The Mercedes-Benz SL 320 is a two-door roadster and on its release in 1989 was a car ahead of its time, featuring as standard, an electro-hydraulic convertible roof. Other innovative luxuries also came as standard, including electrically operated windows, mirrors and seats.
This 1993 SL 320 was brought into UF’s Brands Hatch based Detailing Studio for a Gloss Enhancement Treatment to restore the Beryl Metallic paintwork and to repair some stone chips. In addition, an Engine Treatment, ClearVision Glass Treatment, Alloy Wheel Protection and Soft Top Treatment were also specified.
Given the age of the vehicle, the paintwork really was in pretty good condition. The owner clearly had looked after it well so it was understandable he wanted the car to be given a thorough detail to refresh the overall feel of it. – Derek Ginger, Master Detailer, UF Detailing Studio
The number plates were removed to allow better access for cleaning.
Because of where they’re situated, number plates are ideal dirt traps. Typically after you’ve washed and dried the car, retained water starts dripping, bringing with it trapped dirt and subsequent dirty streak marks. Removing the number plates is the only way to be sure to remove all the build-up from behind the plates and so avoid the issue. – Derek Ginger, Master Detailer, UF Detailing Studio
The SL 320 was then treated for iron contamination using Gtechniq W6 Iron & General Fallout Remover. The active ingredient reacts with ferrous contamination, shrinking the particles and breaking their bond with the underlying substrate. These can then be rinsed easily and safely away. Next, the car was treated for adhesives such as tar and squashed bug remains using Auto Finesse Oblitarate. The engine bay was degreased using Bilt-Hamber Surfex HD in a Kwazar Orion Super Pro+ Pump-Up 6 Litre Sprayer.
The Kwazar Sprayer is ideal for APCs as it has a level indicator embossed on the side, so you can measure your dilution ratios accurately. It also comes with 3 different spray tips so you can select the one most appropriate for the job at hand. In this case, I used a flat spray making it easy to direct the stream of product accurately along areas where precision is required, such as in the engine bay and along door shuts. – Derek Ginger, Master Detailer, UF Detailing Studio
The bodywork of the SL 320 was also degreased. The car was jacked up under each corner, in turn, allowing for more clearance between the wheel and the undercarriage so the wheel arches could also be thoroughly cleaned.
The SL 320 was pre-cleaned using Ultimate Snow Foam in conjunction with a Kranzle K 1152 TST Pressure Washer and a Kranzle-adapted foam lance. The thick foam lifts larger particles of dirt and grit away from the surface of the vehicle, allowing them to be freely rinsed away without contact.
A second application of snow foam was applied and used as a lubricant for a clay mitt, removing any remaining nodular contamination. The wheels were washed using a UF Wheel Bucket with Grit Guard and a selection of UF Wheel Woolies. The long, non-scratch handles let the brushes pass through the tight openings in the wheel face allowing for cleaning right through to the rear of the rim.
The fabric hood was washed using Renovo Fabric Soft Top Cleaner and a Wheel Woolies Natural Horse Hair Brush to loosen and lift dirt out of the fibres. The hood was then thoroughly rinsed to ensure all remaining suds were completely removed, as trapping cleaning product within the fibres can encourage mildew formation. After rinsing, it was clear that there was little or no hydrophobic protection on the roof as rather than being repelled from the surface the water had completely soaked into the fibres.
The bodywork and wheels were rinsed and the car was given a full wash using the Two Bucket Method, a UF Ulti-Mitt Double Sided Merino Wash Mitt and Gtechniq G-Wash Shampoo. The car was once again rinsed, removing all the suds before an Aqua Gleam De-Ionising Water Filter was attached in-line with the hose to give a final, pure water rinse. The SL 320 was dried with UF Ultra-Soft Microfibre Drying Towels and brought into the studio for visual inspection under high-intensity lighting.
With the car completely clean and free from contamination, it was easier to spot the paintwork blemishes that needed attention. Lighting showed some wash swirls, a few random deep scratches (RDS) and a couple of stone chips which required ChipEx treatment. – Derek Ginger, Master Detailer, UF Detailing Studio
The next step was to correct and refining the paintwork using a two stage machine polishing process. To address the ‘sticky’ paint issue, a combination of PolishAngel Master Compound and Koch-Chemie H8.02 was used on a Kamikaze Collection Banzai Dynamics Red Polishing Pad.
I tried several combinations before I found the right pad and compound for the job. The paintwork on the SL was really sticky and many of the compounds I tried would roll into little balls when the heat built up, causing the product to fling everywhere. The surface needed be highly lubricated to prevent this happening so I needed an oily compound but also one with a degree of cut. Master Compound provided the lubricity and H8.02 provided additional cutting power. – Derek Ginger, Master Detailer, UF Detailing Studio
The SL 320 has many contours and a large grille area, all of which can be tricky for machine polishers with a larger throw. As a result, a combination of the RUPES BigFoot LHR 12E Duetto, RUPES LHR 75E Mini and the RUPES Nano iBrid were used. The Nano iBrid can be used either with a rotary or orbital action, so the friction build-up can be adjusted to suit each job.
The cutting process required around eight hours to achieve the required level of finish. Then to refine the paintwork and burnish it to a high shine, a FLEX PE14-2 Rotary was used with a combination of SCHOLL Concepts S40 on a SOFTouch Ultra-Fine Finishing pad.
After machine polishing the stone chips on the front of the car were addressed. ChipEx paint chip repair system uses the colour code from the manufacturer to match precisely the paint for the car. This ensures the best possible solution for stone chips. The area is cleaned first with an astringent solution before the touch-up paint is dabbed thickly into the gouge using a specially shaped applicator. This fills in the hole left by the stone.
After allowing the paint to cure for a few minutes, the areas are treated with a small amount of ChipEx Blending Solution to remove any excess, then each blemish was hand polished with ChipEx refining polish and carefully buffed off to ensure a smooth finish.
Finally, the paintwork was cleansed using Gtechniq Panel Wipe to ensure all polishing residues were removed, leaving the surface ready for a layer of Gtechniq Crystal Serum.
Crystal Serum is a nano-ceramic sealant with excellent protective qualities: It cures as a dual layer, the lower layer is slightly softer so it flexes under pressure. The upper layer is much harder to resist swirl marks usually introduced during the wash process. It is virtually impervious to extremes of pH, so wash chemicals and acid rain will neither penetrate nor etch the surface. The hydrophobic barrier it provides causes dirty water to roll away, rather than stick to the treated surface. The result is car protected from swirls, UV, industrial and environmental fallout and with a great shine too. – Derek Ginger, Master Detailer, UF Detailing Studio
After allowing the sealant to cure for around three hours, a layer of Gtechniq EXO v2 was applied over the top of the initial layer of Crystal Serum (CS Black). This highly effective combination further enhances the hydrophobic protection, increases water beading and helps keep the car cleaner for longer.
The glass was cleaned and then sealed using Gtechniq G1 ClearVision Smart Glass. This nanotechnology based sealant repels rainwater, causing it to roll into beads on contact with the treated surface and allowing it to be easily blown away even whilst driving at relatively low speeds.
The wheels were coated with Gtechniq C5 Alloy Wheel Armour, a heat resistant nano-ceramic coating which will not burn off when the wheels become hot during use. Brake dust is repelled, as is water, dirt, salts and road grime. This makes keeping the wheel clean much easier and negates the requirement for harsh wheel wash chemicals. The tyres were dressed using Gtechniq T2 Tyre Dressing for a natural satin appearance.
The SL 320 was then masked with a protective film and the convertible roof treated with Gtechniq I1 Smart Fabric Coat to re-weatherproof the fabric.
To ensure the convertible roof was completely dry we left the protection until last. Sealing moisture inside the fibres causes mildew and mould to form and can permanently damage the material, so the fibres must be bone dry first. Once I1 has been applied, water forms into tight beads that simply rolls away, rather than sinking into the fibres. I1 coats the individual fibres, rather than a complete layer, so it doesn’t alter the texture of the fabric, therefore it’s great for using on interior fabrics and hood linings too. – Derek Ginger, Master Detailer, UF Detailing Studio
Fully gloss enhanced and now protected, the SL 320 was ready for collection, truly a stunning example of its generation.
UF Detailing Studio – Award Winning Detailing. Call 0333 800 8004 to discuss your requirements and arrange a free vehicle appraisal.