UF has performed detailing treatments on a wide variety of vehicles, from modern sports cars and supercars to less exotic but still beloved daily drivers. In addition, the studio has cosmetically restored many classic vehicles, including a number of examples of the iconic Aston Martin DB5, an Ex-Works Ford Escort and a Mercedes 280 SL ‘Pagoda’. Given that technologies have changed over the years, classic cars require a slightly different approach as their paintwork presents different challenges to modern clear coats.
Every classic car is completely different to work on which makes them especially interesting. Given their age, some have inevitably been repainted and therefore you’re never sure what you’re dealing with until you get the car into the studio. Many have chromed wire wheels, so detailing them is a far more intricate process than with modern alloy wheels. The manufacturing process was different too; modern cars have chassis which are far better protected from the elements, whilst some classics can require attention for rust. As Forest Gump famously said – life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re gonna get! – Matt Back, UF Detailing Studio
Produced between 1961 and 1975, the E-Type combined performance with sleek, sporty lines and at a price that, at the time, made it accessible to a wide audience. However, coachbuilders then tended to leave unseen sections of the bodywork unpainted (a cost saving measure) and the box section construction design allowed water to collect along the inside of the sills, causing many of these cars to simply rust away. Around half of the original 15,000 Series 3 E-Types remain, and finding a rust-free, completely original model is challenging and their prices are eye-watering! This particular E-Type was a special passion for the owner, so much so that it resides in a purpose-built garage, complete with temperature and humidity controls to preserve the integrity of the metals. Although it spends the winter tucked away, come Spring and the first sign of good weather, out it comes – it was bought to be driven, not simply stored and admired! The owner only drives it with the top down, the better to enjoy the sensation of the wind in his hair, and to wallow comfortably in the whiff of hot oil and petrol that accompanies many a classic car. As far as he’s concerned, the E-Type was meant to be driven this way and it’s all part of the experience. For the same reason, he carries out all regular maintenance work and describes himself as a true car enthusiast, rather than just a ‘petrol head’.
Having bought the car around seven years ago, the owner has spent some time putting things in order. Previously the E-Type carried a personal number plate and when ownership changed the DVLA assigned an age related albeit random registration. With careful research, the current owner discovered that the original 1974 license plate was available and immediately arranged to have it assigned back to the car.
Shortly after, he applied for a Jaguar Heritage Trust Certificate. This is issued by the Jaguar Daimler Heritage Trust, a registered educational charity whose purpose is to preserve the history of Jaguar Cars Limited. The main focus of the Trust is to collect and preserve vehicles and other items pertinent to the history, industrial development and social impact of Jaguar and its associated companies. The Heritage Certificate is available to owners of Jaguar cars that are more than ten years old. Each certificate has a unique Production Record Trace Certificate Number and confirms the provenance of the vehicle. Details included information taken from the original records, confirming the engine and chassis numbers, colour schemes, build and dispatch dates as well as the destination of the car. In some cases, where the information is available, the name of the owner and the first date of registration are also listed. The certificate is an important part of the record of the vehicle and for owners who are passionate about their Jaguars, it’s a must-have.
The owner of ‘VPL 382M’ is an existing customer of UF. In May, he brought his Ford Mustang to the Brands Hatch Studio for New Car Protection. He was impressed with the results and could see the benefits of having a tough, durable ceramic coating protecting the clear coat of the Mustang. It was apparent that his E-Type had extremely soft paint which marked very easily. This was as a result of a previous bare metal respray which had not been protected with a clear coat lacquer. To attempt to combat this, the owner developed a careful wash process designed not only to avoid the issue of water collecting in the sills but also to avoid putting swirls and scratches into the paintwork. However, the process was having limited success and so, delighted with the results on the Mustang and aware of the scratch resistant properties of ceramic sealants, he booked the E-Type in for a Gloss Enhancement Treatment and Wheel Protection.
The bodywork was clean when it arrived at the studio and so, mindful of the potential for rusting issues and to avoid water ingress, the paintwork was steam cleaned, a section of a panel at a time.
Steam is very effective at softening minor contamination and remnants of old wax, allowing it to be safely wiped off with an ultra-soft microfibre. – Matt Back, UF Detailing Studio
The steam cleaning process is also ideal for wire wheels and for getting deep into the grille recesses. Once this had been completed, the E-Type was carefully placed on the hydraulic ramp, a process requiring extreme caution to ensure the weight bearing points were correctly aligned, as failure to do so can permanently damage the structure of the car. Once on the ramp the centre-locked wire wheels were removed so they could be fully cleaned and protected.
Wire wheels trap water, so applying protection is essential to inhibit rust forming. It was particularly important for these wheels as they are original, complete with the original centre spinners. Once removed, the wheels were steam cleaned and dried. They were gently hand polished and then protected using Swissvax Autobahn Carnauba Wheel Wax. – Matt Back
The bright work was polished with Britemax Easy Cut Metal Polish which uses a combination of solvents and chemical cleaners to remove light rust, along with any tarnish and oxidation. The chrome was then protected using Autobahn Wheel Wax. Autobahn is a hand-poured carnauba based wax made by Swissvax, formulators and manufacturers of exclusive car care products. This wax repels water and waterborne contamination, oils and also helps inhibit brake dust build up. Treated surfaces are easier to maintain during the weekly wash. Due to the natural ingredients, Autobahn is ideal for sensitive wheel finishes such as chrome and has the added benefit of imparting a dazzling shine.
Prior to machine polishing, paint depth readings were taken and recorded on the vehicle appraisal sheet.
Paint depth readings are always important, even more so in this case, as with no clear coat, the potential for burning through the paint is increased. In this instance however, the readings were more than ample to facilitate the machine polishing process. – Matt Back, UF Detailing Studio
Close inspection of the paintwork revealed sanding marks from previous machine polishing, scratches and swirls. As the paintwork was soft, a number of pad and compound combinations were employed to find the most effective solution.
The Koch-Chemie Yellow Polishing Pad has quite a thick profile, so was really good for manoeuvring over the contours of the vehicle, particularly with the direct rotary action of the PE14-2. However, the combination was not perfect for other sections, so I changed to a RUPES Duetto dual action polisher with a RUPES Medium Green Polishing Pad and Menzerna Heavy Cut 400. The low profile of the RUPES pad provides better feedback through the machine and Menzerna works well with soft paintwork. For the narrow areas of the bodywork, I used a RUPES LHR 75E Mini, as the smaller throw makes it easier to correct along the door struts and shuts. – Matt Back, UF Detailing Studio
Refining was carried out using a RUPES Duetto with a Kamikaze Collection Banzai Dynamics Black Finishing Pad and Kamikaze Collection Ichiban Finishing Compound. Kamikaze Collection is a Japanese designer and manufacturer of innovative car care products that incorporate the very latest technologies. Kamikaze Collection products have been formulated and developed with soft Japanese automotive paint finishes in mind, making it the perfect choice for the paint on the E-Type.
Soft paint and ceramic sealants are not always an ideal combination as the chemical formulation of these coatings can cause the paintwork to mark during application, irrespective of how carefully it is buffed off after the initial curing. Therefore, Kamikaze Collection Infinity Wax Hybrid was used. Infinity blends ceramic coating elements with natural carnauba to deliver the best of both worlds: the ceramic elements provide enhanced longevity and protection, whilst the natural carnauba enhances the warmth of the Signal Red paintwork.
Infinity Wax must be mixed for sixty seconds to activate the ceramic ingredients. The soft, creamy wax is then applied in a thin uniform layer and allowed to cure for at least ninety minutes. During this time, the ceramic elements cross link with the paint forming a strong chemical bond which increases the protection and durability of the coating. Finally, the residue was buffed off by hand using 500 GSM Kamikaze Collection Ninja Black Towels.
The grille and exhaust tips were polished using Britemax Easy Cut Metal Polish, before being protected with Britemax Final Shine Metal Sealant.
Britemax Final Shine Metal Sealant helps to repel water, dirt and oils, keeping the metalwork bright and shiny.
Brought out into the sunshine in readiness for collection, the Signal Red paintwork looked radiant and the chrome sparkled. Cosmetically restored and now fully protected, this 44-year old E-Type will be turning heads for many more years to come!
UF Detailing Studio – Award Winning Detailing. Call 0333 800 8004 to discuss your requirements.