This absolutely beautifully re-built Jaguar E-Type has been undergoing a very extensive restoration over the past two years after being imported from California. Every single area of the car has been removed, refurbished/replaced and re-fitted to create this absolutely stunning example of a British icon. Not a single area or part has been overlooked during the course of its rebuild.
The car was given to us covered in body shop dust, overspray and general grime from storage.
The detail started by cleansing the engine bay free of any dust and dirt. As the majority of the contaminants being dust, a harsh cleaning agent was not needed; a simple mild dilution of Citrus cleaner in a trigger bottle was used to lift the dirt away from any painted surfaces. The cleanser was then agitated with an assortment of soft bristle brushes, wheel woollies and some areas by hand. Using an open ended hose, the engine bay was then carefully rinsed free of all dirt that was lifted, ensuring that any electrical items weren’t exposed to an excessive amount of water (or any at all if necessary). The long reach wheel woollies was able to reach deep down into the front clamshell/nose of the car that was covered in white dust, the wheel woollies being designed to be safe and gentle on painted surfaces and therefor no scratching or damage was caused. Any delicate areas such as distributor, relays and connections were then force-dried with warm filtered air to ensure that no standing water was allowed to ingress into any components.
Whilst cleaning the suspension and brake components, black overspray was found on one of the vehicles wishbone components. These were carefully removed with a microfiber cloth with a small amount of solvent tar remover misted into the cloth itself and massaged into the spots.
The whole car was covered in a layer of foam pre-wash and left to dwell for 4-5mins. Due to the sunlight being quite intense (and the car being black) the foam was drying out a little faster than normal. During these few minutes, hard to reach areas were agitated with a 1” detailing brush paying extra attention to body gaps, shut lines and trim surrounds. The whole car was then pressure wash rinsed, once again paying attention to the said shut lines. The car was then washed using a two bucket method with a grit guard present in each bucket. A high quality pH neutral shampoo accompanied a Gyeon Merino Wool washmitt to carefully wash down the paint, ensuring no possible grit was re-transferred onto the paint causing marring. Again due to the lovely (yet nightmare) weather, one panel was washed at a time and then rinsed immediately to stop shampoo solution drying out on the surface. After every panel was washed, the car was moved indoors out of the sunlight. As the car has never seen the road, there would be no need to de-tar the vehicle as there wouldn’t be any present, so it was moved straight onto the claying stage.
The clay bar was submerged in fresh warm water for a few minutes, allowing the clay to soften up ready to be used. A fresh solution of shampoo water was used to lubricate the clay. Soaking the panel with the solution, the clay bar was then removed from the water and kneaded into a small disk and the clay bar itself was then misted with the solution. Working only in straight lines and no pressure, the car was freed of any bonded contaminants gently, keeping the clay well lubricated to prevent the paint being marred. The glass surfaces were also clayed to remove any overspray before the car was pulled outside and re-covered in a layer of foam. This step carries away any lifted dirt and contamination from the clay process without the need to re-wash the car physically.
Body shop inflicted damage after being polished with poor technique covered the car. A very large amount of heavy buffer damage revealed itself on the paint after its wash down and decontamination
With the car moved once again indoors, the car was dried using a combination of drying towels and warm filtered air to clear standing water away from trims, water traps and hard to reach areas. The engine bay was then once again blown dry of any water that had entered it through the bonnet vents. All delicate areas of the car were then masked up to prevent any polishes damaging them during the correction. A fair amount of polish residues were present from the body shops flat & polish stage that had been carried out prior to its arrival with us. The bonnet vents were also taped off from underneath to stop any dust contaminating the clean engine bay below and with all rubbers and trims masked off, the paint was measured over the entirety of the car and noted onto an outline vector drawing of a Jaguar E-Type. The readings ranged anywhere from 122 microns to as far as 600 in some places. A few places read ‘overflow’ or even gave no reading at all, indication of a non-metallic substance present between the paint and the metal of the panel.
With all the reading taken, the cars correction was then began. A combination of Koch Chemie polishes and Lake Country polishing pads were taken to work using both rotary and Dual Action polisher’s dependant on how severe the paint defects were or even accessibility to manoeuvre the polisher in tight areas. Three stages of polishing were carried out, each stage being of ‘less cut’ than the previous to increase clarity and gloss levels in the paint. An IPA wipe down between each stage of polishing allowed a view of any remaining swirls that were then re-polished to the desired finish. Re-IPA wiping again and if necessary repeating this process until the desired finish was achieved from that step. After the third polishing stage, also known as the refining stage, a small detailing brush was used to free any accumulated polish dust from window seals, body gaps and anywhere that may have become clogged during the correction process. After all dust was cleared a final IPA wipe down revealed the true condition of the paintwork.
Normally at this point, the protection stages would be carried out, instead it was decided that the rubber seals and trims would be cleared of any polish residues and then dressed. The reason for this is that as the dressing may come in contact with the paint, if that’s so it can be cleared away with IPA before the wax is applied meaning that not only does the wax become un affected by the dressing product, the wax will also not mark or stain the trims if that gets onto them whilst applying. Basically saving time by not chasing your tail! The Gtechniq T1 Tyre&Trim dressing was chosen due to its great natural look alongside long lasting protection for areas that often get overlooked. Previous polish residues were removed from the rubber seals by spraying APC into a cloth and gently massaging it with the cloth wrapped around a finger until the residue had been removed. Not only does this remove the polish but also cleanses the rubber enough for the T1 dressing to bond.
Once all seals were taken care of, the wax was then taken care of next. The wax of choice would be Auto Finesse’s premium wax ‘Desire’ for its great durability and super insane levels of gloss. The wax was applied with a foam wax mate applicator in circular overlapping movements to ensure even coverage panel by panel. The use of artificial lighting made far more easier to make sure only thin amounts of wax were applied. Over application can cause more work during the buffing off of the wax, not to mention wasting product.
The Desire was applied to the entire vehicle, although the lower panels were left un-waxed for the time being (continue reading for the reason...). During the cure time, the exterior glass was cleaned free of any waterspots, polish splatter and dusting from the correction stages. The tyres were dressed and protected with Gtechniq T1 Tyre&Trim to leave a fresh natural ‘new tyre’ look, perfect for a car looking for the concourse finish.
Once these odd jobs were completed, it was time to buff off the first layer of wax with a brand new microfiber cloth; this eliminates the possibility of anything being trapped in the cloth causing marring on the perfectly polished paint. Working in straight lines with little to no pressure, the wax was gently buffed off, flipping the cloth and re-buffing the panel to ensure no residue was left behind. The first layer of wax would need to be left for a minimum of 1 hour after buffing, so a few more odd jobs were carried out to pass the time (and to save on the waiting!).
All brightwork was polished by hand to remove waterspots, brightening the finish with Meguiars NXTGen metal polish due to its non-aggressive cleaning ability. As the bumpers were brand new, there were no defects to remove meaning the low abrasive choice of the Meguiars would be a more gentle option. As said earlier, because the trims and seals were dressed before anything else, any polish that come into contact with the seals could be wiped away effortlessly with no staining or residue whatsoever.
The engine bay was next on the agenda. Firstly misting plastics, silicone pipes and rubbers with a light spray of Auto Finesse Dressle. Any overspray was then cleared with a fresh microfiber cloth. The painted under-bonnet and chassis framework on show under the clam was wiped down with quick detailer to add a little protection whilst removing any residue from both wash stages and dressing. The polished rocker cover and a few smaller auxiliary items were hand polished using Meguiars also, brightening the shine.
The suspension components and rears of the front wheels were cleaned by misting a cloth with All Purpose Cleaner [APC] and buffing any dust and dirt away, buffing any excess product away with the dry side of the cloth.
Once the engine bay and brightwork was completed, it had given plenty of time for the first wax layer to cure fully. Any dust and re-hazed wax was then buffed down again gently with a plush edgeless microfiber cloth. A second coat of Desire was then applied in the same manner as the first; overlapping circular motions and thin application. Once again, the entire body was waxed and left to cure for around 10-15mins. Buffed off in straight lines with no pressure once, the car was then left for the final coat of wax to cure for a few hours.
Whilst the curing time was ticking away, it was time to start on the vehicles chassis. The reason for not waxing the lower half (sills and rear valance) was because these parts also needed to be machine polished, just the vehicle needed to be raised up for better access from underneath. The rear of the car was jacked up, ensuring the front wheels were chocked first, and then supported suitably underneath. As the front of the car was accessible by lifting the clam, only the rear was needed to be raised.
Overspray and waterspots were found on the sills and rear valance so these were hand polished using Koch Chemie F5 and a dual foam applicator, this cut the overspray away whilst the abrasives still allowed the minor marring and swirls to be removed easily without too much arm work. The sills were suffering from a little pig-tail damage so they were polished by machine to ensure the greatest cutting ability for the polishes. Once buffed down free of polish residue, the lower panels (including front chin) were waxed and left to cure. The exhausts that were fully exposed received a quick brightening from manifold all the way through to tail pipe to remove any dust, water spots and a little grease from some mechanical components above. The wax was then buffed off at this point. The chassis of the car was painted and was only accumulating some body shop dust. A cloth dampened with APC allowed the dust to be removed whilst collecting any lifted dirt at the same time. Even areas behind the differential and prop shaft were wiped free of dust to ensure the best possible finish possible, just because you can’t see it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t clean it.
Floor pan, exhaust bracket and any other flat painted areas of the chassis were then protected with Auto Finesse Tough Coat and left to cure for 20 minutes. This time was spent hand cleaning the rear suspension system free of dust. The coil springs, shocks and control arms were wiped with an APC dampened cloth before a fresh microfiber was used to buff off the cured Tough coat. The rear wheels were then wiped down from behind as there was a small amount of grease present on the inner barrel. Once the chassis was completed the car was removed off its supports and lowered back to the ground and the handbrake was re-applied before removing the front wheel chock.
The final area of the car was the interior; starting with a barcode sticker to be removed from the brand new windscreen. As the sticker would not ‘pick’ off, steam was used to soften the glue and as much of the paper side of the sticker was removed as possible. A cloth was placed at the bottom of the windscreen to capture any excess water formed from the steaming. The remains of the sticker were left to cool slightly from the steaming, then being removed with tar and glue remover on a cloth. The glass was then cleaned entirely to remove any residues and general dirt. All other interior glass was also cleaned free of finger prints and dust. A cloth dampened with dedicated interior cleaner was used to wipe the dashboard and trim surfaces, no dressing was used as the dashboard was brand new and the finish was not to be compromised for the factory looks. A detailing brush was used to agitate the switches and joints free of dust. The carpets were vacuumed of loose dust and light debris; the seats were also vacuumed paying attention to seam lines.
The leather seats were lightly sprayed with interior cleaner and wiped clean with a microfiber cloth to lift only light soiling. The rear boot compartment was wiped free of dust also at this point.
The rear pop out windows and front windows were opened to reveal some dust and polish residue trapped behind the glass and inside the front window channel. The rear window channels were wiped clean and the metal framework was polished by hand to a high shine. The front window channels were cleansed by spraying APC into the foam end of a detailing swab and gently sliding it up and down the channel until all polish had been removed safely.
Once everything was completed, the car was brought outside and inspected under sunlight. The car was then final buffed down using a quick detailer to remove any remaining wax residues and to remove any streaking left behind by the wax. A plush edgeless microfiber was used to ensure the safest possible final buff down without causing any damage to the now absolutely dripping wet black paintwork.
All finished and by far the greatest and most in-depth detail we have carried out, on the most expensive vehicle we have worked on. The feedback we have had from the people who built the car and the person who commissioned the work have been absolutely overwhelming and we are so proud to be one of the final stages in this cars great journey.
Enough talking, here's the finished article in full glory..