A couple of months ago I was contacted by the owner of a Ferrari Challenge Stradale about my detailing services. He had first heard about me on FerrariChat from one of my clients who also owns a Stradale that I worked on, and he had read some of my other Ferrari-specific articles as well.
He said that he was interested in a full “Esoteric Spa Treatment” to bring his already good condition Stradale back to near perfection condition…paint correction and refinement, wheels-off suspension detailing, engine detailing, chip repairs, partial clear-bra replacement, fix some scratches on the frame rails in the engine compartment, etc.
I regularly have cars shipped in for detailing services, and even have preferred carriers that specialize in the enclosed transport of exotic and collectible vehicles. Most of these cars however typically come in from about a 500 mile radius, so the 1300 mile journey that this Stradale was going to take from Texas to Ohio was a bit longer than normal. I also get hired a bit to travel for detailing, but among other services that we needed the shop here in Columbus for, the access to the lift was perhaps the biggest that kept me from jumping on a plane to travel to him. We decided that to maximize the investment in transportation, we would also perform some mechanical services on the vehicle as well while it was here (belt service, new tires, spot repairs).
Just on the Challenge Stradale alone, I’ve had cars shipped to me for restorative detailing services from California, Texas, and at the time of this writing I have one en route from Arizona as well. I guess when you do good work, the word gets around.
The owner of this car could have had both detailing and mechanical services performed locally, but he chose to come to us. That was a huge compliment to say the least, and just as we do for every other customer…we’ll provide him with the absolute best service that we can!
Even from just a few feet away, the car looked very good with a high level of gloss. When the paint was inspected with my Brinkmann light or in the sunshine however, I could see plenty of opportunities for improvement.
Here you can see the level and amount of swirls that were in the Rosso Scuderia paint that were preventing the finish from showing its true beauty.
And on the rear deck lid you could see a haze where a previous detailer failed to polish it correctly
The mechanical work was performed first by Craig Reed, and once he was finished it was my turn with the car. First up was a proper wash to prep the car for polishing.
Followed by a full suspension, wheel well, and brake system detail.
Once the suspension was complete, I moved on to the paint correction process by first compounding to remove all of the defects, light scratches, and swirls…followed by finish polishing to further refine the paint and to extract the highest amount of gloss and clarity. When done correctly, these processes can yield a finish that looks better than what it does from the factory!
Rocker panels before:
And after just the compounding stage.
Since Ferraris have so many tight areas to work around, much of the work needs to be done using a small, 4″ spot pad for safer, and better results.
Even the tail lights get polished to remove defects and improve clarity.
Because of the severity of some of the defects, spot wetsanding was required to fully remove them.
A work in progress!
After (many) hours of compounding and polishing were behind me, it was time to move on to other areas of the car.
I went back to the wheels for a deep cleaning, and multiple applications of a protective sealant.
The interior of the Challenge Stradale has a tremendous amount of carbon fiber, all of which gets polished and waxed. Here I am applying a coat of premium wax…Chemical Guys E-zyme that sells for about $275 / jar. Very good stuff indeed!
The seats were removed to give total access to the carbon fiber shells. Once again…being waxed with E-zyme.
Having the seats removed made it a bit easier to clean out the rest of the interior as well.
There’s definitely a drawback of having the seats removed though. I needed to pull the car outside for inspection (had a short window of sunshine available), and with no seats it makes the entire process a bit challenging. Being tired and feeling a bit silly, I decided to snap a picture of what I looked like behind the wheel without any seats…kind of difficult to see (professional driver on a closed course. Do not try this at home!).
After finishing up the suspension, wheels, paint correction, and interior, all I had left to do was the engine compartment. It was fully cleaned, sealed, and protected as necessary.
Sealant being applied to the carbon fiber bits.
The entire detail took about 25 hours to complete, and while the car looked good upon arrival, it looked stunning when it was finished and ready to ship back to the owner. As you can see from the photo below, the Rosso Scuderia paint on the Challenge Stradale had a tremendous amount of gloss, depth, and clarity.
Compound: Meguiar’s M105 Ultra Cut Compound
Finish Polish: Menzerna 106FA
Sealant / gloss enhancer: Pre-production
For a complete high resolution image gallery, including a lot of “after” photos not shown above, please click on the gallery below.
Ferrari Challenge Stradale Image Gallery
Press the “FS” button at the bottom right of the gallery to see full sized images.
Thanks for taking the time to review my work, and please feel free to post any comments or questions you may have in the comment box below. Also feel free to share this post with your friends on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc by clicking on the respective icons below under “Share The Knowledge”.Todd Cooperider Esoteric Auto Detail Columbus, Ohio