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  1. #1
    Super Member richy's Avatar
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    Mar 2007
    Windsor, Ontario
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    My Biggest Challenge In A Few Years: 1997 Corvette

    This customer was a referral from a gentleman who has sent me at least 4 people. What a vote of confidence that I so dearly appreciate! He brought me this car a few months ago and it is a gorgeous car, but man did it need work! Severe scratches, deep swirls and many touch up spots. I ended up needing it longer than I originally anticipated. Let's get into the pics. When it arrived, it was late at night and was raining. I did not photograph it initially because so much crap had fallen from the tree under which I had parked it for a few hours that I felt it did not truly represent the before condition of it. In fact, he doesn't even drive it in the rain. So my before shots are after wash and clay. This was to be a wheels-off, CQF favourite kind!

    First up was the wheels. The barrels were cleaned with Tarminator followed by Zep Citrus. The tires were cleaned with Zep 505. The wells were done with LATA. The faces were cleaned with Zep Citrus and a demoted wash mitt using Megs HW.

    The car was then washed with Megs HW followed by a decontamination wash using IronX paste. The final decontamination step was to use my CarPro clay towel. Here it is in the sun showing what the bare paint held in store for me:

    Looks good from far, eh? Well, you know how that saying ends...

    At this point, I didn't see this as anything out of the ordinary. But, first, I pulled each wheel. The barrels were of concern for him. It turns out that they were pitted and beyond total correction. What I did however, was to polish them (face and barrel) with my Megs DA and a 4" yellow B/S pad using Reflect. That was followed by DG Squeaky Clean by hand with a foam applicator. That result was double coated with CQF. The calipers were also chemically cleaned with SC and double coated as well. The plastic wells were coated with DG beta trim coating.

    Here's a wheel back on:

    Now the real journey begins. First off, luckily, the car had not been polished before. Luckily as I don't own a plastic paint gauge. I grabbed my Rupes and used a mf pad + 101. No correction, or very little. Next came my burgandy Megs compounding foam pad + M101. Same dismal result. So I grabbed my usual defect-killer, Flex 3401 + black TB wool + M101. Same disappointing result. I had not estimated for a 3 step correction. Hmmmmm. OK, what ended up working? Old school, baby. Rotary @ 1800 rpm (1000 wouldn't even work) + Menz Power Gloss + black TB wool. That, finally, got rid of the scratches. The top of every side panel had them. Down lower did not need to be so aggressive and just the Flex + M101 + black wool was used there. I want to show you a scary pic. It actually made me laugh out loud because it reminded me of what you see from hack detailers. This shot is of the panel after being compounded with the rotary...with one missing ingredient I'll share in a second:

    Hologram heaven right? Wrong. I hadn't wiped the panel off yet. Here's what it actually looked like after that stage:

    Not so terrible after all. Now here it is after being followed up with the Flex + Megs burg foam + M105:

    And finally the last step of M205 + Rupes + white B/S pad. Yes, you read that right: I had all 3 machines in motion for this detail. Now, that's rare for me!! For people who insist that mf pads cut as well as a rotary: this car would prove you wrong. This one took the BIG GUN!! In spite of this very aggressive approach, not all scratches were able to be removed. Perhaps if I had a plastic paint gauge I might have been able to go deeper, but this was all I felt comfortable doing. I was not out to thin out his paint, only to try to vastly improve it. I think I succeeded. I'd say I got about 90-95% correction on the job.

    Even though I was flying blind with no paint readings, I felt confident doing this car. The extra time was a concern so I had the customer come by to check out the progress and get his approval on continuing. He was thrilled and gave me the green light to continue as is. After the entire car was given either the a/m 3 steps or 2, I gave it an Eraser wipe down and gave the paint and glass a double coat of CQF. The windshield got Forte. The trim was coated with DLux. The tires were shot with OB via my air gun. I even hand polished and double coated the Corvette chrome emblem at the back between the exhaust tips (which were also polished and coated). The paint got baked by my IR light too of course:

    All in all, this car took just over 22 hours. I had to deliver it to him at night so I could start early the next morning on another big job: a 2012 G37XS with a second set of wheels. I was disappointed not to be able to present it with sun shots, but I didn't want it sitting outside all day. Besides, he was now very excited to get it back. Here she is:

    Now in the interest of full disclosure, I did not really check the pics too closely as he was arriving shortly. After he left, I found that many were quite dark. I had inadvertently left the exposure compensation on from a previous family shot I had taken so it really affected the shots. The worse ones were brightened. I only wish I had sun shots to truly reflect the deep dark well of black oil the paint looked like. These will have to do. Thanks for looking and your comments are appreciated.

  2. #2
    Super Member Marc08EX's Avatar
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    May 2008
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    Re: My Biggest Challenge In A Few Years: 1997 Corvette

    Looks great Richy! You brought that Vette back to life. 22 hours is a long time.
    2011 SEMA Meguiar's Car Crazy Showcase Team
    2016 Competition Ready Barn Find Porsche Team

  3. #3
    Super Member haris300's Avatar
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    Mar 2014
    Sugar Land, TX
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    Re: My Biggest Challenge In A Few Years: 1997 Corvette

    Wow that must have been some seriously tough paint. Nice work and thanks for sharing your approach! That paint looks like wet ink now.

  4. #4
    Super Member davey g-force's Avatar
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    Aug 2009
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    Re: My Biggest Challenge In A Few Years: 1997 Corvette

    Nice work once again Richy!

    Don't worry about the pics - we trust you by now!
    Quote Originally Posted by Jason Rose
    I am cursed for life because I can never look at beautiful paint without seeing the defects

  5. #5
    Regular Member RottenII's Avatar
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    Jun 2014
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    Re: My Biggest Challenge In A Few Years: 1997 Corvette

    The owner must have been thrilled when he saw it!! Great job!

  6. #6
    Super Member HUMP DIESEL's Avatar
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    Dec 2013
    Gaffney, SC
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    Re: My Biggest Challenge In A Few Years: 1997 Corvette

    WOW! Richy, knocking another one out of the park.

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  7. #7
    Super Member dcjredline's Avatar
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    Mar 2012
    Upstate NY
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    Re: My Biggest Challenge In A Few Years: 1997 Corvette

    Its very obvious that paint turned out great. I think I like the Calipers the most. Nice work
    "Dirt likes detergent so much better than the surface that it's attached to, it'll leave that surface to go hang out with the soap"...aim4squirrels

  8. #8
    Super Member RTexasF's Avatar
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    Jun 2006
    North TX
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    Re: My Biggest Challenge In A Few Years: 1997 Corvette

    You earned your blisters and sore muscles on that one! I look forward to your excellent posts because it allows me to see what a true Master of the trade can accomplish. Even in my heyday that job was well beyond my capabilities. in North Texas

  9. #9
    Super Member Sizzle Chest's Avatar
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    Apr 2011
    Naples, FL
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    Re: My Biggest Challenge In A Few Years: 1997 Corvette

    What a save! Great job on some seriously hard clear! Looks great!
    Scott Harle

  10. #10
    Super Member Sicoupe's Avatar
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    Mar 2013
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    Re: My Biggest Challenge In A Few Years: 1997 Corvette

    WOW Richy! That paint looks dripping wet my friend! Another beautiful job buddy


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