When it comes to buying a car, the first thing we notice is the overall appearance and that appearance quickly becomes a negotiating tool. Not surprisingly, we’re less inclined to pay ‘top dollar’ for a vehicle that cosmetically looks less appealing than we would for a car that is pristine.
Booking the car in for a pre-sale detail ensures the vehicle is going to be in the best possible cosmetic condition. Thorough detailing takes a considerable amount of time and many car enthusiasts simply do not have the requisite amount of time to devote to the process, or the tools, skills and experience to enhance the paintwork through machine polishing. The obvious choice is to bring it to specialist detailers to ensure your vehicle is in tip-top shape prior to advertising it. – Matt Back, Master Detailer, UF Studio
The 996 marked a change of direction for Porsche and delivered a whole array of new designs and features, the most significant of which was a water-cooled, rather than an air-cooled engine. Additionally, the 966 was built on an entirely new chassis – the first since the original 911, along with a sleeker body line and a more severely raked windshield. The early models were rear-wheel drive and were powered by a 3.4 litre flat-6 naturally aspirated engine producing 296 bhp. 2002 saw the 996 receive a minor facelift including revised headlights and also saw the introduction of the Targa body style. Based on the convertible, the sliding glass roof tucks in behind the rear window.
Whilst around thirty three thousand 996’s were produced during 2002, only 2630 were the Targa variant making them something of a rarity. Recognising that cars in top cosmetic condition are more appealing to buyers, when it came to selling his low mileage Basalt Black Porsche 996 Targa the owner booked in to UF’s Brand Hatch based studio to have the car professionally detailed prior to advertising it for sale. The 996 Targa was booked in for a Gloss Enhancement to bring the paint back to life and finished with Kamikaze Collection Over Coat v2 to provide protection once the machine polishing stages had been carried out. First, the car required thorough decontamination and cleaning.
The process began with the wheels and wheel arches being cleaned with Bilt-Hamber Surfex HD to degrease and soften dirt and grime. Surfex HD was applied using a Kwazar Super Pro Pump Up Sprayer, the adjustable nozzle making it easy to direct the solution exactly where it was required. This was rinsed using a Kranzle K-1152 pressure washer, releasing the caked on mud and grime trapped by the inner lip of the wheel arch. The areas were then sprayed with UF Iron + Fallout Remover to tackle brake dust. After being allowed to dwell for several minutes so the chemical reaction could take place, this solution was rinsed too. The wheels and wheel arches were then washed with UF Safe Wheel Cleaner, using Wheel Woolies to ensure all dirt and grime was removed from the rear of the rim. After another rinse, attention turned to the engine bay which was degreased thoroughly.
Engine bays are ideal traps for dirt and grime: exposed to the road, dirt and greasy deposits quickly form and, as the engine is hot, these bake onto the various components. Using a degreaser and a soft detailing brush, stubbornly bonded dirt can be loosened so that it can easily be rinsed away. – Matt Back, Master Detailer, UF Studio
The door, bonnet and boot shuts are natural traps for dirt and debris, so these were sprayed with a solution of degreaser and agitated with a detailing brush.
The bodywork was then also degreased and treated for iron contamination before being pre-cleaned using Ultimate Snow Foam applied through a Kranzle-adapted foam lance attached to a K-1152 TST. The thick foam clings even to vertical surfaces for longer dwell time, lifting larger particles of dirt and grit away from the surface.
These can then be rinsed away before a wash mitt comes into contact with the surface. Then, the Two Bucket Method was used to thoroughly clean the car.
Using this method, a Wash Bucket is filled with water and UF Pure Shampoo, a free-rinsing cleaner free from gloss enhancers or additives that might leave a residue.
A Rinse Bucket with Grit Guard is filled with clean water. A wash mitt is dunked into the Wash Bucket and loaded with solution and a section of the vehicle cleaned. The dirty mitt is rinsed in the Rinse Bucket and rubbed across the Grit Guard, releasing particles of dirt removed from the panel. These settle to the bottom of the bucket whilst the wash mitt is wrung out before being reloaded with wash solution from the Wash Bucket. Using two buckets, one for each function, means the wash solution remains clean, whilst the Rinse Bucket retains the dirt removed from the vehicle. This is the safest method for cleaning a car, minimising the opportunity for swirling the paintwork with contamination caught in a wash mitt as a result of cross-contamination with dirty water.
The paintwork was examined and found to still have contamination bonded to the surface. A further application of Ultimate Snow Foam was used as a lubricant for a clay bar that shears stubbornly bonded particles away from the paintwork to leave the surface as smooth as glass.
The final finish depends on the surface being as smooth as glass to allow it to be as reflective as possible, uninterrupted by ridges of contamination that disrupt the play of light over the panel. Whilst a lot of contamination can be tackled with spray-on solutions, if the contamination has baked on during a spell of particularly hot weather, such as we’ve had recently, then it may take a clay bar to remove, restoring the smooth-as-glass finish to the panel. – Matt Back, Master Detailer, UF Studio
After a further rinse, the vehicle was given a final pure water rinse using an Aqua Gleam De-ionising Water Filter before being brought into the detailing studio and dried using a BigBoi BlowR Pro touchless car drying system. Designed specifically for the detailing industry, the BlowR Pro uses powerful twin motors to direct a jet of warm, filtered air, chasing water off panels and out from tight areas, drying a car significantly more quickly than traditional drying methods.
The wheels were removed for further cleaning and to facilitate access to the calipers which were in need of polishing due to oxidisation of red paint.
Once the oxidisation had been polished out, the calipers were given a coat of Poorboys Wheel Sealant to resist future brake dust adhesion.
The panels were then inspected using high-intensity lighting to identify the areas and types of damage. In addition to swirls and scratches, buffer marks were also found in the Basalt Black paintwork. Little wonder the 16 year old Targa’s paintwork was looking dull and lack-lustre.
Multiple paint depth readings were taken across each panel to ensure there was uniformity in the paint coverage and to check for smart repairs which may be affected by machine polishing. To correct the swirls, scratches and buffer marks in the relatively hard finish, a RUPES BigFoot LHR15 dual action polisher was used over the larger, flatter panels and a BigFoot LHR 75E Mini polisher was used for the door and Targa roof pillars. Meguiar’s Microfibre Polishing Discs were used with Koch-Chemie H8.02 Heavy Cut, the diminishing abrasives breaking down to provide a high gloss finish requiring minimal refining.
The headlamp and taillight covers also required machine polishing to remove hazing and swirls from the polycarbonate, improving clarity and effectiveness.
The difference in the results are clear to see.
Refining the paintwork was completed using a RUPES Yellow Polishing Pad and Menzerna Super Finish Plus 3800, a fine finishing polish formulated to work with scratch-resistant paint finishes.
The wheels were degreased again and washed once more with attention paid specifically to the areas where the wheel lugs sit; areas which trap dirt and grime. The brake calipers were polished by hand using Menzerna 3800. The calipers and wheels were then sprayed with Gtechniq Panel Wipe to prepare the surface for Kamikaze Collection Over Coat v2, a hydrophobic, heat-resistant nano sealant.
Replacing the wheels on the vehicle, the panels were also treated with Panel Wipe before Over Coat v2 was applied. Britemax Easy Cut Metal Polish was then used to remove soot deposits and tar from the exhaust tips before they were protected with Final Shine Metal Sealant and given an extra layer of protection with a layer of Over Coat v2.
Finally, the tyres were dressed with Gtechniq T2 Tyre Dressing to complete the appearance. This mechanically sound and relatively low mileage two owner car was now presented to a standard befitting of such a prestigious marque.