MODELLO: Jaguar XJ-S “Le Mans”
COLORE: Regency Red
English cars have always been a great passion of mine, and since I’ve been a car detailer I’ve had the pleasure of working on some really extraordinary cars. Even after their little defects, first of all incontinence, they are incredible cars. After all, if it’s not leaking oil, it’s not English!
But the morning that this XJS crosses the threshold of the studio, I don’t know why I have a further jolt: a very long and disproportionate hood, frog eyes and a kilometre-long rear overhang (overhang is the distance between the rear tire and the end of the car.
The XJS is one of my favourite cars ever. The French would call it a Joie laide, ugly but attractive, and this French definition fits perfectly because the edition in question is a “Le Mans” special series for the American market.
An atypical car needs an atypical approach.
The part that immediately attracts my obsessive attention is the engine compartment. The owner tells me that recently the radiator cap has blown off and water has gone everywhere. There are lime stains, decades of dust, grease and oil smudged everywhere. Overhead light, hot water and patience galore, and the first day is spent cleaning the compartment. OMG I’m about to lost my eyesight, I need to quit. Gosh!
The second day is dedicated to the pre-detailing cleaning, of the bodywork and the most hidden recesses, in fact in a previous treatment (not done by me) the car was treated with an anti-scratch ceramic sealant, but strangely they didn’t think it was worth cleaning the radiator grill or the part underneath the front and rear bumpers. No worries, Marci will take care of it armed with a spatula/microfiber, a lot of patience and a pinch of detergent.
Ah, by the way: despite the treatment, the car has a lot of scratches: remember that nano technologies do not prevent the car from scratching, but only give water repellency, which does not last three years but at most three washes. Dwarfs, leave them in the garden.
I decide to start also the rims that have a fake spoke design, typical of a certain English production. Time has made them a bit porous, so they need to be polished. They are crowns of concentric mini-rhombuses to be done one by one! It takes about two and a half hours per circle to do a consistent cleaning and polishing, so if I don’t want to go crazy I have to do one per day. Llllove it!
Time to break out the polishers.
The long hood gives me a lot of trouble, it’s as big as Buckingham Palace and Trafalgar Square, that’s huge!
I pull out the heavy artillery, three polishers and wool and sponge pads: the scratches are widespread but not deep. I taped everything up and started polishing. At the end of the day I did the hood, roof and front fenders. I thought I’d go faster, but the large surfaces slowed down the work.
I clean up studio and polishers and set up the line for the next day.
I arrive at dawn. The studio is immersed in absolute silence, so I take the opportunity for a further analysis of the work done yesterday and a reconnaissance of the areas still to be polished.
I stare at the side lights to start from the wide doors tape the gold stickers that run along the side and the seal at the base of the windows.
Polishing vertically, especially large areas, requires twice the effort because using a very large polisher increases the load on my arms. At the end of the day, I find myself with Popeye’s arms.
Today is dedicated to polishing the headlights, rear fog lights and general polishing review.
I relax the car to get rid of the polisher dust, especially the one from the cutting paste, I carefully dry and wax the car.
In the afternoon I start the interior, wash the wool mats and vacuum the interior after blowing under the seats to get out the age-old dust.
Today I have to finish the interior. I prepare a very light foaming solution and start to clean the Connolly; I clean without a brush using only the palm of my hand, the leather is already about thirty years old, better not to tease it with hard and aggressive bristles. The burgundy piping that contrasts with the “cream” of the seats is discolored in the outer side due to rubbing and the sporty shape of the seat. The most obvious thing would be to repaint, but I choose a more conservative restoration based on heated grease that reproduces the dark color of the piping.