Bringing it back up to scratch
The ongoing return to normality continues for the Saab 9000 Aero. It’s been a horrible experience all-round – as a quick recap, I sent the car away for some repairs, then the mechanic disappeared, along with the car – and only recently has it been recovered from a farmer’s field in Somerset, windscreenless and draped in a flapping tarpaulin.
Obviously, you can imagine what the car looked like and how that made me feel. However, despite being down in the dumps about it all, and thanks to encouragement from a number of friends, I repaired the screen surround, put new glass in it, serviced the engine and cleaned out the interior, which had been home to some Somerset wildlife.
With the car MoT’d and back on the road, it was time to get it looking spick-and-span again. As you can imagine, the paintwork had suffered under that tarpaulin, but things were much worse than that. The garage that had been ‘caring’ for my car had decided to leave it parked in its paint shop and so, before being dumped in the field, it was liberally doused in what I reckon to be about three months’ worth of lacquer overspray. In short, the car looked worth little more than £80/tonne for scrap.
There was no way that I would be able to clean up the mess with my own cleaning gear, so after asking my mate Andrew Elphick for a recommendation, I decided to take the car to Clean Image in Chelmsford.
However, when I dropped the car off at 9.00am for them to put right, I could see the look of horror in the guys’ faces when they saw it – the paint, the fallout and the scratches were pretty awful. Anyway, good to their word over the ‘phone beforehand, they set about cleaning up the old girl while, in the meantime, Andrew and I went wandering in Southend, enjoying the ‘Golden Mile’ of used car dealers.
When we returned to Clean Image at 5.30, they were still busy on the car. The Manager, Danny Argent, who was clearly giving it his best shot, said it’d be a further couple of hours before the guys had finished – and, although the final results aren’t perfect, compared with the mess that I’d handed to them, it was a more than adequate job.
In fact, I finally felt that the Saab 9000 was getting close to being a car I could be proud of again. Kieran Bass, who’d also been working on the car, explained what I’d got for my money.
‘An Exterior Valet which consisted of a hot pressure wash, all tyres/alloys were cleaned and sheened, all glass cleaned/polished and the exterior trim was washed then sheened. We applied G21s to the paintwork and AutoSmart’s new Revelation wax which leaves a layer of protection on the car’s paintwork. See: http://www.clean-image.co.uk/exterior.htm#exteriorvalet
‘Paint Correction was carried out on three of the car’s panels: the O/s rear quarter and the adjacent door, then the N/s rear door. This was to remove the more heavier scratched paintwork you had. See: http://www.clean-image.co.uk/paint-correction.htm
‘I did a more basic machine polish on the rest of the exterior. I used a claybar with hot water on the paintwork to remove the heavy fallout/overspray. As you were aware, in areas across the car there was some very heavy overspray, so it took a while to remove.’
Anyway, it’s done now and I really do feel a lot better about the car, thanks to the sterling work the guys did. Yes, there are still two deep scratches on the bonnet, which will need proper sorting, but at least now I won’t feel like I’m driving a filthy old snotter anymore. Now, I’ve just to get the gearbox sorted once and for all…
I can only imagine how much the guys at Clean Image must still be aching after that little lot but, to prove how pleased they were with the job, they even made the Saab their Car of the Week!
Is the Editor of the Parkers website and price guide, formerly editor of Classic Car Weekly, and launch editor/creator of Modern Clsssics magazine. Has contributed to various motoring titles including Octane, Practical Classics, Evo, Honest John, CAR magazine, Autocar, Pistonheads, Diesel Car, Practical Performance Car, Performance French Car, Car Mechanics, Jaguar World Monthly, MG Enthusiast, Modern MINI, Practical Classics, Fifth Gear Website, Radio 4, and the the Motoring Independent...
Likes 'conditionally challenged' motors and taking them on unfeasable adventures all across Europe.