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  1. #1
    Director of Training Mike Phillips's Avatar
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    Taking your car's paint to it's maximum potential

    "Taking your car's paint to it's maximum potential"


    I coined this saying back in the early 1990's and here's the story behind the saying.

    As a detailer, I always run into people driving special interest cars, often unique or classic cars, that are not restored or in mint condition but still viable transportation with the added bonus of being "cool" in their own unique way.

    Often times these cars would be old enough to have single stage paint and it would be oxidized from neglected and age. It's my nature to approach the driver's of these cars and talk to them about restoring the paint on their car so it will look better, maybe even great!

    Often times I would get a reply back like this,


    "One of these days I'm going to paint the car..."

    or

    "One of these days I'm going to do a body-off restoration..."



    And for a lot of these people one of these days never comes...

    Knowing this and being a little bit on the extrovert side, I would push a little more and explain to them that getting a new paint job or doing a full restoration down the road is a great idea, but until then with the right products, the right technique and the human elements of care and passion, we could take the paint on their car to its maximum potential.

    Add a little glass polishing, chrome polishing, tire dressing etc., we could do a major transformation to their car that would make it look so much better that people would think the car received a new paint job.

    So often the offer was rejected for whatever their reasons... my guess is many of them just didn't realize the hidden potential in their car's paint just waiting to be revealed through a thorough paint polishing process. This is normal as the average person doesn't now that much about the art of polishing paint outside of wash and wax.

    Below is a real life example of the above story I've practiced most of my life...


    The power in the after shots is created in the before shots

    Before



    After



    Taking a car's paint to it's maximum potential
    The above before and after detail on a 1960 Ford Ranchero is a real-life example of taking a car's paint to its maximum potential. While the paint may not be perfect, it's as close to perfect as it's possible to attain and that's usually good enough. It's a lot more fun to drive around in a car that looks like a glistening gemstone than a car that's ready for the salvage yard... and your car will get more respect and turn more heads... nothing wrong with that especially if it's a special interest vehicle.


    I was at an Autozone getting some parts and saw an old, oxidized 1960 Ford Ranchero in the parking lot. I hovered around the car until the owner popped out of the store. Even though experience has shown me that most the time when I approach someone about taking their car's finish to it's maximum potential it never results in anything, I'm tenacious, that is I never give up... especially when I know how great the car could look with a little polishing work...

    So I struck up a conversation about the car itself and the owner told me the background story. He purchased the Ranchero for his Dad, he restored the mechanical components and interior and then had it painted. About that time his Dad lost his ability to drive due to a disability. The Ranchero sat outside neglected most of the time except when the son drove it to where he worked, which was a concrete manufacturing plant where everyday the car would get a layer of dust from the airborne ingredients used to make concrete in a mass production manner.

    The owner told me after he had it painted it looked pretty good but over the years the paint lost it's luster...

    Then I made my offer...
    I said bring it over to my house and I'll help you to restore the paint till is shines like new. He took my business card and said he would call me.

    A couple of months went by and I forgot about the offer... but I never forgot about the car. Then one day out of the blue the owner calls me and says,


    "There's a local car show and cruise afterwards and I would like to shine up the paint and take my Dad to the show and then on the cruise"

    I said... "Bring it on over" , and he did.



    Long story short, he brought the Ranchero over and together we polished out the paint to the condition you see it, in the pictures in the thread linked-to above. Afterwards he took is Dad to the show and then the cruise and he said his Dad had the biggest grin he's seen in years. After that, with a little education on the day we did the buff-out... he started maintaining the finish.


    Point being, sometimes, someday never comes... waiting to get a new paint job or waiting to do a full body-off restoration to your special project car is easy to talk about and dream about but reality is, someday may be a long ways out, and may never come due to life in general.

    So until that day does arrive where you can start removing the bumpers and prepare the car to take to the body shop, or you have a shop where you can carefully and methodically start taking the car apart piece by piece, you can always do what you can to make the best of what you have to work with... and that is,

    • Evaluate the condition of your car's paint
    • Gather the needed products, pads and tools
    • Do your Test Spot and dial in a system proven to produce the results you want and hope for
    • Then take your car's paint to it's maximum potential....



    It might not be perfect but that's okay, you can do "perfect" someday. Until then, you might as well drive around in a clean, shiny fill-in-the-blank... whatever it is that's special to you...


    Mike Phillips
    Director of Training Autogeek & Marine 31
    IDA Board Member - Certified Detailer - Skills Validated Detailer - IDA Recognized Trainer
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  3. #2
    Senior Member cobalt9123's Avatar
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    Re: Taking a car's paint to it's maximum potential

    Great article Mike, and awesome turn around on that Ranchero, where is the write up!?! I assume there isn't one..but awesome work anyways.

    My only problem is that I WANT a classic muscle car that I can polish out but just can't FIND one, in my price range,
    2009 Summit White Cobalt SS/TC SOLD
    2007 Black Cobalt LT - Daily Driver

  4. #3
    Senior Member Matt S.'s Avatar
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    Re: Taking a car's paint to it's maximum potential

    Quote Originally Posted by cobalt9123 View Post
    Great article Mike, and awesome turn around on that Ranchero, where is the write up!?! I assume there isn't one..but awesome work anyways.

    My only problem is that I WANT a classic muscle car that I can polish out but just can't FIND one, in my price range,
    I would love to have a '66 Chevelle to drive everyday...but at the same time I would never want to drive it every day. 1 rock chip or bird etching and I think I'd cry.

  5. #4
    Senior Member cobalt9123's Avatar
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    Re: Taking a car's paint to it's maximum potential

    Quote Originally Posted by matt@autogeek.net View Post
    I would love to have a '66 Chevelle to drive everyday...but at the same time I would never want to drive it every day. 1 rock chip or bird etching and I think I'd cry.
    Chevelles, Camaros, Firebirds, Barracudas, Chargers, Challengers, Mustang GT500's, so many original cars I would love to have. That's true though, it would be painful to see that or a bird take a dump on the hood while driving it!
    2009 Summit White Cobalt SS/TC SOLD
    2007 Black Cobalt LT - Daily Driver

  6. #5
    Director of Training Mike Phillips's Avatar
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    Re: Taking a car's paint to it's maximum potential

    Quote Originally Posted by cobalt9123 View Post

    Great article Mike, and awesome turn around on that Ranchero, where is the write up!?! I assume there isn't one..but awesome work anyways.


    There's a write-up, It was originally posted to MOL when I was the Admin on that forum... and Instructor for their classes...


    1960 Ford Ranchero - Extreme Makeover - M105/M205 Tag Team


    I used the original write-up to help explain how and why to get the before pictures for this article,

    The power in the after shots is created in the before shots


    And the reason for the photography article is because

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Phillips

    "If you ever do an extreme makeover on a car or some other project, remember...

    the power in the after shots is created in the before shots"
    And of course the problem is expounded on in the article.



    Mike Phillips
    Director of Training Autogeek & Marine 31
    IDA Board Member - Certified Detailer - Skills Validated Detailer - IDA Recognized Trainer
    Mike Phillips Facebook Page
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  7. #6
    Director of Training Mike Phillips's Avatar
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    Re: Taking a car's paint to it's maximum potential

    Quote Originally Posted by Matt S. View Post

    I would love to have a '66 Chevelle to drive everyday...but at the same time I would never want to drive it every day.

    1 rock chip or bird etching and I think I'd cry.

    I'd drive it, wear-n-tear is part of the deal.

    I think it was Jay Leno that once said,

    "I like to buy a 100 point car and then drive it down to around 30 points and then restore it"



    Mike Phillips
    Director of Training Autogeek & Marine 31
    IDA Board Member - Certified Detailer - Skills Validated Detailer - IDA Recognized Trainer
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