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Ferrari 458 Italia Detailing – 5 day New Car Preperation

  • 2nd March 2012

This car had been on order for quite a while and I was really looking forward to getting the chance to work on it when it arrived. Having worked on quite a lot of Ferrari’s I knew that despite being brand new this car would definitely need paintwork correction to make it look it’s best. I wasn’t wrong…

So the first day was spend washing and decontaminating every inch of the car (no pictures of this stage ). The wash stage comprised of a through rinse to remove any dirt and then the bodywork washed using lambs wool wash mitts. The wheels (inside and out), wheel arches, door shuts and engine bay were washed at this stage too. Once the car was washed and dried I took some pictures of it’s condition.

The car going in to car wash mode which I thought was pretty cool.

Grease on the massive caliper. This was later steamed off to avoid using strong chemical on the carbon ceramic brake discs.

Polish from the dealership

And loads of compound from the factory.

Rubbers needed treated

Sticky marks and wrapping still let in places on the interior

The left hand side of the car was covered in paint over spray and almost all of the car was covered in strange black dots – including all inside the drivers windscreen and inside the rear engine cover. I’m not sure exactly what these dots were (possibly some kind of sealer used in the factory on the windows).

This picture shows a large black spot inside the windscreen . However there were thousands of little black dots of this same texture all of the car that couldn’t be picked up very well on camera.

Another of the larger spots.

Almost as soon as I put the car back in the garage then sun came out for minute and lit up the rear of the car to show the true condition of the paint.

The strange lines you see in the paintwork here are machine polishing marks (also known as buffer trails) from the factory.

This is pretty much how the whole car looked. As mentioned it was also covered in black dots, paint over spray, loads of pigtails (sanding marks from sanding removing the orange peel in the factory), swirl marks and random deep scratches. Not really what most people would expect on a brand new car never mind a brand new Ferrari.

People would expect car of this value to be absolutely perfect from brand new but sadly this is not the case. The reason for most of these defects is because these cars (along with Aston, Bentleys, Lamborghinis etc) are hand painted meaning there is much more room for human error than cars that are painted by machine. Once the cars are painted by hand all of the paintwork is flattened back (sanded) to remove the orange peel, ensuring the paintwork is flat. This creates amazing reflections and gloss that can’t be achieved on cars that have orange peel. After the cars are sanded they are machine polished to remove all of the sanding marks and restore the gloss to the paint. This is where the problems occur.

On this car there was quite a few areas that are dull from being sanded and not polished correctly afterwards. There was also lots of machine polishing marks where the rotary polisher operator at the factory seems to have went over the whole car very quickly (most likely due to time constraints at the factory) with an abrasive polish and wool pad. This has resulted in a lot of buffer trails (as seen on the rear of the car above). As you can see above and from the following pictures this makes the paintwork look terrible in direct sung light and dull the finish under normal lighting conditions.

The aim of this detail was to remove all of these sanding marks, buffer trails, random deep scratches that were all over the car and to take the paintwork to a level where it was as close to perfect as possible.

Rear bumper showing swirls and sanding marks

The strange patch here is an area that is dull due being sanded and not polished back up

Deep scratches on the roof

More buffer trails on the roof. These pictures with the car inside the garage and the sun shining in to the garage.

The sun then disappeared so I inspected the rest of the car using various light sources to check the paintwork for defects.

Bonnet showing sanding marks and buffer trails – highlighted by using a 3m sun gun (replicates direct sunlight)

As you can see here the highlighted area is pink and hazy due to the defects.

Wing

Over spray on wing and door

Over spray and scratches on front bumper

Rear bumper

Side skirt

Rear lights

Wing mirror

and the underside of them

Over spray on the door – you can see the tape lines where the over spray stops. It was all over the windows too.

A deep scratch

This show the length it ran (between the 2 bits of tape)

More random scratches in the paintwork

Well I think that’s enough picture of the paintwork defects and I’m sure you get the idea by now.

The rest of day 1 was spent clay barring the car and removing all of the black spots stuck to the paintwork, exterior glass and engine cover. It took around 6 hours to remove the black spots as they were everywhere and were like small stones in places meaning I had to be very careful not to damage the paintwork whilst removing them. Also they were all over the inside of the rear window and this area required a lot of caution due to the heating element.

Day 2 was spend on the removing the defects from the worst areas of the car – the bumper, side skirts and wing mirrors. The headlights and carbon fiber rear splitter were corrected too.

Some completed pictures under the 3m sun gun – as you can see all of the swirls and scratches have been removed and the paintwork looks deeper and glossier.

Day 3 was spent correcting the rest of the bodywork and door shuts.

On Day 4 final polishing the whole car before wiping it down with IPA to remove any polishing oils. The paintwork was then inspected using the 3m sun gun to ensure if was perfect, free from defects and ready for a coat of our premium carnauba wax.

After waxing the car the sun started to stream in to the garage and I managed to grab a few pictures of how the paintwork looked.

All scratches gone

Remeber what the rear of the car looked like?

A quick reminder

After

In the bright sunlight cars either looks their very best or if they’re covered in paintwork defects they can look their worst. With the sun looking like it might be out for a short while I reversed the car out and took some picture of the car to show off the finish. Please note the paintwork is completed but the car is not in these pictures (hence tyres not dressed, windows a bit streaky etc).

The car was then taken back inside to complete the detailing of the exterior. The tasks performed were:

All windows protected with Gtechniq G1
All rubbers were protected with Gtechniq C4
Wheels and calipers were protected with Gtechniq C5
Exhausts polished with britemax metal polished and protected with Gtechniq C1
Tyres were dressed with Swissvax Pneu
Engine bay protected and luggage areas protected with Aerospace 303 protectant.
All of the polishing compound and dust in nooks and crannies from the factory was removed at this stage too.

Day 5, with “just” the interior to finish, it should have been straight forward. Firstly I spend around an hour removing black dots from the inside of the front windscreen. I then pulled the seats forward to inspect the lovely carbon fiber backs revealed the following :

Not the best finish! The leather and vulnerable areas of the seats were tapped in and the seat back were machine polished which made a massive difference.

All of the carbon fiber panels were polished up by hand and machine where possible to remove minor scratches. It was then all waxed to protect it.

Carpets were hovered and protected with Gtechniq i1 smart fabric. The leather was gently wipe down and then protected with Gtechniq L1 and all of the windows were cleaned and inspected with the sun gun to ensure a perfect streak free finish.

So after a long and enjoyable 5 days on this amazing car, here is the final shots of the car in the garage.

Thanks for reading

Robert