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Ford Escort MKII - Protection Detail

When people talk about iconic Fords there are many to pick from. Ford RS200, Ford Escort Cosworth, Ford GT and so on, each offering theirown charm to entice Ford fans to dream of owning one (or all if your wallet can handle it). Each classic fast Ford have always got one thing in common - Motorsport. Ford were always providing vehicles for competition, the legendary Ford GT at Le Mans was built to bring a victory over Ferrari whilst their Escorts were dominating the loose surface world of Rallying. With their popularity growing and their motorsport victories stacking up fast Fords were set to remain in the hearts of fans forever. Just like the Escort MKII RS1800 that become popular in its production between 1975 and 1977 for its rear-wheel-drive and handling capabilities that made them a car to make whoever drove one smile from ear to ear.. The owner of the Escort you are currently seeing has put his RS1800 through a very extensive rebuild at a very high quality. This example of RS1800 could quite possibly be the most controversial Escort roaming the roads today with carbon fibre panels, full rollcage, bucket seats, Mini-Light competition alloy wheels and oh.. a full Honda S2000 engine transplant featuring a full set of throttle bodies, competition clutch and race inspired fuel system. If that isn't enough to cause a stir with the Ford (and possibly Honda) purists then something isn't right.. So.. with that said, let's get on with the Protection Detail..

The car arrived to us in pretty clean condition other than a minor amount of road dirt, little emission blacking on the exhaust and a few interior crumbs. The wheels were misted liberally with Auto Finesse Iron Out to breakdown the main bulk of brake dust present. This was left to soak for a few minutes whilst the boot, door and bonnet shuts were cleansed using a mild dilution of APC and a boar hair detailing brush. Once the shuts had been cleaned, the wheels were rinsed thoroughly with a pressure washer, this removed approximately 90% of the light brake dust that the wheels had. As the wheels featured a polished metal lip, it was decided not to use a wheel cleaning agent (even 'safe' wheel cleaners can potentially harm a bare metal finish) and a citrus pre-cleaner was used in its place. A boar hair detailing brush and an EZ Detail wheel brush was sufficient to remove the remainder of the brake dust whilst allowing access to the rear barrels of the wheels through the smaller spoke openings. Once agitated, the wheel received another pressure rinse..

Wheels done, time to move attention onto the body. As the RS1800 had rally-style mud flaps the majority of accumulated dirt was captured and deflected away from the body of the car meaning there was minimal heavy soiling behind each mud flap. The rest of the body had light dust deposited and water spots from the wet weather in previous weeks..

The car was moved straight onto the pre-wash stage. Blanketing the car with a generous thickness of foam the grills, badges, window seals and other intricate areas were agitated with a boar hair detailing brush whilst the foam was dwelling on the car. After approximately 3-5minutes, the foam was rinsed away with the pressure washer, carrying away the heavier soiling from the paintwork..

Moving onto the bucket wash using Auto Finesse Lather alongside a high-quality deep-pile synthetic wash mitt, the Escort was washed carefully paying extra attention to the lower panels that swooped slightly underneath the vehicle and would be easy to forget about. These lower areas and the mud flaps were washed using a separate washmitt dedicated to the slightly more soiled areas. A pressure rinse washed away any dirt and soap lather from the vehicle ensuring body gaps and water trap areas were cleared of any remaining wash solution. The car was then towel dried to remove any standing water on the surface. As the car is kept well protected it allowed faster and easier drying as the main bulk of the water had already sheeted from the car.

The next stage would be to remove the tar spotting from the vehicle. Under inspection there seemed to be a light black overspray splatter on both front arch shoulders. As the car has been undercoated (chassis & arches) it was assumed to have been a little overspray from such areas. The tar and undercoat overspray were misted with a dedicated tar remover whilst a microfiber pre-sprayed with the same tar product was used to gently massage away any spotting present. The majority of tar build up was caught on the mud flaps, once the body was removed of spotting the flaps were also treated with the tar remover. As the body was undercoated extra care was taken to ensure that the tar remover didn't strip this away as solvent tar remover will cause the undercoat to soften and run, just as the tar would..

With the spotting removed safely, the car was then covered in a coat of Auto Finesse Iron Out applied via a hand-pump sprayer. This was left for 5-8minutes to allow any ferrous particles present on the paint to cause a chemical reaction that would be indicated by a deep purple colour appearing..

Once any chemical reaction had taken place to turn the ferrous particles into a water soluble state, the car received another pressure rinse. Areas such as rear light trim, window trim etc were rinsed thoroughly to ensure as much Iron Out remains were removed. A few stubborn areas of contamination were still present after the tar and fallout stages, a surface prep towel (claybar alternative) was used to lift the remaining contamination. This left the paint smooth and entirely free of contaminants to ensure the cleanest panel prior to the glazing stage. A second foam layer was blanketed over the car, this time diluting the foam down to allow a higher water:foam ratio. As there was no dirt to break down, all that was needed here was for the foam to get into the water traps and help push out any remaining product left by the tar and fallout stages. After approximately 2minutes of dwell time, a thorough final pressure rinse finished the exterior decontamination process.

With the RS1800 brought indoors, a combination of drying towel and warm filtered air was used to dry the vehicle entirely. The forced air allowed any usual drip areas to be cleared of water that a regular drying towel could not access. Wheels & tyres were blown dry to force water out of bolt holes and prevent potential marring from regular towel drying. The car was then given a treatment of Auto Finesse Ultra Glaze applied with a DAS21e dual action polisher to allow the product to be worked into the panel well, allowing a more even coverage. A fresh microfiber cloth was used to buff away the residue of the Ultra Glaze to reveal a deep and glossy white paint finish. Carbon fibre bumpers and rear spoiler were also treated to reduce minor swirling. Any smaller areas that weren't accessible by polisher were glazed by hand using a dual-foam applicator. A small amount of produce was applied to the soft foam side and gently worked in overlapping circular motions to ensure no area was left unprepared for the wax to be applied.

Auto Finesse Desire was applied to all painted panels thinly and evenly under artificial lighting to ensure no areas were left unprotected. The first coat was applied and left to cure for 10minutes before buffing away the residue ensuring to flip the cloth regularly to avoid excessive build up. Once the wax was buffed off, a minimum of one hour was left before application of the second coat. During this time a few other tasks were carried out to get closer to the final product. The glass was treated with a highly hydrophobic glass sealant to maximise visibility during the wet weather. A final buff with Auto Finesse Crystal left the glass perfectly streak free both inside and out. Window rubbers and plastic trim were protected with Auto Finesse Revive applied by hand and any excess product removed immediately to prevent patching and to leave a subtle satin finish that leaves a factory finish. The wheels were given a gentle wipe to remove light dusting prior to the bare metal lips being given a polish by hand to lift the shine and to remove extremely light water spotting. Auto Finesse Mercury was the polish of choice before Auto Finesse Mint Rims wheel wax was applied to the lips and the wheel faces. A gentle buff of the wax once cured left the wheels looking slick and feeling smoother to the touch. Gyeon q2TIRE was then applied to the tyres for its perfect enhanced 'as new' appearance. The 5th wheel in the boot of the RS1800 was also given the same treatment in case the wheel needs to be fitted to the vehicle for any given reason.

The interior of the Escort was almost perfectly presented upon delivery other than a little grubbiness on the driver’s seat and a few crumbs from the journey to deliver the car. A light vacuum removed the crumbs and light dusting present. The seats were misted with a diluted safe interior cleaner and agitated with a soft bristle leather brush to prevent damage being inflicted to the alcantara seat inserts from a brush with too stiff bristles. A clean microfiber was then used to wipe away the lifted dirt and also removed the surface dampness. The exposed painted metal work such as the doors and the roll cage were given a gentle wipe down using Auto Finesse Finale quick detailer. The carbon fibre door panels were also quick detailed to remove finger prints..

The final coat of wax was ready to be applied, thin and evenly just as the first was applied. The same 10 minute cure time was left so that the wax has time to bond before the residue was buffed away with a fresh microfiber. Once the wax was buffed, a final wipe down with Finale quick detailer removed any remaining excess wax and also added its own protection to help the wax life. With the Protection Detail nearing completion, the final task was to polish the rear exhaust box. Normally just the tip would be polished but as a little extra we decided to re-polish the entire box to ensure the car looked its absolute best for low angled photographs.

To finish the Protection Detail, the exposed painted areas in the boot area were looking a little dusty and a build up of what appeared to be an oil/grease was present so a gentle wipe with Finale returned the boot compartment back to a standard that compliments the rest of the vehicle.. A job that we absolutely loved, time for some final photos...

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