When I brought my Rover SD1 back from Poland back in October 2009, I promised myself that I’d leave it a few months before I set about making the paintwork perfect, and really making it shine. Chucking on wax and keeping it clean is one thing, and fine while the paint hardens up and ages, but what I didn’t want to do was start claying, treating and cutting it until I was absolutely sure it had aged a little, and I was confident that there would be no problems.
A few months ago when I started getting active on Twitter, I hooked up with Richard Tipper of Perfection Valet and asked his advice. I know he’s good, by the way – the cars he’s fully detailed since I’ve been following him is astonishing. He’s done the guys on Evo magazine including Harry Metcalfe’s amazing Lamborghini Countach. On any given day he’s either buffing up some Ferrari 458 or giving the works to 250GTO. In short, he knows all there is to know about paint.
And basically, what I needed to know was a) is my paintwork any good and b) is it ready for the full treatment?
He quickly reassured me that after this time it was – and that he’d pop over to the Octane office to have a look. As it happens when I rolled in at 8.15am, he was already here, and raring to go. After saying our hellos, (which is always funny – I know him, yet only in terms of online, and in packets of 140 characters), and doing the first brew of the day, he cracked on with the first wash. Then he used a cute little tool to measure the depth of the paint…
And here’s the good news. The Poles did a brilliant job. In places, the smooth high-quality paint is almost a millimetre thick – ranging from 600-1000 microns in depth. In comparison, most newer cars have a layer of about 150-200 microns thick. Nice. With that established, he was off – polishing, cleaning and breathing new life into the car. Although the exterior is nice, I did worry about the interior – but with the right solutions, and techniques, it has come up very well indeed. Far better than I ever expected.
The paintwork is something else again. I am not exaggerating when I say that it is the shiniest, glossiest car I have ever seen. It’s sublime to look at now, and the real shame is that the camera doesn’t really pick it up. But look at the reflections, and they are deep and clear. Gorgeous. I am bowled over by how it looks, and wonder how the hell I ever considered selling it!
It’s certainly been interesting. And confirmed that the Polish can do a brilliant restoration job. And really know how to paint.
It also confirms something else. If you have a car you cherish, and want to fall in love with it a little more, you really need to get it detailed. It really does make all the difference. In fact, you could say it’s perfect now!
Is the Editor of the Parkers website and price guide, formerly editor of Classic Car Weekly, and launch editor/creator of Modern Classics 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 unfeasible adventures all across Europe.