We provided our valet service and collected this car from the owner’s beautiful property; a fastidiously maintained Mercedes Benz E350 Avantgarde in Obsidian black with pristine leathers and all original paint.
The car was detailed by an undisclosed outfit in Melbourne which was rather sub-standard considering it still presented heavy scratches, now with machine polishing defects added in. Our brief on this was simple enough to understand, but was actually quite hard to execute when told to “Make it new, like it was in the showroom”.
Minor rim damage was found on two of four wheels (although not captured here) so we would have them properly repaired and repainted. To prevent the most minute colour difference between a newly repaired wheel and the slight patina of the original, all were repaired at the same time.
Before – every door jamb was dirty which we would make a task of perfecting
Before – rubbers around the boot space and jamb
Before – underside of boot lid
Before – removing number plates before we started to ensure behind them would also receive a good cleaning and polish
Before – bonnet gas strut areas were built up with dried dirt and leaves
Before – the engine bay was lightly dirty with traffic film and old grease build up in the joint and latches
Before – calcium build up in crevices of lower front bumper
Before – calipers were looking tired
Before – water staining beneath the dirt from hard water in windscreen wiper tank
Before – boot space was littered with sand and dust
Before – the pristine condition leathers needed a thorough cleaning and treatment to supple up
Moving on to the detailing, we started off with a natural degreaser prior to our pre-wash snow foam as an extra step to ensure old waxes and protectants were stripped so that we achieve optimal results during the paint correction phase.
During – brushwork agitation was given to all intricate areas, trims and crevices with our natural non-caustic degreaser
Once we washed and decontaminated the body, it was inspected under lights to assess the true condition so that we could trial different combinations of compound, pad and machine to rectify the paintwork
As the body was heavily contaminated, we opted with the more aggressive clay towel to remove the remaining organic contaminants. This left some superficial marring which was light in nature and easy to correct.
We had to use a multitude of different tools, compounds and polishes to work with the natural curves of the bonnet design.
After an initial pass of correcting the paintwork, we were able to reveal a clean layer of metallic flecks previously hidden beneath the defects. This would be refined to enhance gloss and deepen the hue of black
After initial compounding step
Before – the top edge of the bonnet
After – one stage of compounding to correct the defects
The entire car was painstakingly done in small sections no larger than a foot square to ensure the highest level of correction was achieved
Headlights had a slight tinge of cloudiness from oxidisation so were all wet sanded, compounded and polished to a high gloss
Whilst the wheels were off and being refurbished, we took the opportunity to do a complete wheel arch and undercarriage detail
Using various grades of degreasers, cleaners and brushes, we agitated every corner of the arch and suspension
Steam was used to neutralise the degreasers and break down dirt
As everything in the wheel department were attended to, the centre caps would’ve been the weakest link, so we ordered a full set of original caps to replace the old tarnished set.
Remounting the wheels, nuts and finally finishing off with the centre caps felt like a very special moment as the effort was rather extensive
This now allowed us to refocus back on the body work and also let us to move the car around as required. Following the first stage of correction which unveiled some clarity back in the paintwork to further identify defects, we found 7 mild dents which would receive paintless dent repair to make every panel perfect.
The rear windscreen suffered from stubborn water-spotting and roughness from contamination, so we polished it to set a foundation for applying Polishangel Rain 9H glass sealant for hydrophobic water repellence
The grill was hand polished to gloss the black plastic and remove some water spot stains
the roof rack mounts were all cleaned by hand using compressed air, cleaners, ear buds and microfibre towels
Before – every crevice and panel joint were hand polished and cleaned as extra gloss would be found from these edges where light bounces off considerably
After – what high end detailing is all about; the finer details
We took out the boot carpet floor to brush, vacuum and extract the sand and dirt
Every floor mat received the same treatment
After – extraction liquid from four dirty mats
Whilst the boot floor was out, we even took off the spare wheel to vacuum and wipe within the well, compartments and battery
After – The spare wheel was also dressed in Polishangel Honey
We missed documenting of the interior detail which included a lot of steam and brushwork. Here are the pedals being cleaned with a light natural degreaser without any dressing for safety
Metal surfaces were hand polished with extra fine grade steel wool and Polishangel Palladium
Number plates were lightly hand polished to remove grime and whiten the reflective areas
Engine bay was thoroughly detailed including the underside of the bonnet, finished off with air drying to dislodge sitting water
The choice of protection for this car was none other than Polishangel Invincible Primer followed by two layers Polishangel Cosmic 9H coating
Invincible applied at low speeds by dual action polishing machine has light abrasives to clean final traces of imperfections as well as laying a bonding foundation for its matching coating, Cosmic 9H.
Once left to cure and remove, Invincible reveals a liquid pool of paint, enhancing the metallic and giving depth to the colour
Given time to set as specified by manufacturer, we then proceeded with applying on the coating
Every Cosmic 9H coating bottle is presented in its own individual box with an envelope of serial number matching to the bottle for authenticity and quality control
Applying on Cosmic by hand is one of the most therapeutic things a detailer can do, the product glides effortlessly like a soft show wax
Left to bond on top of Invincible Primer, we then went around to finish off the other details around the car to come back and take it off once ready
Once set, removing the excess coating revealed a finish better than a car on any showroom floor. As a second layer was going to be applied, we weren’t phased by the light haze as it would allow the second layer to bond before the same process of being buffed to a high shine
On the final day we went through our final inspections and ensured we delivered the car to some of the highest standards one can expect from a boutique detailing workshop
The TV screens were cleaned along with all controls
Rails were degreased, cleaned and regreased
Mats were put back into place
After – storage pouches behind the front seats were emptied of rubbish, blown out and vacuumed
Completed – Interior of a future classic looking better than most cars a fraction its age
Leathers were now presented in a natural matte finish with all creases completely clean
After – wood grains were hand polished with light paintwork polish to remove light scuffs and enhance gloss
Every jamb was lightly dressed to re-nourish rubbers
After – Boot space rubber surround
After – boot lid plastics
After – petrol cap
After – the engine bay would almost be at Concours presentation level
After – the pan of the engine bay which usually collects oil and grease now completely clean
After – deep down in the engine bay next to the various belts
Completed pics – Unfortunately no sun the day it was collected, but still a transformation nonetheless. The client jokingly said he was now too scared to even drive the car!
This was one detail which we’re very proud to have produced as it allowed us to do the level of work we can showcase our strengths in high end detailing whilst exploring limits and having a great client who gave us the creativity and freedom to do it. We enjoy challenging ourselves and taking detailing to the next level as industry specialists.