size-fits-all design.  For high volume cars, I have templates that I made from sheets of clear lexan.  For less common boots, I have cardboard templates.  I don’t keep anything in stock, everything is made to order.  For this car, I plan on changing the interior color eventually.  But for now, I am using black leather for the boots.  We use OEM BMW leather when we can get it (it is no longer available for sale from BMW, so unless you find a hide in stock somewhere in the world, they won’t sell it anymore, sadly) or Spinneybeck brand leather.  Spinneybeck makes leather for some of the nicest and most important furniture crafters in the world, like Knoll.  It is hyper expensive but unbeatable quality.  In a 55 square foot hide, there are usually only 2 or 3 square feet of scrap.  The cows are all European and they only come from farms who do not use barbed wire.  For these boots, the thread I used was specially imported from Germany.  I bought a newly upholstered steering wheel from Tainik on ebay, which I will be installing eventually, and had him send extra thread I knew would exactly match his wheel.

I thought maybe I would show a few pictures of the process.

Shift boot, MZ3, Black leather with M stitching, boot only reusing the plastic ring that came from the car, $95.00r

Emergency brake boot, MZ3, Black leather with M stitching, boot only reusing the plastic ring that came from the car, $95.00r

Shift knob, illuminated amber, bright chrome with black leather, $140.00r

Total price of this mod = $330.00r

Total investment in vehicle to date = $4594.19

This is my Pfaff twin needle machine.  I bought it in Seattle, used, for about $2000 around 2004 or 2005.  She will sew right through your fingers if you let her.


Boots in work

I sign and date most boots I build.

My dad builds all of the circuit boards we use in knobs, by hand one at a time.  Andy does assembly.  We use amber LEDs, not red like the stock shift knob uses.
I like the half leather half bright chrome knob because it will never show wear like an all-leather knob.  Unlike some BMW knobs, it's not solid metal so it doesn't get too hot in the summer either.


  1. I have a shift and Ebrake boot that looks just like that. The quality is outstanding. Instead of going though all this trouble you could just order one from LeatherZ. ;)

  2. Hi John! I was looking at your very nice leather work and got to wonder if you have made leather key chain holder for your Z3? I´ve been looking for several but haven´t really found THE one. Do you either know any nice key chain holders, or would you (for payment) make one with the right/blue stitches? I have a (of course) an S50 MC. Estoril blue with same black/blue interior. Looking forward to hearing from you. Best regards, Håvard, Norway