Those of us who are of a certain age will never forget the sexy, smoky voice of the actor Ricardo Montalban extolling the virtues of the '70s-era Chrysler Luxury Vehicles and their “fine” sometimes “rich Corinthian leather.” I remember as a girl watching those commercials and thinking “wow ... imagine growing up and driving a car outfitted with this? The proudest export of the continental island of um ... Corinth? Or was it Corinthia?”

Imagine my dismay, the veritable rocking of my world when I decided in the early days of Wikipedia to randomly look up the origins of this most precious commodity. According to Wikipedia (which in turn is citing Bloomberg), much of the leather was supplied from a warehouse outside Newark, New Jersey and the term was simply a bogus marketing effort to make the textile of the upholstery sound way grander than it actually was. Yes, some “Madmen” type guy just firing off ideas to his superiors and thinking “how about ‘Caribou leather?’ Or ‘Mesopotamian Leather’ or ‘Doric leather?’”

And then settling on the very continental-sounding “Corinthian leather.” I picture the advertising executives around the conference room going “Yes, yes, JB!! You’ve got it!”

But back then, I didn’t know that. I was entranced. My father, who was a car freak was the first in our neighborhood to own a car with leather interior. It was a Lincoln Continental Mark III and I remember that it was such a welcome change from the fuzzy fabric seat of my mom‘s station wagon. I distinctly recall, at the age of 13 or 14, asking my father if this was, in fact, Corinthian leather. My father just chuckled.

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