Cosmetically Restoring A Bentley Continental GT Speed Convertible
Bentley cars have long been synonymous with the ultimate in class and comfort and with the Continental GT Speed, fans of the winged 8-ball can add sporting performance to the description. The ‘Speed’ designation harks back to the Le Mans 24-hour race-winning Speed Six and is utterly appropriate for a grand tourer capable of 0-60mph in four seconds and a top speed of 204mph. With a 6-litre W12 engine, close-ratio eight-speed transmission and a lowered suspension, the Continental GT Speed provides an exhilarating ride, combining power, control and engaging handling whilst maintaining the seamless comfort expected of a Bentley. Permanent all-wheel drive biased 60:40 to the rear, delivers sure-footedness minimising understeer whilst allowing the playful driver to control the line with a touch of the throttle. Torque varies between the front and rear axles to deliver optimum grip whatever the weather conditions so whether it’s being driven around icy mountain passes or along a sunny beachfront, the GT Speed provides a powerful, engaging and luxurious experience. Even more so in the GTC (convertible) where, with the four-layer fabric hood down, driver and passenger can truly become immersed in the surrounding landscape, gliding along on its iconic Bentley wings.
The owner of this 2013 GT Speed Convertible (GTC) had purchased it pre-owned after searching for a low-mileage example. Despite being understandably mechanically sound, cosmetically the Bentley was in need of care and attention and so he booked it into UF’s Brands Hatch Detailing Studio for a number of restorative detailing services including Paint Correction for the dull paintwork. Wanting the very best in terms of ceramic protection, he specified Kamikaze Collection ENREI, a unique two-layer sealant for the paintwork, Intenso Window Coat for the Glass and Stance Rim Coat for the 20-inch wheels. First, though, the wheels required refurbishing to reverse kerb-collision damage.
The design of the 20-inch Speed Light Metal 13-spoke alloy wheels leaves them open to accidental kerbing as the rims protrude slightly over the width of the tyre. With full Paint Correction being carried out on the GTC, damaged rims would have detracted significantly from the overall appearance. As a result, we recommended having all four wheels refurbished back to factory standard finish. – Matt Back, UF Detailing Studio
Before the wheels could be removed and sent away for refurbishing, the Bentley first needed decontaminating and thoroughly cleaning.
The wheels and under the wheel arches were treated with Bilt-Hamber Korrosol to eliminate iron contamination derived from brake pads which shred when under load. A jack was placed under each corner of the car, in turn, to raise the chassis.
The 20-inch alloys plus tyres fill up the wheel arch, making cleaning tricky. As the arches are a significant trap for dirt, grime, mud and so on, it’s essential to ensure all the debris is removed and the arch completely clean. Using a trolley jack to raise the body just gives that extra space to make cleaning easier. – Matt Back, UF Detailing Studio
After treating the wheels and arches with Surfex-HD to eliminate greasy deposits, the area was rinsed with a pressure water. The bodywork was then treated in the same manner for iron contamination and greasy residues.
Iron particles can be damaging if left in place – they etch the lacquer and cause pitting which can be costly to rectify. Korrosol contains an active ingredient which changes colour to indicate the presence of ferrous particles and a chemical reaction causes the particles to shrink, breaking their bond with the substrate, allowing them to be easily rinsed away without the need for rubbing at the paintwork with a wash mitt – an action which is the leading cause of paint swirls. Using a degreaser breaks down oily residues such as diesel, which can cause staining and may interfere with the bonding process of the ceramic coating. – Matt Back, UF Detailing Studio
The GTC Speed was treated with Ultimate Snow Foam, a high-foaming pre-cleaner applied through a foam lance attached to a Kranzle K-1152 pressure washer. The thick foam clings, even to vertical surfaces, lifting dirt and grit away from the panels and encapsulating them within the foam. The whole solution can then be rinsed away, removing larger particles without a wash mitt coming into contact with the paintwork.
Larger particles of dirt and grit can become trapped in the pile of a wash mitt and then inadvertently rubbed back and forth over the paintwork, causing swirls and scratches in the clearcoat. Removing the dirt using a non-contact pre-wash Snow Foam is far safer for the paintwork. – Matt Back, UF Detailing Studio
After rinsing off the suds, a second application of Ultimate Snow Foam was used as a lubricant for a clay mitt, to shear stubbornly bonded contamination away from the surface of the paint to leave the surface as smooth as glass prior to machine polishing.
Ultimate Snow Foam was also used to clean the fabric roof, with a soft bristled brush agitating the solution, lifting out dirt ingrained in the fibres. The solution was then thoroughly rinsed from the hood and the bodywork.
Rinsing the fabric roof takes time, as it’s essential to ensure all suds are completely removed. Any soap left within the fibres of the fabric will attract mildew and also encourage water into the fabric. A weatherproofer seals the fabric and also any leftover product, so it’s worth taking the time to ensure the hood is completely residue free. – Matt Back, UF Detailing Studio
The engine bay was also degreased and then rinsed with a jet of water.
The GTC was then washed using the Two Bucket Method. Soapy wash water is kept in a designated bucket and plain water in a separate Rinse Bucket. Both buckets contain Grit Guards in the bottom. A wash mitt is dunked into the Wash Water and loaded with wash solution before a section of the car is cleaned. The wash mitt is cleaned in the Rinse Bucket, rubbed across the Grit Guard releasing trapped dirt from the pile. This falls to the bottom of the bucket and the Grit Guard helps keep it there. The mitt is wrung out before being reloaded with Wash Water and the process repeated until the car is completely clean. The GTC was rinsed free of suds before an Aqua Gleam De-ionising Water Filter was attached in-line to deliver a final, pure water rinse. It was then brought into the detailing studio and dried using a BigBoi BlowR Pro touchless car dryer which uses powerful motors to direct a blast of warm, filtered air across panels, chasing away water and forcing droplets out from behind trim, badges and mirror housings. The BlowR Pro is also ideal for ensuring that the fabric hood is completely dry.
When applying a weatherproofer, you’re sealing the hood which, if moisture remains, means sealing the water in too. This can cause serious issues and encourages mildew growth. The BlowR Pro is really powerful, so it makes quick work of removing the last remnants of water from the fibres. – Matt Back, UF Detailing Studio
To seal the hood, Gtechniq I1 Smart Fabric Coat AB was applied. This nanotechnology-based hydrophobic sealant coats the individual fibres of the fabric to provide comprehensive protection against the elements without altering the look of feel of the material. Its antibacterial function discourages the growth of mildew and UV inhibitors help prevent the black pigment from fading.
Now completely clean, the GTC Speed paintwork could be properly inspected for swirls, scratches and other blemishes. First, the car was raised using a hydraulic ramp, the wheels removed and dispatched for refurbishing.
Then, using high-intensity SCANGRIP lighting, the various marks were viewed and noted on the Vehicle Appraisal Sheet. It was quickly evident the clearcoat was severely swirled with some random deep scratches (RDS) too.
Prior to commencing machine polishing, multiple paint depth readings were taken across each panel.
Taking paint depth readings before beginning an extensive machine polishing process highlights any potential problem areas. Particularly when a car has had more than one owner, the full history of the vehicle isn’t necessarily known. Paint could be thinner or thicker in some areas. If the paint is thinner, then it’s essential to know before removing any damaged layers. Thicker paint could indicate a respray possibly following an accident. This paint could react differently to compounds compared with the original paint. So, the paint depth readings really give you an idea of what to expect whilst you’re working. – Matt Back, UF Detailing Studio
First, the convertible roof was covered to protect it from polishing dust contamination.
The paint correction process could then begin. This was achieved using RUPES LHR12E Duetto and LHR75E Mini dual action polishers with a Kamikaze Collection Banzai Dynamics Red Polishing Pad and Koch-Chemie H8.02 Heavy Cut Compound.
The Duetto features a 12mm throw so it concentrates the polishing action over a smaller area giving better results, faster. The Mini has a smaller head, so it’s ideal for polishing along narrow sections, such as pillars and door sills. The Banzai pad uses Dot Point Polishing technology which essentially is a nippled surface. This has the dual benefit of increasing the polishing area on the face of the pad as well as improving air circulation, keeping working temperatures lower and allowing the compound to be worked for longer. H8.02 is ideal for harder paint finishes and lends itself to being worked for longer, ideal for paintwork in need of intensive correction. – Matt Back, UF Detailing Studio
Refining the paintwork was completed using Menzerna Super Finish Plus 3800 and a 3M PERFECT-ITT III Black Polishing Pad, the jeweling polish and soft pad creating a high gloss finish.
To ensure all polish residues were removed, the paintwork was treated with Gtechniq Panel Wipe, the aromatic solvents reacting with the silicones and flashing off to leave the surface ready to accept the coating. Then, Kamikaze Collection ENREI No. 1 Base Coat was applied. Base Coat has been chemically engineered to bond with the clearcoat and to have a high affinity for No.2 Top Coat to ensure a secure bond, providing long-lasting protection. The molecules bond more densely together than other ceramic sealants, increasing the hydrophobic nature of the coating and helping to eliminate the issue of water spotting so often associated with similar coatings.
ENREI is an exceptionally well-engineered coating. Kamikaze Collection invested a lot of time examining issues experienced with other coatings and then engineering a product which sidestepped those issues. Additionally, they spent time experimenting with the application method for both Base Coat and Top Coat, to determine the optimum way application to produce the very best results possible. They also determined the environmental parameters under which ENREI should be applied in order to ensure the coating delivers the ultimate in gloss and clarity as well as longevity. As a result, before being allowed access to ENREI, detailers have to undergo an extensive training process and on the successful completion of the training, detailers are given a certificate. Only then can they purchase ENREI – it’s strictly a professional-only service. In this way, Kamikaze Collection can protect the reputation of the coating by ensuring the quality of the application. – Matt Back, UF Detailing Studio
The wheels were returned looking as good as new and before being replaced on the car, the wheels and calipers were sprayed with Panel Wipe before being protected with Kamikaze Collection Stance Rim Coat.
Using state-of-the-art technology, Stance Rim Coat combines unique components that, once cured, form a slick, heat resistant barrier that repels water, dirt, oils and grime as well as inhibiting the build-up of brake dust. Treated rims maintain gloss and are easier to clean during the weekly wash. Infra-red lamps were used to accelerate the curing time and, once the coating was cured, the wheels were replaced on the vehicle.
The windows were protected using Kamikaze Collection Intenso Window Coat.
Applying a nano-ceramic sealant to your windows to form a hydrophobic barrier is a popular choice as it helps make driving less tiring on the eyes during poor weather conditions. Intenso leaves a perfectly smooth, non-grabby layer that will not smear or cause the blades to catch and judder. Instead, rainwater and waterborne contamination are repelled and rather than adhering to the glass will blow away even when driving at relatively low speeds. – Matt Back, UF Detailing Studio
Keen to maintain the luxurious leather interior, the owner specified Leather Protection Treatment. First, the leather was gently cleaned using Colourlock Mild Leather Cleaner, a gentle cleanser which will not dry out the natural oils. The foam is applied to a soft sponge and worked in using circular motions, lifting dirt out of the grains. The surface is then wiped with a soft microfibre to reveal a perfectly clean finish. The leather was protected using Colourlock Leather Shield, providing a hydrophobic abrasion resistant, dust repelling barrier, helping to keep the leather free from stains and scuffs. Additionally, Leather Shield contains UV inhibitors, protecting the leather from fading – an essential factor for convertible cars!
A liberal application of Gtechniq I1 Smart Fabric AB was applied to the carpets and the hood lining, the antibacterial function helping to keep the interior free from bacteria, a leading cause of unwanted smells. The hydrophobic nature of I1 also helps keep the carpets free from stains from accidental spills and muddy shoes.
Once finished, it was hard to believe the Bentley had ever been used on the open road. The restoration work and next generation protective sealants will ensure this bastion of luxury will stay in first-class shape for many years to come.
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