Back in January I received a call from one of my out of state collectors about doing some work on most of his cars, so I made the trip to assess their needs, and to meet up with a completely separate 458 Italia owner in the same city. When all was said and done, we figured that we would need 4 or 5 days to perform 3 major paint corrections, 3 minor polish jobs, and 4 leather preservation applications.
Given the amount of work that was to be done in a short period of time, I knew that I would need some help, and it would have to be somebody that had the same skills as me so that you couldn’t tell where one detailer stopped and the other started. The choice was easy since I had worked on other major projects before on Ferraris, Maseratis, and Rolls Royce with DJ Mayo of Reflections Detailing in Gainesville, Virginia. DJ and I are also working together on developing a highline detailing academy, but that’s another story.
So when the time came for this major project, DJ flew in to Columbus, I picked him up at the airport, and we headed out of state to work on this beautiful collection of Ferraris.
Here is the story of what we were faced with, and the transformations we put these beauties through.
Day 1: 1967 Ferrari 275 GTB/4
The rare 275 GTB/4 had to make an appearance at a charity car show the very next day, so DJ and I started on it first. Given the fact that it was the most rare and senior car in the collection, it only made sense that it took top priority over the rest. I too was born in 1967, so just about any classic vehicle manufactured that year has a special place for me. But the ’67 275 is at an entirely different level in my book of favorites. There’s just something about the lines, the styling, and the soul of this car…
As I recently stated in my article about preserving automotive history, the goal for the 275 was to get it back into fighting shape without going too far. The owner agreed that the best approach on the 275 would be to go for a high level of correction without chasing deeper defects and subsequently removing too much paint. The responsible detailer will make a piece of history like this look fantastic without “over-detailing”. So our methods would include a medium level compounding followed by a fine polishing to remove light to medium defects and restore depth and clarity of the single stage paint.
One of the first steps was to carefully remove the badges from the trunk lid so that we could fully polish the areas underneath. Fortunately, Ferrari made these so they could easily be removed and replaced.
As you can see, the 275 had a pretty heavy amount of swirls, haze, and light scratches.
After one compounding pass however, the majority of it is all cleaned up. The haze that is leftover will be cleared up during the finish polishing stage.
Here I am performing the final polishing stage to refine the finish and extract as much gloss and depth to the paint as possible. DJ did a great job of snapping this photo to purposely capture my reflection in focus, while the “real” me is out of focus. When you view it in the Image Gallery at the bottom of this article, the larger image is much more impressive.
Since the detail is as much about preservation, we treated the rubber door seals to keep them in good shape. We also used Leatherique to preserve the 44 year-old leather in the car.
When you step into the interior of such a classic car, you’re greeted with a simplistic view and controls…all business.
After a 16-hour paint correction and preservation detail, the 275 GTB/4 was ready for some photos!
While the brand new 599 GTO may flex its young muscles, the historic 275 GTB presents itself with timeless class.
The headlight covers were also removed to lightly polish underneath, and had not been re-installed yet in this photo.
The next day it went to the charity auto show and won an award. We received a lot of feedback on this car after our detailing, and everybody was very pleased with how great it looked and how much depth, clarity, and color was restored to the finish. On a side note, the Nero 458 Italia that I did a few months back won Best of Show at this same event!
With all of the amazing cars we had in front of us, our gazes kept going back to the 275. The refreshed paint combined with the classic style was pure beauty!
Day 2: Ferrari 458 Italia in Grigio Silverstone
I perform paint correction details on a lot of 458 Italias, and recently on F-Chat they had been referred to as the “458 Cooperider Special”. I like the ring of that!
DJ and I started the day by assessing the level of damage and defects on the Grigio Silverstone paint, and found it to be a bit lighter than many I have worked on. There were the typical buffer trails / holograms along with sanding marks and scratches, but most were easily corrected (relatively speaking). As a part of the assessment, DJ is taking paint thickness measurements particularly in the areas that required the most correction work to verify what we had to work with. All readings were normal on this 458.
Usually I work these on a lift at the shop, so when doing on-site details with these cars (and most exotics for that matter), it’s a bit tough on the lower back!
After a “brief” 13 hour paint correction detail, this 458 was ready to go! When we were finished, the defects were removed, and the gloss factor was significantly increased. Once this car was done, we topped it with a fresh coat of the brilliant Chemical Guys E-zyme wax.
Outside with the reflections this car almost looked chrome! These next two photos were very similar, but they looked so stunning I decided to add them both.
Another 458 in the books with paint being brought to the level that it deserves.
Day 3: Ferrari 458 Italia in Rosso Corsa
This 458 belonged to a different owner from the rest of the collection, but he lived close by so we decided to do them all in one shot at the same location. After a very long wait, the owner of this one had just taken delivery 3 days prior to the paint correction detail. He too had taken his car to the same charity car show, and although he was already expecting the paint to be “needy”, he was very disappointed in just how much work it would require after he got to see it under the revealing lights at the show. When he brought it over to us the night before, we went around with our LED inspection lights and he was just shaking his head to how badly abused the paint was on this brand new car. I’ve worked on a lot of 458′s, and have inspected many more, and I would say this one in particular was probably the second worse that I had seen. I have no idea how it could have ever gotten the green “OK” stickers from a quality control person. It was that bad…
DJ and I knew that this was going to be our longest day, and most strenuous job of the bunch, so we got busy in the evaluations and proceeded with our gameplan. There were simply too many major defects (D/A sanding marks, buffer trails, scratches, etc) to photo-document, so we just highlighted a few of them. Just imagine the defects you see below being just about everywhere on the car.
On the rear deck lid, just below the Ferrari emblem, we noticed a high level of sanding marks. It appeared as if they heavily sanded away, and then never went in to polish it back out. Assuming this was all done with total disregard of paint thickness or preservation, we took measurements to compare them to other areas of the deck lid. Here you can see we got a very low reading.
But when we moved it about 9″ to the left where they didn’t do a lot of sanding, you can see just how much thicker it was! I can see a natural variance of 15-20 microns, but NOT 60! Given how thin that area was, we had to slowly and carefully refine the finish while removing absolute minimal amounts of clearcoat (only about 1 micron).
Lower rocker before (these were hideous!):
DJ compounding the back end of the car
Yours truly doing finish polishing
Yes…even the underneath side of the mirrors were sanded and then not polished back out. Here DJ is doing some heavy compounding to fix the problems.
And this is what the paint all around the car looked like after all the polishing was completed…pure, crystal clear reflections with no defects.
We spent about 22 hours fixing this one, and it made for a very long day! Working at this level requires not only a lot of physical exertion, but it is mentally fatiguing as well to stay so focused on every square inch of paint. When it was done however, we all sat back with a smile while we admired how good the car now looked. Needless to say, the owner was absolutely thrilled, and his less than positive experience up to this point had just turned for the good. He now had a 458 Italia to be proud of…
Day 4: 365 GT4 BB, California, 288 GTO, and 599 GTO
We were on our final day, and the hardest work was behind us. The rest of the cars and work we had just involved light polishing and applications of paint sealants and leather treatments. There would be 3 cars getting detailed, and 4 cars getting Leatherique.
The California got the most work out of them all, which included a complete wash, light machine polishing, complete interior detail, and a Leatherique application that is a must for convertibles. It was the newest car out of the collection to get the leather treatment, but we removed far more dirt and grime from the leather than we even did on the 30 and 40 year old cars. This is just a simple fact with convertibles…they get dirty even if they don’t “look” it.
Here DJ is applying Leatherique to all leather surfaces in the California
All polished up and ready to go!
Next up was the 365 BB. We did a rinseless wash, followed by a sealant application, and then treated the leather and seals for preservation. These are great cars, and this one was one of the finer examples that I have seen.
Leatherique in action…
Seals being treated.
Finally we had the mighty 599 GTO. While this suffered from some of the same afflictions as the 458′s, it wasn’t nearly as bad. On this trip we were only doing a light polish, and would save the major correction for sometime in the future. This car has a certain presence to it, and when you walk in the room, you know that it means business! It’s big, it’s bad, and its 670hp is waiting to take your breath away.
As you can see, we came prepared for major paint inspection and correction…3 Brinkmann Dual Xenon inspection lights to make sure the paint is looking as good as it can.
So in just 4 short days, we completed major paint correction details on a 275 GTB/4 and 2 458 Italias. We also did 3 minor polishing details on a 599 GTO, a 365 BB, and a California. And last but not least we performed Leatherique leather preservation on a California, 288 GTO, 365 BB, and 275 GTB/4.
The owner of the collection was a very gracious host (as always), and the two of us had a great time working on all of his cars plus the other 458 Italia. And speaking of Italias, I lined up paint correction details on 4 more of them this week alone…3 of which haven’t even arrived into the U.S. yet!
Ferrari Collection High Resolution 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 / NJB Automotive Columbus, Ohio DJ Mayo Reflections Detailing Gainesville, VA