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June '16 Winner
Congratulations to Steven MacKay for winning our June show and shine. Steven and his wife recently bought their dream car, an Aston Martin V8 Vantage. Although the car had been well maintained by the previous owner, the bodywork was still in need of some tender loving care. As such, Steven spent an evening or two browsing our website, refreshing his memory on the topic of machine polishing and buying new products, and then borrowed a friend's workshop for a day to get all of the detailing work done ...
"My wife and I bought our Aston Martin V8 Vantage a few months ago. It's our dream car. I knew it had been reasonably well cared for by the previous owner, as they'd had a valeting company round to clean it every week. However, it still had a lot of swirl marks and other light damage in the finish, consistent with its age, and we wanted to put this right.
My cleaning regime for the period we own a car can be summed up as: (i) after buying, fully decontaminate it, machine polish and protect it; then (ii) keep the car nice using good technique and a semi-annual re-wax for the two to three years we typically keep it. The correction detail is arduous enough for me to only want to do it once per car. So, each time I do a correction detail on a car I re-research how to do it, to remind myself of things I've forgotten. I believe the key for people who aren't experienced is to take it easy and only do what you're comfortable doing.
With the above in mind, I visited the Polished Bliss website, read all the guides, checked the paint hardness chart and bought a long list of new products to supplement what I already had on the shelf. After a quick call to Polished Bliss to make sure I hadn't missed anything or bought the wrong things, I sat back and waited for my order to arrive on the allotted delivery day. The box arrived undamaged, on time and well packaged. The weather in the weeks preceding the detail had been awful, so I arranged with a friend of mine who owns a workshop for him to let me use his unit one Saturday. In light of the time constraints and her love of the car, my wife agreed to help out - gulp.
After washing the car down with normal shampoo using a lambswool wash mitt and the standard two bucket method, we got things started with an application of Auto Finesse Iron Out. This doesn't smell great, but went on a dream until I realised purple fluid containing dissolved iron was dripping all over my friend's workshop floor. We quickly moved the car outside, mopped the floor while the Iron Out finished reacting, and then rinsed it off. After that it was on to tar removal, employing a spirit-based tar remover. It's tricky to spot tar on a black car, so the wife stroked the lower segments for half an hour to tell me what I'd missed.
Next up was claying, using Gyeon Q²M Clay and Gyeon Q²M ClayLube. The clay was split into six pieces, which were kept in a bowl of warm water and rotated as it cooled to keep them at a nice blu-tack consistency. In the past I've skipped the iron removal referred to above but, judging by the condition of my clay bar this time, which came up quite clean, it was a step worth doing. By the time we had finished, the car already looked better and the paint felt smooth. The windscreen had been bugging me for weeks as, when the sun was low in the sky in the evening, it became obvious that there were loads of microscopic blobs on it that caught the light and made the glass difficult to see through. After the Iron Out step, Gyeon Q²M Clay and a quick bash with some glass polish, the windscreen was returned to its original, fully transparent, glory.
After masking off all the sensitive bits (such as badges, rubbers bonnet vents, etc.) with 3M High Performance Masking Tape we moved on to the machine polishing, using a dual action machine I'd bought some years ago. This was coupled with Lake Country 140 mm Hydro-Tech Finishing Pads and Menzerna Super Finish 3500 (PO106FA). Given (i) I'm not an expert with the machine; (ii) the Aston Martin bodyshop near us isn't cheap; and (iii) I'd promised my wife that if I did the job I wouldn't mess it up, I took it relatively easy in terms of pressure and panel contact time. My aim was to remove the cobwebbing, but I was willing to leave random deeper scratches in place. So, safe for today, but also leaving plenty of clearcoat for future polishing work.
Having run over the car with the machine we applied a coat of Poorboy's Black Hole Glaze, waited for it to dry and buffed it off with some microfibre towels. This product was easy to work with and gave a lovely deep, glossy finish that really brought out the metallic flake in the black paint. The Black Hole was followed by Poorboy's Natty's Blue Paste Wax, which we applied with a foam applicator pad. This wax smells great and both went on and buffed off easily. In the past I've used Collinite, but the Poorboy's was definitely easier to remove. Hopefully the protection will still have good longevity. As you can see from the pictures, water beads up nicely and the finish is clear, deep and reflective. All told we went home with a range of aches and pains, along with a car which had been transformed by the day's activities."