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Old 04-07-2012, 04:10 PM   #1
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Buff-feast 1: The Greatest Detailing Adventure Ever Told

Buffest 2009

The ring of the phone broke the silence of my sleep…

“Hey Todd, this is Mr. X, heheheheh… how are you Homer?,” Mr. X wheezed sinisterly out the receiver.

“Homer?…” Who was Homer? I managed through the normal ramblings of trying to pull myself to consciousness.

“Yes Homer,” the voice was cool,” I spoke to Ryan Blanchette and I want you guys to polish my collection.”

I shook my head again. Ryan Blanchette??? The name was familiar but I wasn’t on all eight cylinders. “Who is Ryan Blanchette,” I asked cautiously.

“Rydawg,” the voice replied.

“Sure let’s do it,” I replied.

“Rock and roll batman… rock and roll.”

Two Months later: Buffest 2009

The plan was simple. Fly to a secret location, polish a bunch of ultra rare cars, return home, don’t screw anything up. I was leaving Orlando and would arrive at Area 53 (code name for the secret local) the same day; January 2nd. My ride… Airwolfe. (not really it was a couple of jumbo jets and a layover, but Airwolfe is much cooler). Ry(d)a(wg)n would be flying in the next day.

Area 53 was pleasant the first day and I was ready for work. As Airwolfe descended into the layer, I met the crew.

Mr. X

Mr.X is the owner of the collection and an interesting person to say the least. In real life he really a relaxed, down to Earth guy who looks cares for his cars like an art collector looks over the Mona Lisa. But this is a thread, and thus not real life, and that wouldn’t be fun. For this thread Mr.X is a raving lunatic who is locked in an epic battle of trying to pick his nose through his blue mask. The nostril have become highly polished as a result of a 10 day long battle.


Geoff is the guy that makes things happen and gets cars dirty. When he isn’t laughing with you he is laughing at you. Geoff was in charge of removing all the trim that could prevent us from polishing certain areas of the car as well as figuring out where stuff went when we where completed.


Not much is known about Rory and perhaps even less should be know. Besides building custom hot rods for a living, Rory is master at working with metal. Welding, fabricating, polishing, etc. The rumor is that Rory was raised by a Grizzly Bear. He haven’t been able to disprove this.


Mike is a completely affable character whom I believe is from another planet. Despite prepping most of the vehicles with a through wash and clay, Mike also applied Blackfire Wet Diamond sealant to our work. On top of this he is a true master with Deli meats and fuel in our tanks. By the end I even caught Mike taking a Porter Cable to a couple of cars (shhh, don’t tell Mr. X).

The polishers:



Day One: The Beginning

I arrived at Hanger 53 at around 9 AM, after a long trip the day previous. The temperature was around 25 degrees Fahrenheit, toasty for this time of year but pure ice to my Floridian veins. It was clear my Chicago roots no longer matter, it was cold.

The early part of the morning was spent organizing the large boxes of supplies which had arrived from Proper Auto Care and preparing the work station for Ryan’s arrival later tonight. Lot’s of Hi-Gloss flat pads, Meguiar’s cleaners and polishes, Menzerna polishes, and Blackfire.

1959 Stanguellini Formula Junior

The Stanguellini Formula cars where built by the Stanguellini family and often featured Fiat engines. The Junior cars had Fiat 1100 four cylinders. In 1960 the engine would be moved to the back. This particular car has a Turkish race history and remains mostly original, although repainted.

With Ryan not due until later that night, I was on my own. I started by showing Mike how to wash the cars properly and how to clay and dry them. The Stanguellini had two separate paints, a basecoat/ clear coat on the nose and single stage enamel on the back.

Two to three passes of Menzerna PO83q Super Intensive Polisher on a White 6.5 Inch Hi-Gloss Polishing Pad cleaned up 95% or the deeper marring. I elected to finish with Menzerna 106fa Super Finish on a Makita 9227 rotary using a 6.5 Inch Black Hi-Gloss Finishing Pad, working the paint long to a perfectly jeweled finish.

I apologize for the lack of before shots; my didn’t bring my camera on the first day.

Mr. X makes funny faces through his funny blue mask while sitting barely fitting inside. He had yet began to pick at his nose.

Blackfire Wet Diamond All-Paint Protection was applied by hand and with a Porter Cable using a 6.5 inch Gold Concours Hi-Gloss pad on speed 3-4. No sooner did I finish wiping the last panel (I missed a spot or two, but we will keep it a secret) when I was informed that Mr. X had picked up Ryan from the airport… errr… Airwolfe and we where all going out for dinner.

Geoff and Rory pulled off the trim on 1953 MG TD Mark-II so Ryan and I got a head start, polishing the panels of a 1967 Super Mustang, before calling it a night.

Geoff was eating food and hurt his tooth biting screw. We didn’t know until the next day that we where missing a screw from the MG TD Mark-II. Weird (and true).

Day Two: Let’s Get Ready to Rumble.

1953 MG TD Mark-II

The Mark-II has several improvements over the Mark-I, making it marginally more desirable. A couple of more horsepower and a pair more shocks in the front end round out the major improvements. Surprisingly this car is slightly out of place in this collection and not particularly expensive. So why is it here and why is it a priority? Because Mr.X thinks its cool and the value that others put on a car has no bearing on how important it is to him. He told me this through his blue mask.

Rory and Geoff pulled the trim off the MG, giving Ryan and I a little more wiggle room on the petite, curved body.

I started with Meguiar’s M105 on a Lake Country Purple Foamed Wool pad, making multiple passes until 95% of the deeper defects where removed. Ryan came behind me with Meguiar’s M105 on an Hi-Gloss 6.5 Inch Orange Power Polishing pad using a Porter Cable to remove any wool marks and prepare the surface for final polishing.

Finished compounding the MG out, I also used the Porter Cable and a Hi-Gloss 4 Inch Orange Power Pad to polish out some smaller areas.

Final polishing was done with Meguiar’s M205 Ultra Finishing Polish on a pair of Porter Cables using 6.5 and 4 Inch Hi-Gloss Black Finessing Pads. Finally two coats of Blackfire Wet Diamond All-Paint Protection where applied and removed wet.

This is the only opportunity we had to capture some outside shots. A storm was brewing near Hanger 53; one that would make itself known the following day.

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Old 04-07-2012, 04:11 PM   #2
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With the MG done and looking better, Ryan and I split up briefly to work on different projects: The Super Mustang and the Austin Healey 100.

The 1967 ‘Super’ Mustang

This is the fastest factory Mustang ever built by Ford, and you probably never heard of it. Why? Because it was a semi-failed attempt for factories to enter Top Fuel racing and this the only one ever built. It only made one official pass at Pomona, in 1967, before the program was canceled. Sitting still in the engine bay is the factory built 427 SOCH Ford big block which is guesstimated at 1900 nitro methane burning horsepower.

In reality I started this Stang on day one, wet sanding numerous areas with Meguiar’s 1500 then 2500 Unigrit sandpaper and cutting the paint with Menzerna PO34sa Power Gloss Compound on a Lake Country Purple Foamed Wool Pad or 4 ply Twisted Wool pad. Follow up polishing consisted of Menzerna PO83q Super Intensive Polish either a 6.5 Inch Hi-Gloss White Polishing or Orange Power Polishing pad.

Rory got a start on the wheels using Blackfire Heavy Cut Aluminum Cut Compound, then Blackfire Fine Cut Aluminum Compound, and finally Blackfire Wet Diamond Aluminum Show Polish using various Blackfire Compounding pads on a rotary and different cloth pads on an air polisher. A layer of Blackfire Wet Diamond All Metal Sealant finished off the brilliant transformation.

The 427 SOHC Nitro motor was giving a gentle bath. I took pictures because of how cool it is… I mean if this engine was sitting in front of you, wouldn’t you take pictures?

The original PTE canopy had faded badly. I sanded it down with Meguiar’s 1500 grit and Rory took over with an pneumatic DA. Rory my marks out and created a perfectly uniform finish using both 3000 and 4000 grit papers. Clarity was restored with Meguiar’s M105 Ultra Cut Compound with a Lake Country Purple Foamed Wool pad on a rotary and finished with Meguiar’s M205 Ultra Finishing Polish on a 7.5 Inch Hi-Gloss White Polishing pad, also on a rotary.

The day was growing long; Ryan took a break from his project to help me polish out the black behind of the Super Mustang.

Speaking of Rydawg and his project, he was knees deep into an original paint 1955 Austin Healy 100. My biggest disappointment and failure on this trip was neither Ryan nor I getting any ‘after’ photo’s of this car (as well as no real be fore’s either). The transformation on this original paint rocket was stunning!

The 1955 Austin Healey 1000

Nearly 100% factory original and still wearing mostly original paint, this arrow straight Austin Healey was and is exceptional. A true survivor. There was only about 3.5 mils of original paint remaining and there would be less then 3.2 mils when all was said in done.

Condition wise Ryan joked that it was a -7 or in alphanumerics an F-, and with thin spots and a couple of burns, the best it could be was a five. With a lot of work, I would say the finish exceeded a 7. I promise I will get more photos of this car when I return to Hanger 53. Ryan put his heart and soul into this one.

Here are a couple of the far too little before pictures.

Geoff and the crew removed all budging and trim. The paint was dull, lifeless, and scratched.

With Meguiar’s M105, and a Hi-Gloss Orange Power pad on a Porter Cable, Ryan began the battle with the Austin Healey that would last well into the next day and require reinforcements.

Menzerna PO203s Power Finish, a rotary, and a 6.5 Inch Hi-Gloss White Polishing pad was Ryan’s choice for battle against the sharp edges of the trunk and hood.

With the clock wrapping past 10:30 PM we called it a night. The Super Mustang requiring only the belly to be polished; the tired Austin still needed work.

Day Three: Exodus and the All-Nighter.

After a fair night’s sleep, we awoke to small little flakes of snow falling to the Earth. Nice I though, longing for some flip flops, some sand, sun, and waves…. The temperature dropped noticeably between the ride from our hotel to Hanger 53, and it’s going to get worse.

“There is a storm coming in, we need to move some cars over,” Mr. X says as we enter the hanger in sunlight but falling temperatures. Three minutes later we are in the second hanger, opening the door and getting ready to wheel in our next series of projects, when it happened…

The original paint Shelby 427 Cobra, the first to be moved, was half way to Area 53 and then….

The temperature dropped so quick I felt my coffee get cold to my lips; when I looked up the sky was dark and snow was failing. The entire crew hoped into gear! He had some original paint cars coming out in the cold and they needed to be moved fast.

We moved the 1969 Boss Mustang outside to make room and violent 40 mph winds tried to bury it in a blanket of soon. Mike grabbed a shovel and we got to work.

Judging by the fingers mysteriously extended from each hand I am guessing Ryan and Mike don’t like pushing the Boss while I snap photographs. Hmmm… what’s their problem?

Even a one of one coach built Bentley couldn’t escape the snow…

Nor did the MG TD Mark-II we just polished…

But hey! There is Mr.X having a grand ole’ time in the Abarth, driving it through the snow!

Not! (how original), the crew was really pushing him. Fooled you like an answering machine in 1988.

I didn’t know you could sweat in below zero temperatures but you can. Ninety minutes later the Exodus was over, Hanger 53’s various doors where shut, and storm outside grew fiercer.

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Old 04-07-2012, 04:12 PM   #3
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Back to work.

I finished up the Super Mustang by polishing the belly with Meguiar’s M105 on a Lake Country Cyan Advanced Cutting Pad and Meguiar’s M205 on a Lake Country Tangerine Ultra Polishing Pad; both via Porter Cable.

And finally a coat of Blackfire Wet Diamond Sealant to complete it…

Afterwards, I jumped on the Austin Healey with Ryan, polishing the driver’s side with M105 Ultra Cut Compound and an orange pad, then finishing the Healy with Meguiar’s M205 on a 6.5 Inch Hi-Gloss Black pad and a Porter Cable. You can see the huge improvement of the finish; sadly this is the closest to a finished picture as I managed to take.

Rory did an amazing job of polishing the metal trim with Blackfire Metal Polishes.

The Healey was coated in Blackfire Wet Diamond and put away.

Still Going… The 1955 Abarth 207A Boano Spyder

After finishing up the Healey together Ryan and I eyed the Abarth Boano with its diminutive body. Surely it couldn’t take too long. The 207A was Abarth’s first built race car featuring a Fiat engine and a symmetrical body. These race cars where hand built by Carlos Abarth in Torino, Italy and are extremely rare.

The paint was pretty easy to work on with this one. I worked the paint quickly for multiple passes with Meguiar’s M105 Ultra Cut Compound and a Lake Country Purple Foamed Wool Pad. Ryan followed behind me with Meguiar’s M105 UCC on a 3M Orange Waffle Pad, then I jeweled the paint with Menzerna PO85rd and a 6.5 Inch Hi-Gloss Black Finessing Pad on my Makita. Start to finish this tiny car only took 4 hours (or 8 total).

Mike washed and clayed Abarth prior to leaving.

I began cutting the paint with M105 and a Purple Wool pad. Look at the Healey glow in the background! (sadly I didn’t take any after pictures of it L )

Ryan following up behind me on the PC.

After removing the last of the Blackfire Wet Diamond I grabbed my camera and snapped some pictures.

About halfway through taking pictures I noticed that Ryan and I where the only one’s still in the shop. Surely it isn’t that late? Oh that’s right, there is a major snow storm and the roads are shutting down, we should have left early. We looked around, it was 9:30 PM, and besides Geoff, where the only ones left.

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Old 04-07-2012, 04:12 PM   #4
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As I snapped the last picture Geoff ran through the door, covered in fine white powder. Apparently the snow had gotten really bad in the last eight hours (dang storm) and Geoff forgot his Honda CRX is NOT a snow truck. He was buried in a drift.

After helping him free himself and coming face to face with nature (which included: a) -20 degree temperatures b) 40-60 mph wind gusts c) feet and feet of snow) Ryan and I looked at each other.

“I’m not driving in this stuff,” I said willing to help. Sand, Beach, Sun, Flip Flops….

“Thanks‘,” Ryan said, knowing he, with more recent snow experience then I, was going to drive anyways.

“Want to pull an all nighter and get started on the Kurtis?” I suggested, hoping he would say no…

“What color is it,” Ryan asked, calling my bluff…

“Black,” I mumbled, watching his eyes light up.

“Sure lets do it brother,” he said. I cursed inside: Sand, Beach, Sun, Flip Flops…

The volume went up and a hot cup of coffee began to boil. Let’s do it. Synchronizing watches: 10:30 PM. Rock and Roll, Batman….

The 1955 Kurtis KK Sutton Roadster

This amazing one of one automobile was built by Kurtis, on what is essentially an Indy Car chassis. The body was built by Sutton in California and wasn’t finished until 1958. A cutting edge (for the time) 283/283 horsepower small block Chevy was fitted to a four speed. That engine still resides in the engine bay today.

The paint had numerous issues, including DA sanding marks, scratches, and deep scratches.

Ryan took the before pictures, doing a great job of detailing the condition of the paint close up.

After a wash and clay we where ready to get started. Almost midnight and two cups of coffee in…

Ryan found the passenger side door to be a mess, and spent a lot of time working numerous deep scratches with a Porter Cable and Meguiar’s M105/ Menzerna PO203. I choose a more aggressive first go, making numerous passes over the rest of the car using Meguiar’s M105/ Lake Country Purple Foamed Wool pad/ Rotary.

The music kept creeping louder and the coffee began to flow more freely as the clock’s hand continued its endless orbit. 2am….3am… still cutting…. 4am….5am… Time to polish… A white pad and Menzerna PO83q SIP made quick work of the wool marks and blazed a deep glow into the paint. Ryan was still struggling the horrid condition of the passenger door and front fender, now working the paint to a gloss with Menzerna 203s Power Finish and a 3M Waffle pad on the Porter Cable.

A quick break, more coffee, keep going. Menzerna PO85rd, a Hi-Gloss 6.5 Inch Black Finessing pad, and a rotary jeweled the paint to perfection. Ryan celebrated conquering the door and we admired out work. 6am..
Ryan began his assault on the hood, I gave the Sutton a bath and applied two coats of Blackfire Wet Diamond All-Paint Protection. The interior got a quick wipe down with 303 Aerospace Protectant. The vintage Fuelie Small-Block was wiped down and the painted panels treated with Blackfire Gloss Enhancing Polish and topped with Wet Diamond All-Paint Protection. Finally the tires where scrubbed clean from a nasty silicone dressing and dressed with Blackfire Tire Gel.

As I finished up, Ryan informed that the hood was finally polished.

“What took so long,” I asked, 40 coffee’s deep.

“You don’t want to know,” Ryan replied, 44 coffee’s deep. I accepted that as truth.

Taped up and undergoing surgery

Some after pictures…

You can literally see the ‘brown’ of the disgusting tire dressing on the car. It would take a citrus based cleaner and a steel brush to get the tires clean of the brown gunk.

Finally the bumpers where polished with Blackfire Fine Cut Aluminum Polish and All Metal Show Polish…

The hood…

…and the 283 CID solid lifter 283 horsepower engine it protects.

The tires are no longer brown….

A couple of after pictures but I also took a couple more on the last day (bottom of this thread).

The remnants of an all nighter. The pads where washed in Meguiar’s Super Degreaser, this night was Ryan’s turn, although technically it was the morning.

A final wipe and a glance at the clock: 9:30 AM, the next day. Cracking open the door revealed the morning sun and thick unplowed snow. The wind had let up and the reports on the radio where that the roads where now drivable… As the crew arrived, Ryan and I said goodnight and headed to the hotel for a quick nap. Still work to do…

Day Four: Buddy, the Rocky Mountain Legend.

Day four ended at 9:30 AM and started again at 3:00 PM. A bite of McDonalds and a powernap helped us recover from the all night, and it was back to Hanger 53...

Waking from our slumber we first encountered Buddy, who was to be our neighbor in the hotel for the next 3 nights…. Buddy…. Buddy, the Rocky Mountain Legend. As I loaded up our truck, I noticed a man, one room down, smoking a cigarette in his underwear. It was -20, yet he stood barefoot in the snow, calmly enjoying each smooth drag from his Marlboro…. Buddy…

The mood at the shop was somber by 3:30 PM, when we arrived. Ryan and I where beat from the night before, and most of the crew was getting fatigued. Mr.X thought this the perfect opportunity to hoist the Super Mustang on a forklift and mount it to a wall.

While the Super Mustang was being mounted like a stuffed fish, Ryan and I jumped into our next project.

The AMC AMX Prototype II

Three series of AMX Prototype’s exist. This one, dubbed the series two, was a rolling model that forecasted AMC’s view of future AMX’s. This concept car does not feature an interior or motor, and is really a rolling work of art on a spindled wheels.

Since I did not get a full framed photograph of the car, here is a ‘rip’ from what appears to be a period-correct magazine or add.

Ryan and I settled on what we called (and sleep deprived: though was funny) Megenza’s M308 applied via a Porter Cable with 5.5 Inch Hi-Gloss Flat Power Orange polishing pads. Megzerna’s M308 was a combination of Menzerna PO203s Power Finish and Meguiar’s M105 Ultra Cut Compound, about 50/50. The long working time of PO203s allowed us (my working the product with steady pressure) to jewel the finish as we polished, making it a true one step…. In our mummified over-tired minds we thought we where on to something.

Me: “Hey I got an idea, let’s pretend to throw each other off the balcony. Since we haven’t slept and we are really tired… we might fall. Besides the people that see this picture will think we are dare devils. hahahha”

Ryan: “Okay.”

The picture over the newly hung Super Mustang.

Okay back to work boys……

Megnzerna at work.





Nope, no after because that would make too much sense. Besides did I mention I was tired at this point? (If not, now is a good time to do so….)

The AMC AMX II prototype was very easy to polish to be honest, and 1 to 2 passes with the PC later it was done and ready for wax.

So armed with our new found invention: Megzerna’s M308 Ultra Power Finishing Compound we eyed out next victim…. I mean car:

1963 Sunbeam Tiger Prototype

The Sunbeam Tiger was the first British automobile with a big (relative) Ford V8 in the front. Some guy from Texas copied the idea a couple of years later. This Sunbeam Tiger is the very first one built and is the only one to have an automatic transmission. As you may have guessed by the name in the heading, it was the prototype.

The paint appeared good, great even: A solid 6 with moderate swirl marks and good gloss; A walk in the park, particular with Megnzerna at hand. Did the new polish live up to the hype. Did the combination of SMAT oxide and traditional aluminum cluster oxide abrasives meld perfectly, creating a reverse in global warming, and polishing bliss?


It did not. This paint was rock hard and the RIDS where deep. It was almost laughable, the paint clinging to every scratch, smiley slyly: “Give me your best shot.”

Okay how about Power Gloss, a 4 Ply Wool Pad, 2000 RPM, and a guy drunk on sleep deprivation behind the wheel? The smile eroded from the paint’s face (or was ground off by abrasives moving across the surface at approximately 733 inches per second.)

Ryan took the side of caution and began with M105, a 5.5 inch Hi-Gloss Orange Power Polishing pad, and a Porter Cable. After I finished grinding on the hood, Ryan cleaned up my mess. The rest of the paint wasn’t quite as hard and M105/PC/Orange pad worked very well at removing the defects, although it took several passes. After finishing the hood we threw in the towel and gave the Sunbeam and evil look. We will see you tomorrow tough guy…

Day Five: The legend of Buddy grows…

When we returned to the hotel that night we where approached by two women looking for Buddy. We pointed them next door. Two hours later, after returning the to the hotel from dinner, we saw two new girls enter as the two different ones exited. Buddy peaked out his door, still in the same underwear and tank top, and puffed on his Marlboro. When he nodded at me I felt cool.

After two exhausting days sleep came easy, and we where both out. The world faded in darkness as it spun the sun away. The morning arrived quickly and silently. While the temperature had remained frigid the hollowing winds had settled and snow fall stopped. It was a peaceful morning, so much so that if one retarded bird had forgotten to migrate it might chirp. The air was so still you would hear it….

BANG! The noise of a door slamming penetrated the air like an arrow. The still morning was banished. I ran to the door to investigate the noise to realize it was coming from the wall. The banging became louder and more consistent, settling into a rhythm. Buddy….

When we left for Hanger 53 thirty minutes later, the fourth set of girls was leaving his hotel. Like a man inhaling the world, Buddy sucked the smoke the Marlboro into his lungs. He watched as the girls got in their car, started the motor, and drove off.

He exhaled…

The Sunbeam demanded our attention the rest of the day and we where happy to oblige. After a lot of polishing, M205 and a Hi-Gloss Black Pad finished it up nicely. Mike applied a coat of Wet Diamond with a Porter Cable and Ryan made funny faces. Life was good.

Get out of my picture Ryan!

After a lot of work the hood came out flawless. The rest of the paint was about 95% defect free.

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Old 04-07-2012, 04:13 PM   #5
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Although I don’t have a picture of the wheels mounted back on the Sunbeam, I do have a picture of an unfinished wheel next a polished one. Rory used some magical combination of the Blackfire Metal Polishes to nurse the magnesium wheels to a blistering shine. Then he left and wrestled a Grizzly Bear named Sybil (or so I guess).

1953 SIATA 208S

This is an automobile that the holds a spot in the heart of true aficionados. With only 35 examples built between 1953 and 1955, the SIATA 208S is considered to be one of the most perfectly Italian designed automobiles. The style is perfectly balanced and it is at least 10 years ahead of it’s time (remember was made in 1953)!!!

Powering this 208S is one of the legendary Otto Vue V8’s from Fiat. The power train alone is more valuable then a new Ferrari F430!

This may be the most handsome vehicle I have ever had the pleasure of putting a polisher too. The paint was moderately hard and riddled with random deeper scratches and moderate swirl marks. Being that this SIATA sees the road often in the warmer climate (which I’m assured exists in this frozen hell) it needed just a moderate polish and a thorough jewelling. 90% of the deeper scratches came out, the paint finally taking on a deep, rich gloss.

After the Sunbeam, Ryan and I split directions. He got started on a George Barris painted (and signed) 1969 AMX Bonanza Hurst SS AMX factory drag car! George "I built the Batmobile" Barris... Rock n' roll Batman... Rock n' freaking roll....

Polishers in hand we worked on our projects. The day grew later and neither of us where near finished. The after pictures will have to wait until the next day.

We returned to the hotel, nodded at Buddy, and said hello to the new girl leaving his room.

Day Six: The Snake Tamer.

I started day six on the SIATA; Ryan started day six on the AMX drag car.

I polished the SIATA with M105 on a Hi-Gloss Orange Power Pad in 7.5, 6, and 4 inch sizes. This first step sometimes required two passes to achieve the correct amount of correction. This was followed by Menzerna PO203s Power Finish on various sized Hi-Gloss White Polishing Pads, and finished with Menzerna PO85rd on varied Hi-Gloss Black Finessing pads. By the time the polishing was complete the day had grown long and Mike’s deli sandwiches hit the spot.

The SIATA wearing two coats of Blackfire Wet Diamond.

1969 AMC Bonanza Hurst SS ‘George Barris’ drag car and the Hurst/Scrambler Drag Car.

Ryan had begun work on the AMX the night previous, and settled into a two step process using Meguiar’s M105 and Menzerna PO203s. The paint on this rare car (I believe only two where painted by Mr. Barris) was pretty much factory original, and being a race car, there was some bodywork showing through.

By the afternoon he as finishing up the car and wiping off the Blackfire. The difference was amazing.

You can see some of the bodywork under the paint.

The paint was hazy and dull, with a fair amount of surface scratching.

But when Ryan finished the paint had a new lease on life and a great glow. 95% or more of the surface swirling was completely removed, as well as at least 50% of the deeper scratches. I would easily bet that the paint hadn’t looked this good since Mr. Barris first laid has hands on it 30 years ago.

The car to the left of the AMX is the Scrambler that Ryan polished as well. In his words the paint was like polishing Rustoleum and was measuring only 3.1 mils in the deepest spots. A light one to two step cleaned up the paint and gave it a much improved gloss. Rydawg worked his magic on this old girl, finishing the next morning, and never bothering with a camera shot. (This time it’s not my fault!).

This night we where also blessed with the presence of Melanie, who is Geoff’s better half. She wanted to learn how to polish, and Mr. X thought it a good idea to learn on the remaining front end of one of the rarest Ferrari’s of all time: A 275 GTB Competizione. Heck, I learned on a minivan….

What was going to be a one day project turned into a 3 day sprint as Melanie stopped by around 5 pm and each day and proceed to a) wet sand the hood with 1500 grit Meguiar’s Unigrit paper b) wet sand the hood with 1500/3000/4000 grit Abralon on a Porter Cable c) Polish the dang thing to an amazing gloss.

For the first time. On an invaluable piece of aluminum…

Your’s truly trying to be helpful…

Her pushing me out of the way…

The end result…

As Ryan performed his magic on the AMX’s and Melanie taught us both how to polish on a the front end of one of the most valued Ferrari’s, Geoff began prepping my next automobile. No rest for the weary!

1967 Shelby 427 Cobra

The story of the Shelby Cobra is famous, a big or huge V8 engine in a lightweight British built body. The super light weight and crazy power meant crazy performance. 0-100-0 was claimed to take less then 10 seconds, and it wasn’t until the McLaren F1 was released in 1993 that the number was beaten.

This particular Shelby has original paint and is the only 427 Cobra to score 100% points at the Shelby nationals. It is expected to win at Pebble Beach next year. It is the nicest original paint 427 Cobra in the world, and perhaps the only one with paint in nice enough condition to polish. To be able to polish original paint on a vehicle of the character (and to be possibly the only one to do so in the last 10 years on an original 427 Cobra’s paint) was really an accumulation of all of the knowledge and skill I have learned through detailing.

The risks where never higher. One scalloped edge or burnt paint would ruin this car, requiring a repaint. The loss of value would be staggering. In fact I had actually decided against polishing this vehicle my first trip here two years ago because of the risk involved.

Geoff started pulling parts from the vintage queen. No turning back….

“Ryan I’m scared!” I yelped.

“Busy on these AMX’s dude, have fun.” Thanks….

The original license plate (and original registration sticker) in front of the dulled and scratched paint.

Geoff removing the bolts for the windshield…

Some of the original metal trim had some rust or corrosion. Unfortunately for the rust, Rory was near ready to polish it to a shine. Rory has the same fear of rust as he does't of large bears... He doesn't.

With the trim removed and the paint ready I prepared to put a polisher on the paint for the first time. What if the primer holding the lacquer had failed? The paint could twist off… What if the paint was so thin that one pass would expose primer? What if the rotary sticks to the paint, causing the machine to spin around it, throwing me through the air, out the hanger, and into on coming traffic?

In all seriousness, this was the most nervous I have ever been, and I did feel a little uneasy in my stomach. I started with 1000 rpm, Menzerna SIP, and no pressure.

My first pass…

30 seconds later, after realizing I didn’t damage anything.

Which begs the question from my wife, “why do you always make stupid faces when you take pictures.”

“So I have an excuse for being ugly dear….”

As I worked various sections of the paint, continuously taking paint readings, I found the paint to be quite durable, and my confidence in more aggressive techniques increased. I began to think I knew what I was doing.

The final combo was Meguiar’s M105 on a Purple Wool Foamed Pad x 2-3, adding a little SIP as needed, followed by either an orange or white Hi-Gloss pad, and finished with PO85rd on Hi-Gloss Black Finessing pad. 6.5 and 5 inch sizes where used.

The paint started dull and lifeless, particularly on the dash board.

After polishing…

A picture of me working on the other side of the dash.

At 11:00 pm we called it a night. Buddy was up to his usual tricks.
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Old 04-07-2012, 04:14 PM   #6
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Day Seven: Enter the Boss

I picked up where I left off on the Shelby Cobra as Ryan set about finishing the Scrambler.

The Scrambler completed Ryan jumped on the Cobra, spending a few hours making love to the vintage paint with M105 on a PC. He worked the passenger door and fender for a couple of hours only to be informed of his own nightmare:

1969 Boss 429 Mustang

The Mustang was new for 1969 and the biggest, baddest, toughest one had a 429 under the hood and the name BOSS on the sides. These cars are extremely rare and have been know to sell for 500k or more. This particular one still has original paint. Ryan, and later I, would be charged with task of nursing her back to health.

While Ryan was polishing on the 427 Cobra with myself, Rory was busy making the metal shiny on the Boss.

A pretty dramatic difference.

While Ryan didn’t know it at the time, this would be the last car he polished on this trip, taking him the better part of 2 and ½ days. He was extremely careful with the paint, using various Meguiar’s and Menzerna polishes on different spots, switching between a PC and a rotary often.

Here he is shortly after starting the Boss.

And here he is a day later. To say the paint was difficult would be an understatement.

Meanwhile I put the finishing touches polishing the Cobra and prepared to apply Blackfire first thing in the morning.

Day Eight:

With the 427 Cobra behind me and over 95% correction achieved, I applied and removed two coats of Blackfire Wet Diamond.

A couple pictures of the Cobra and the SIATA together.

1971 Boss Mustang NASCAR Pro-Touring

This particular car is much different then most of the original pieces of art displayed. This car has been modified to the gills and is basically a NASCAR motor and NASCAR suspension in a street car. It has hit 186 on the straight and Laguna Seca and has an estimated top speed of 202 mph. It’s bad…

And so was the paint, from a previous detailer.

Menzerna Power Gloss and Lake Country 4ply wool pad took car of the majority of the deeper scratches and helped round out the numerous DA sanding marks. This was followed by using the Porta method. First I polished away the wool pad marks with Menzerna PO203s Power Finish, then Mike followed behind me, polishing the surface with the Porter Cable, breaking the polish down all of the way and removing holograms.

We moved fast and finished in under six hours total. Ryan looked up from the Boss Mustang, red-eyed, and mumbled a few words in Boston (which is it’s on language by the way) and went back to work.

Mike followed behind me, ensuring a hologram free finish.

The center of the hood was going to get painted flat black, so we did not polish it. However the previous detailer claimed he couldn’t see the different before and after so I decided to leave my mark. I polished USA into the center of the hood.

I highlighted the USA in this picture since it hard to see in the lighting.

A slightly different angle.

The 71 Boss completed (and Blackfired).

Lamborghini Countach ‘Periscopo’

While I didn’t take any pictures of this car this time (I did last time), I gave this car a very quick 1 step with a Porter Cable armed with M205/Orange pad, a coat of Meguiar’s M07 Show Car Glaze, and a coating of Meguiar’s NXT Tech Wax. It was being sold the next day.

You can see the car behind and to the left of the Cobra in this picture.

Day Nine: Ryan’s Nightmare.

Day nine was significant for two reasons. Ryan was leaving a day before me and Buddy had also checked out. Great… I was going to be on my own.

Ryan continued his assault on the Boss Mustang, leveling out RIDS in a never ending battle. I ran into my own nightmare (of sorts) with a Lola T162 Can Am race car.

1969 Lola T162 Can Am

Only two of these special cars where built for the 1969 season, each with an all aluminum ZL1 427 Big Block producing upwards of 900 horsepower. The original engine for this Lola is packed away and a 468 Donavon big block resides in the cradle now. Mr. X still races this car.

The paint on the Lola was weird, and that is an understatement. Too aggressive of polishing would scour the surface and require lots of follow up polishing to get it right. To week of polishing wouldn’t touch the RIDS and deep scratches.

My process evolved to ultimate look like this. Menzerna PO34sa Power Gloss was applied 2 to 3 times using a Purple Foamed Wool pad, followed by Power Gloss on an Orange Power Pad. This was followed by Menzerna PO83q Super Intensive Polish on a Hi-Gloss White pad, and finally jeweled with Menzerna PO106fa on a black finessing pad. This car took my full day, and because the weather was still not warm enough to do move cars, I had to do it next door.

It took a lot to get to this…

Look at the blue all over those pads… No doubt the LOLA will go faster now!

After one coat of Blackfire, applied by Mike.

I returned to find Ryan polishing one side of the BOSS Mustang with Super Intensive Polish. The whole car had been painstakingly compounded out over the course of the last three days, and only needed a medium polish on the drivers side, as well as final polishing and hand polishing in some spots. We returned to a new hotel and feel asleep.

In the morning Ryan boarded Air Wolfe and was flown in great secrecy back to Boston.
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Old 04-07-2012, 04:15 PM   #7
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Day 10: The Last Stand.

Driving to Hanger 53 for the last time I reflected on the trip. That is, I tried to reflect, until I realized it was one big blur. Instead I focused on the McDonald’s breakfast in my hand.

I grabbed Mike and we started on finishing the Boss 429. Ryan had left the original paint in near perfect condition with only some high lights of water spots remaining on the hood and light RIDS scattered about. I immediately began polishing with Menzerna SIP, finishing the driver’s side, using a Hi-Gloss Flat 6.5 inch White Polishing pad.

Mike went work by hand, polishing the numerous vents, scopes, around the door hands, and C-pillar emblems. He used custom orange and white polishing foams and Meguiar’s M105/M205.

After an hour of polishing I switched to Menzerna PO106fa Super Finish and a Black Finessing pad, jewelling each square inch of the vintage enamel by to a very high gloss.

The battle worn on, but the tides had shifted, and the end was insight. I wish Ryan was there to see it.

One piece left: The damn hood scope.

Two passes of SIP and a wool pad, followed by SIP and a white pad had the fiberglass Boss scope looking new.

I finished polishing the final piece, grabbed a towel, and it was gone, along with Mike. Where did they go? After searching for hours and finally noticing the scoop was on the hood, I invest aged. Mike popped out like a Jack-in-the-Box and I nearly fainted. Instead I just happened to have my camera at that very moment and snapped a picture.

Actually we staged this shot, but I like the lead-in better.

Mike went about applying Blackfire Wet Diamond to the car while I finished by final project next door.

The Fiat Super Sonic by Ghia.

I actually did a complete polish on this car two years ago, but some wipe downs had left behind light marring.

This is probably one of the more valuable and best looking cars in the entire collection, complete with the fabulous 8V Fiat Engine (the same as the SIATA). You can describe how beautiful the body is on this car, and pictures don’t do it justice. It has to be seen to be appreciated, but you might never leave. (Note: After 10 days and as much as I love the car, I still was ready to leave).

Two passes of Menzerna PO106fa Super Finish on a 7.5 Inch, Hi-Gloss CCS Black Finessing Pad and hand applied Blackfire Wet Diamond finished by trip.

Wet Diamond curing.

The results.

Mike was done with the Bossy Boss 429.

Now the Mustang is ready for the vintage 429 to be reinstalled.

As I prepared to leave for the last time this trip I took a couple of pictures of the Sutton KK then flipped out the lights for the last time.

As I boarded Air Wolfe for my return flight back home, I feel asleep dreaming of the bucket of pad’s I didn’t wash, sitting in Hanger 53.

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Old 01-13-2015, 11:10 PM   #8

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Worth another read for those who never had. Amazing experience from one of the best detailers.
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Old 01-17-2015, 11:16 AM   #9
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2010 Camaro (inferno orange, 2SS, RS and such)
cat backs, catch can, CAI on the way
79 Transam, 582 cid dart motor 779hp 315's out back 40spline gdaxles tko tranny
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