MODELLO: Jaguar XJ 4.2 C
The Jaguar has always been an atypical car, in the sense that it has never had the status of the Rolls Royce cars, unreachable in their monumentality and technical refinement, for which everything was massive, forged in great thicknesses.
The Jaguar, on the other hand, represented a sweetened version of that spirit, and is more to be considered as a prêt-à-porter, a modernized version of the dusty English world. No longer just a profusion of leather, but also some nice vinyl, the wood trim mounted on a large frame gives way to laminates as thin as wafers, as if to say ok, I offer you the English experience but at half the cost, with that touch of sportiness that never hurts.
More atypical than ever is this 1976 XJ 4.2, which in the long dynasty of XJ sedans has been much less popular in this coupe version.
When the car arrives in the garage, it seems to be well cared for, in fact the customer tells me about a restoration done a few years ago that has brought the car not only in full mechanical efficiency but also in excellent shape from the aesthetic point of view. The color is a beautiful English green, with vinyl roof.
It’s going to be quite a challenge trying to make something already well cared for more polished. But chez Haute Detaling anything is possible!
I start the morning with a roasted mandola English tea from Australia, mmmh lovely….
First treatment for this slim and sleek coupe: aesthetic bath, then waterless detergent to wet the surface and large microfibers to dry; in an hour I manage to complete the deep cleaning of the bodywork.
Off to the polishing room. I turn on the lights and start to analyze the bodywork, measure the thicknesses and make a first consideration: the car has a diffused opacity due to small but dense maintenance scratches, moreover it shows especially on the sides signs of a badly finished sanding, which imprisons its natural brilliance.
Last consideration, it is a direct enamel! On the body then only color without clearcoat!
Let’s start! The polishers are ready, the edges are taped and I start with a wool pad and a light compound, small scratches are easily removed this way. As the long hood regains its shine, under the prairie of scratches some sanding marks reappear (Sgrunt!). No big deal, I armed myself with a mini polisher with a bad pad and we lowered it until it disappeared.
Today I can only do the front. I cover the car, clean the studio and leave.
A quick check of the work done yesterday, and I’m loving it: the difference between the polished parts and that one is not too bad!
The car is regaining its original color, dense and intense, the shape of the hood against the light looks like a hill in Derbyshire, a green lung in the center of England. Wonderful!
I continue to polish carefully and slowly, low intensity for correction and high intensity for finishing so as to ensure a beautiful finish to the direct enamels.
The car is pretty much polished, missing some details like the headlights and some small spot correction.
Today I’ll probably finish the exterior, including the polishing of the chrome parts, plus some finishing of the seals that even if they have been replaced in the restoration are starting to show some dryness. The day flows smoothly in a succession of different gestures and materials to be treated between spatulas and brushes, total care is the goal.
At the end of the day the Jag appears in all its newfound splendor, the color is finally homogeneous and the surfaces reflect the light in a superb way.
“Brush day. Today will be the day of the brush in all its variations and derivations, because the interior, as English tradition, is a triumph of real leather but also fake! I’m about to face the cleaning of the interior with its detailing.
I wash the carpets with ox gall to remove the stains and preserve the color, then I vacuum every nook and cranny with a soft brush, because the carpet has a silky feel and with such a velvety feel, a too aggressive vacuum brush would have a lawnmower effect, so take it easy!
Now I prepare the cart for cleaning the leather with three brushes of various sizes, a steamer with only demineralized water, mild detergent from colurlock, two small buckets with hot water and microfibers.
The sequence is as follows: I spray a little water on the leather, load the brush with a generous dose of product and start a nice slow and very gentle cleaning. The seats have been reupholstered with a more recent production leather, certainly of high quality, but obviously more resistant than a more delicate Connolly, also for this reason I can use this technique.
Back to the cleaning, the foggy (slightly two-tone) Sky seats and panels regain a nice beige color as soon as the gray patina of dirt is removed.
In the afternoon, I begin a delicate restoration session of the light-bleached plastic components, and a slalom between the delicate materials that make up the dashboard and details such as the vents. Some of the interior elements are borderline fragile, but don’t worry, my hand is as delicate as that of a pickpocket on a streetcar.
I finish late in the afternoon with the stop of the heating fan coil, then I stamp my imaginary card, shift over.
Today is the day of super finishing, a long process under the tunnel of light to find some small defect and try to homogenize the result of detailing, harmonizing the aesthetic recovery of the various materials, from the body to the chrome parts, up to the windows, which although marked by time need special care to be cleaned.
I leave rims and tires for last: I clean rims with very hot water and a little bit of detergent that does not leave halos. Special treatment with a vinyl cleaning brush for the tires, the very high shoulder is easy to clean, they immediately look beautiful in fact I decide not to put on any dressing that would be in this case, completely unnecessary.