911 (997) GT2 RS – XPEL Install

November 19th, 2015

911 (997) GT2 RS - XPEL Install

And now for something completely different; the installation of XPEL paint protection film to the front end (bumper, bonnet, wings and wing mirrors) of a solid black Porsche 911 (997) GT2 RS. This is a brand new service that we will be formally offering from the start of 2016. In the past, we shied away from the concept of installing such films, as many had a negative effect on the aesthetic of the underlying bodywork. The issues we frequently observed on film-wrapped panels were an increase in visible orange-peel (due to the surface of the film being microscopically uneven), a reduction in gloss level compared to the original finish, increased susceptibility to etching by the organic acids in bug splatter and bird droppings, and a strong tendency for UV damage to cause yellowing of the film over time (which was most noticeable on lighter-coloured cars). All of these factors put us off installing such films on our customers’ cars, with our alternative recommendation being to counter the accrual of stone chip damage by having affected panels periodically resprayed.

Over the last couple of years, however, significant advances in paint protection film technology have virtually eliminated these issues, to the point today where such films can actually enhance the appearance of underlying bodywork, in addition to protecting it against stones and other airborne debris. Furthermore, some of the most advanced films now feature self-healing clearcoats, meaning that fresh swirl marks and scratches are automatically corrected by semi-viscous polymers that flow into, and then level, any surface disturbances. This process is temperature sensitive, with the rate of self-healing increasing with temperature; if you wash your car with hot water any fresh marring disappears almost instantly! Consequently, our view of paint protection films has changed, and we now feel ready to recommend and install them. In line with this, Clark recently attended a week-long training and accreditation course at XPEL’s training centre in Hertfordhsire, which he passed with flying colours; he’s now officially a certified installer of XPEL products!

Clark is now a certified installer of XPEL products...

Onto the demonstration then. The car in question, a low mileage Porsche 911 (997) GT2 RS in solid black, was bought from a dealership in Nottinghamshire a couple of months ago, and transported up the road after receiving a comprehensive Swissvax pre-sale detail. With the bodywork in near-perfect condition, the owner was keen to have the front end wrapped as soon as possible, in order to keep it that way. He initially asked for just the bumper and wings to be done, assuming that the matt-finished carbon fibre bonnet and wing mirror covers were off-limits. However, Clark explained to him that XPEL offer self-healing films for both gloss (Ultimate) and matt (Stealth) finishes, so the scope of the job was extended to include these panels too. Upon arrival, the car needed very little in the way of preparatory work; Clark simply washed it in the usual way, dewaxed it using Auto Finesse Oblitarate, removed the stick-on bonnet emblem and degreased the soon to be wrapped panels using diluted isopropyl alcohol. He then performed the following XPEL installation process (click on the first image to load a captioned slideshow)…

Once the bumper was done Clark cleaned everything up (installing paint protection film is a very messy process) and then treated the rest of the car (i.e. all of the unwrapped areas) to a full Protection Detail and a Swissvax All Surface Treatment. As the following images show, the end result of the XPEL install was barely discernible, which is exactly how it should be! If you look really carefully at some of the images (particularly the shot of the wing mirror) you can just about make out the seams of the film, but from a couple of feet away or more you’d swear you were looking at the original factory paint finish. Although the above slideshow makes the fitting process look quite straightforward, the reality is that this install took a day and a half to complete, mainly because the 911 body shape necessitates a lot of careful stretching of the film in order to make it follow the beautiful curves. Indeed, it’s probably fair to say that this was a baptism of fire for Clark, as this was his first proper install for a paying customer. Watching him work was as equally impressive as it was nerve-wracking, not in the least when it came to fitting the brand new stick-on bonnet emblem (you get one chance to get it on straight otherwise it’s over £60 wasted!). All said and done the customer was delighted with the end result, and Clark’s now looking forward to his next XPEL adventure!

911 (997) GT2 RS - XPEL Install

911 (997) GT2 RS - XPEL Install

911 (997) GT2 RS - XPEL Install

911 (997) GT2 RS - XPEL Install

911 (997) GT2 RS - XPEL Install

911 (997) GT2 RS - XPEL Install

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11 Responses to “911 (997) GT2 RS – XPEL Install”

  1. Martin says:

    Amazing work! Curious as to how much this service costs?

  2. @Martin – We’re going to be offering it on a POA basis; every job will be different depending on the owner’s requirements, and there’s a number of film options to choose from. Plus, the need for pre- and post-installation detailing will vary too. Thus, we’ll only offer a quote once we’ve inspected the car and talked the owner through all of the available options.

  3. David Panchal says:

    Beautiful car, beautiful job!

  4. Kael Wilson says:

    You have described everything beautifully in this post by showing the real working scenario with images. Thanks for sharing!

  5. Matt says:

    Great job guys. I’ve applied this type of film before and it definitely isn’t easy! Thanks for sharing.

  6. Ken says:

    Top class job, that took real skill, looks fantastic. I have XPEL Ultimate (hood and bumper) what sealer / wax do you use on the film? It looks so deep!

  7. @Ken – We’re still testing a number of different options out, but so far we’re favouring good quality carnauba waxes, such as Auto Finesse Desire and Swissvax Crystal Rock, on our Ultimate installs. GYEON Q2 CANCOAT is also a good option if a slightly sharper look is preferred.

  8. Stephen says:

    Great work! I have a 2015 M3 which already has a few minor stone chips on the bumper. I presume that a stone chipped surface would need to be painted and virtually pristine before getting the XPEL treatment? I was considering getting the full front end done including the bonnet. Thanks.

  9. @Stephen Yes, that’s correct. With the exception of minor marring, which the XPEL films hide almost fully, any stone chips or scratches do need to be fixed or corrected first, otherwise they will remain clearly visible after the installation.

  10. Terry Urquhart says:

    Hi guys, I’m considering this film and will be in touch (after seeing this post, and I know Clark’s work). What is the aftercare method on this product? Any specific materials and methods? Terry.

  11. @Terry Urquhart Assuming you go for the high gloss version, you basically treat it like you would normal unwrapped bodywork (if using a pressure washer obviously keep it at a safe distance from any edges). You can wax/seal it with whatever you like (obviously avoiding getting product residue in any edges) and if it picks up any scratches/swirl marks the film will self-heal provided that the top coat isn’t penetrated. Whilst the film is self-cleaning we’d always recommend washing bug splatter off sooner rather than later, particularly in the summer months. That said, the film can be lightly machine polished if needs be (i.e. if any etching occurs). Overall, it’s very straightforward to care for!

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