By Mike Peake
Poppy was running sweetly and my thoughts were turning to our groups main event this year at the Boston Bubble car Museum. However, my shame at the state of Poppy’s paintwork was becoming unbearable. Even Mrs FB was commenting on how rough she was looking and it was all topped off when my youngest daughter sent me pictures of a Herald she’d spotted saying, “Look. I found a car like Poppy, only shiny!” I was crying myself to sleep almost nightly with shame and guilt.
So at the NEC, I took my courage in my hands and decided to ask some experts how to go about preparing for a re-spray and how much it was likely to cost. I couldn’t find any experts so had to settle for the Brooks brothers who are at least knowledgeable in the Dark Arts of bodywork and painting. (Actually, I’m lying. They are truly the Darth Vaders of the Dark Arts and continually turn out stunning examples. That wouldn’t have sounded funny though.)
They in their wisdom, pronounced that apart from the boot lid, I could probably get away with a machine polish. Well I was a bit dubious as I had tried this last year as you may remember and wasn’t that impressed.
Then I started to think about it and realised that it may have been the fact that I am a bumbling incompetent fool that led to the less than impressive result. I began to think that maybe taking it out of the box, plugging it in and shouting “Tally Ho” without so much as even looking at any instructions, may have been a bit of a gung ho method of approach. So I decided to do something radical. Yes, I would research the “How to” sites and actually learn how to machine polish. I know! What was I thinking? I came over all funny and flustered at the thought of my sensibleness.
My initial research showed very quickly that this wasn’t going to be easy. In fact it seemed fiendishly complicated as I battled my way the differences in foam pads and the applicable colour codes, and that there are various different grades of polishing compound as well as a process called clay barring.
So I persevered and learned all I could and watched lots of videos showing technique. I worked out a plan and posted this plan on the FB group “Detailing for Dummies” (It seemed appropriate somehow) to get approval of my plan. Imagine my surprise when my plan met with almost universal approval, but this was nothing when set against my trepidation that it was actually time to stop reading and watching and get off my fat bottom and actually DO IT!
I selected and ordered all the pads, polishes and waxes I thought I would need. I ordered a set of different graded foam pads for my Silverline polisher and some micro fibre cloths. I also ordered shampoo, compound, polish, liquid wax, clay bar and quick detailer and some tyre black, all from Maguire’s Ultimate range. I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned this before, but it all came to rather more money than I was expecting. I hope you are sitting down but all this cost £75. I was a little bit shocked at this outlay, I can tell you.
My plan was a 6-step process as follows:-
All six steps would be applied to 1 panel before having a rest and moving on to the next panel.
The following weekend found me standing beside Poppy surrounded by cleaning products, nervously building up the courage to start.
I decided the top of the bonnet would be classed as 2 panels and started on the offside panel, working through the steps above being very careful to faithfully follow the techniques I’d seen on You Tube.
It was much harder work than I thought both physically, in applying pressure and keeping the polisher from skipping across the panel, and mentally, in maintaining the level of concentration required. I have no idea how long this panel took as I lost track of time but when I stood back for a look after the waxing step, I was stunned! The left hand side of Poppies bonnet was red. Not only was it red, it was shiny and red. Not only was it shiny and red, but I could see the sky above reflected in my paintwork.
I was very pleased with the result and was tempted to press on with the rest of the car immediately but I remembered that every single video had said to do a small piece at a time and then have a break otherwise tiredness can lead to mistakes. So I went and had a brew.
Over the next few days, I slowly worked my way round the car with (if I say so myself) astonishing results. I was in serious danger of breaking out of my default level of “bumbling incompetent fool” and breaking into the next level of “almost looks like he knows what he’s doing”. Even neighbours were stopping by and looking at my work with amazement and awe.
This didn’t last for long though. I’d worked my way around the car and only had the boot lid to do. I was tired and should have been calling it a night, but I only had the boot lid to do. I gave into temptation and pressed ahead to get the car finished. This was the point I fell back squarely to my normal level and allowed the backing pad on the polisher to come into contact with the moulded edge around the number plate and “burned through” the paint on quite a large area. I may have said some bad words. Quite a lot of very bad words.
But when I stood back and looked at the finished result of the whole car my little accident with the boot lid diminished in scale. After all, I was planning on re-spraying the boot lid anyway and the rest of the car looked great, almost unrecognisable.
I really am incredibly pleased with the result. So much so that I even told Maguire’s in the hope that I would get some free product for promoting their goods. They haven’t got back to me yet, but I’m sure they will.
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