January is usually a slow and steady month at Polished Bliss, but this was not the case this year due to the exceptional amount of snow that fell early in the month. Not only did the snow disrupt order dispatch for over a week, but several customers were also unable to bring their cars into us for detailing services to be performed. This necessitated some painful reorganisation of our diary, but fortunately we were still able to squeeze in the Ferrari 355 F1 Berlinetta shown in the video below. Just over ten years old with 22k on the clock and mechanically excellent, the only thing letting the car down was the state of the bodywork, which showed all of the classic signs of many years of improper washing and maintenance. Ferrari paint is usually quite soft on pre-2005 cars, so we originally allocated four days to complete a major paint correction detail. However, early on in the detail it became apparent that front and rear end cosmetic resprays had left a rock hard finish that was going to require substantially more work if a near perfect result was going to be achieved. In light of this, the detail was upgraded to full Ne Plus Ultra status and ultimately more than 112 hours were spent restoring the bodywork to near perfect condition.
The detail commenced in the usual way with a comprehensive 4 hour wash process, albeit this time performed in near freezing conditions and steady rainfall – keeping the cameras dry was challenging to say the least! With the exterior, arches, engine bay and panel shuts all properly washed the car was then rolled inside to be clayed in order to remove any remaining bonded surface contaminants. Once clayed and fully dried off, the remaining 2 hours of day one were then spent removing badges, grills and number plates in preparation for machine polishing and photographing the various paint defects that were evident all over the car. The next 80 working hours (over 5 days!) were spent machine polishing the bodywork to remove these defects; as we mentioned above, originally we had hoped that a two stage polishing process was going to suffice, but it soon became clear that three stages were going to be required. In the first stage, aggressive wool cutting pads and polishing compounds were used to remove an average of 4-5 microns of paint and correct all but the deepest defects (some of the worst scratches were too deep to be fully removed given the thickness of paint on the car). In stage two, light cutting foam pads and polishing compounds were used to nip out the defects left by the action of the wool pads in stage one; this resulted in a further 1-2 microns of paint removal over much of the car. In stage three, soft foam pads and ultra-fine finishing polishes were used to refine the finish and maximise sharpness and gloss.
Whilst Clark was busy machine polishing, our new detailer Colin spent 16 hours over two full working days removing all four wheels and thoroughly detailing the arches, brake callipers and inner rims. What looked like ten years worth of grime and tar was fully removed, and all of the surfaces were then treated with appropriate protectants to ensure that they remain looking great well into the future. Tasks like this can be long and tedious, so credit to Colin for showing tenacity and patience throughout the process (although with Clark as his mentor he has no choice!). With the correction work all done and the wheels and arches looking spot on, all that remained was for all of the minor details to be attended too. In summary this involved: dusting down and vacuuming to remove all of the polishing dust; the addition of bespoke premium carnauba wax protection to the bodywork; vacuuming and dressing of the interior; polishing and cleaning of the glass inside and out; dressing of the engine bay; polishing and sealing of the exhaust tips; dressing of the exterior trims; dressing of the tyres; and a final wipe down with a top quality quick detailer to remove oily smears resulting from the curing of the wax layer. After 112 hours of work you would think we were done, but we then spent a further 4 hours photographing and filming the end result, and another four working days producing the video. As the old saying goes, ‘if you are going to do something, you might as well do it right’.