Competition Class Mk3 Mini Cooper S Revived at Brands Hatch
Detailing isn’t only for new cars and supercars: it’s for any vehicle that represents someone’s passion. This 1971 Classic Mini Cooper S was a perfect example.
Originally owned by an American serviceman stationed here in the UK, it was sold in 1978 to a gentleman by the name of Richard Newton, a Mini enthusiast with two Mini Cooper S he raced on the continent. Mr Newton founded and built the successful business, Newton Commercial, dedicated to restoring the interiors of classic Minis.
To showcase Newton Commercial, this Mini was completely restored, inside and out, and painted in black and gold, the livery of his Mini racing team. This unique Mini Cooper S travelled the length and breadth of the country, attending shows and events, promoting the exceptional quality of the interiors Newton Commercial produce.
Featured in Classic Mini Magazine in 2016, Richard Newton announced his retirement and with it, the sale of this Mini. The current owner tracked Mr Newton down, a deal was struck and the Mini found a new home. Recently benefitting from an engine refurbishment and the addition of gold-painted authentic Mini Lite rims, the new owner brought the Mini to UF Studio to have the paintwork enhanced and protected. The new owner was keen to have the Mini looking as good as new prior to its appearance at the recent Goodwood Revival.
As a classic vehicle, albeit a well-cherished one, the Mini first needed to be decontaminated using products designed to tackle each type of contamination. First, the wheels and wheel arches were treated with UF Iron + Fallout Remover to eliminate brake dust particles. Then, Valet Pro Citrus Tar & Glue Remover was applied to dissolve the sticky bonds formed by tar deposits and tree sap. Finally, Bilt-Hamber Surfex HD was used to degrease the Mini, breaking down oily road grime and eliminating diesel splatters. The process was then repeated over the rest of the body of the car. The wheels were cleaned using UF Safe Wheel Cleaner, a thick formulation pH-balanced solution that clings to vertical surfaces allowing for longer dwelling time and therefore enhanced cleaning power. The car was pre-washed using Ultimate Snow Foam delivered through a foam lance attached to a Kranzle K-1152 TST pressure washer. The thick foam clings to the vehicle, lifting any remaining particles of dirt and grit away from the surface of the paintwork. The dirt can then be easily rinsed away before a wash mitt comes into contact with the paintwork, helping to preserve the gloss of the clear coat.
Clear coats can easily become swirled through poor washing techniques and the resulting myriad of small swirls and scratches reduce gloss levels. Following comprehensive cleaning processes using non-contact methods help to maintain the clear coat’s integrity. – Matt Back, Master Detailer, UF Studio
The Mini was carefully washed, using two buckets to keep wash solution separate from the rinse water. A designated Wash Bucket was filled with warm water and two caps of UF Pure Shampoo, a cleaner free from additives or gloss enhancers that might leave a residue on the car. A designated Rinse Bucket was filled with clean water. Both buckets contain a Grit Guard to help remove grit from the pile of wash mitt. Once the mitt has been loaded with soap solution and a section of the car cleaned, the mitt is dunked into the Rinse Bucket, rubbed over the guard, releasing dirt particles which fall to the bottom of the bucket. The mitt is wrung out and the process repeated until the car is completely clean. The car was rinsed free of suds and an Aqua Gleam De-ionising Water Filter used to give the Mini a final, pure water rinse. The Mini was then brought into UF Studio where it was placed on a hydraulic ramp so it could be lowered and raised for easier access to all areas. A BigBoi BlowR Pro touchless car drying system made short work of chasing water off the panels and out from all the crevices of the little car. The paintwork was inspected using SCANGRIP lighting to illuminate the true condition of the paintwork. Areas of particular concern were noted on a Vehicle Appraisal Sheet for reference during machine polishing.
The Mini has both flat panels and some with tight contours, so it presented different challenges to the ones you get when polishing a more modern vehicle. – Matt Back, Master Detailer, UF Studio
The paint finish was moderately hard and, given the extent of the swirls and scratches, Meguiar’s Microfibre Cutting Discs were selected for use with Koch-Chemie H8.02 Heavy Cut. A RUPES BigFoot LHR15ES and BigFoot LHR12E Duetto machine polishers were used for the majority of the paintwork enhancement process.
Prior to polishing areas surrounding by sensitive trim, these areas were protected with detailing tape to prevent polish residue from either becoming trapped in the trim or causing discolouration.
The narrow areas along the edges of panels, a RUPES BigFoot Nano iBrid was used with a RUPES 1 1/4-inch Blue Coarse Polishing Pad to concentrate the polishing action in the areas required.
The Nano iBrid is a great tool, a really useful addition to the machine polishing line up. Not only can it be operated cordlessly, but it can also be switched between a dual action and a direct rotary action, so you can tailor the method you need according to the job at hand. – Matt Back, Master Detailer, UF Studio
The first machine polishing session took care of the majority of the paintwork blemishes, however, under a SCANGRIP Sunmatch handheld light, a few marks could still be seen. Using dots of polishing compound to map out the grid, this area was then given two further passes with a microfibre disc.
Once the enhancement stage had been completed, the Mini’s paintwork was refined using Menzerna Super Finish Plus 3800, the fine abrasives ensuring the paintwork was brought up to a highly reflective shine. After being prepared with Gtechniq Panel Wipe, a blend of aromatic solvents and pure alcohol that dissolve any polish residues and ‘flash’ off, to leave a completely decontaminated surface ready to accept the ceramic coating. In this instance, the Mini’s owner had elected to protect the car with Kamikaze Collection Miyabi Coat. This ceramic sealant was so named from the Japanese word representing the aesthetic ideal of elegance and refinement – the perfect choice to bring out the reflective gloss of the solid black paintwork.
Once the coating has been applied, it is allowed to cure on the surface for around ten minutes.
The coating is then lightly buffed with a soft clean microfibre to reveal a glossy reflective finish.
The leather interior was also due for some TLC, so Colourlock Mild Leather Cleaner was applied and a soft leather brush used to lift dirt out from the leather grain.
The steering wheel was particularly dirty.
After the foam was cleaned away, the leather upholstery was protected using Colourlock Leather Shield. This helps prevent staining from accidental spillages and UV inhibitors help prevent the leather from becoming discoloured and faded.
Finally, the gold authentic Mini Lite wheels were protected with Swissvax Autobahn Wheel Wax, a heat resistant wax that protects wheels from brake dust build up and repels dirt and water to keep the wheels cleaner for longer. The tyres were dressed with Gtechniq T2 Tyre Dressing to deliver a natural satin sheen.
A stunning final touch for this classic Mini Cooper S ensured that it was looking its best for the three-day Goodwood Revival.