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Rover SD1, Exterior Detail

I have known since I got the car that the paintwork was a bit shabby, and didn’t seem to have even a smidgen of wax on it. With the British Car Day coming up soon, I had to tidy it up a bit.

The paint isn’t in bad shape as such. its better than a lot of 30 year old cars, but it’s once again, like the rest of the car, suffered a bit of neglect. It wouldn’t have taken much to care for it, just a wax every month or so would do it.

I previously used some hydrophobic snow foam on the car, which worked for a bit to repel water, but with no wax on the paint it just didn’t do enough, or last. There is also no gloss to the paint, and in places it was rough to the touch. Not nice.

The first stage was to give the car a wash, which was done with some Meguiar’s Ultimate Wash & Wax. This stuff is good. I didn’t take any photos of this because at this point I had no intention of doing more than a quick wash. When I decided to give the paint some love, I dried the car off and rolled it into the garage.

Once in the garage this is what I was working with.

The paint is covered in swirl marks, heavy scratches, bird shit marks, and on the rear RH quarter, there was this fine scratching all over the panel.

Obviously with my tools and lack of balls I wasnt able to cut deep into the paint and get it all out. One day it’ll go to the guys at OCD for that.

What I did do was clay bar both sides of the car, and the tailgate. The roof and bonnet seemed OK, but both sides and the tailgate felt like sandpaper, and you couldn’t run a microfiber over it. It was hard work, but the paint now feels glossy and smooth.

I started on the bonnet with my DA, and using Ultimate Compound I machined the whole car, panel by panel. The half and half on the bonnet shows what I was working with. Unfortunately the car has had new paint on various panels, at various times, so it’s all bit of a mixed bag for condition.

You can see on the RH side how cloudy it is. I didn’t clear this up completely, but I made a significant difference in it.

One part that really surprised me was the front bumper. Since I have had the car it’s been a sort of flat, dull black. Normally I avoid touching black plastic trims with the polisher, like the plague, but I accidentally clipped the bumper with the pad and noticed it shined up, so I gave the bumper a full machine too….

And the results were stunning. High gloss black.

The whole car, once machine polished, got treated to a coating of Meguiar’s Gold Class carnauba wax. I’m a big fan of this stuff. It’s easy to apply, it lasts a long time, and gives a nice shine. I didn’t stop there though, once that was buffed off, I then coated the car in CarPro Reload, a hydrophobic nano coating.

Reload is magic. I treated the Fit to a coating of this stuff months ago, maybe even a year ago, and it still beads like crazy and has a nice gloss to it (when it’s clean), and that car sees all weather, and is in daily use.

It took all Sunday afternoon, and most of Sunday evening to detail the car. It was hard work, but its worth it. The paint is now so smooth and glossy that when I tried to test fit the car cover it just kept sliding off the car 😆

With the paint looking like it does, i just can’t bring myself to stick the car out in the elements, for dirt, rain, birds and the pine needles from hell to ruin, so it’ll be living outside under my super flash “Weatherproof” car cover, at least until the show. A test fit in the garage shows that it should fit OK, hopefully it stands up to the wind.

Before I sent it back outside, I took some quick photos of it as the sun was going away. I’m well impressed with it. Still to be done is refitting of the headlamp chrome trim, and to re-chrome the centre section of the grille, but I have what I need for this. Interior needs a good detailing too, and some new floor mats.

Probably looks the best it has for years.

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