Black Shelby Cobra

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The owner of this lovely vehicle came to me as a referral, we went back and forth as to what the vehicle would need to have done and we settled on a minor paint enhancement (that’s my fancy way of saying a single power polishing pass) and for paint protection Opti-Coat Pro+. Oh as well as a full interior detail, but for those that have seen vehicles like these there really isn’t much for an interior but any who here is the vehicle as it was brought to me.


I actually removed the windshield to gain better access to the dash of the vehicle. Now where would be the safest spot to put the windshield?

Inside the vehicle of course!

Well on with the show, it was now time to proceed with the washing of the vehicle. For the most part the washing was done the traditional way, three bucket method. The third bucket is strictly dedicated to the wheels. With various brushes I scrubbed and agitated the wheels. Wheels take quite a bit of elbow grease to get looking just right, here I show all that scrubbing and agitating looked like:

Next the vehicle was washed via the two bucket method but I decided to wash it with the ONR method. Seeing as the vehicle doesn’t have a roof I couldn’t use the traditional method of dousing the entire vehicle with water.

With the vehicle all washed I proceeded to decontaminate the vehicle, usually I would go with the three step decontamination process like I normally do. However, seeing as I’m limited on how much water I can pour on the vehicle I decided to decontaminate the vehicle the old school method and that is via clay bar.

This is the clay bar after just claying the hood of the vehicle:

It’s been a wile since I’ve seen the yellow clay bar so filthy, between Iron X and Tardis the clay bar hardly picks anything up.

Any who, once the entire vehicle was clayed I gave it a final rinse in this case it was more of a wipe down via ONR again and quickly dried the vehicle.

Seeing as the vehicle is so low to the ground I decide to use a lift, at the shop I have access to all sorts of goodies a lift is one of the many perks I have and I’m very, very grateful of that. Here is the Cobra on the lift:

Before I could proceed to polishing the vehicle I decided to take some paint readings with my PosiTector 200. Seeing as the vehicles body is completely composite the PosiTector 200 came in really handy. As you’d expect on these types of vehicles there is plenty and I mean plenty of clear coat. In fact, the owner of the vehicle told me that extra clear coat was put on the vehicle and it was abundantly clear thanks to the paint gauge.

Now that I diligently checked and measured the clear coat I can turn my attention to the true conditions of the vehicles paint. For this task I call upon the assistance of my 3M Sun Gun. You know my relation ship with this 3M Sun Gun is one of those love and hate type of relation ship. Love it because it’s an awesome light, it shows absolutely everything. Hate it because it shows everything! I mean that it’s unforgiving; if I miss something while I polish it will point it out, taunting me and mocking me that I’ve done a poor job. But like I always say, detailing is meant to be perfect and in order to reach perfection one must have the appropriate tools.

Any who, back to the write up. Here is are the true conditions of the paint:

Now these bad boys were the ones the owner wanted to be completely removed, if possible.


As you can see those are quite in the clear coat but I’ve done a few of these vehicles in the past and I know they actually polish quite easy…too easy though. I’ll explain in a bit.

Remember how I said I removed the windshield on the vehicle so that I could polish, well take a look at this:

Full access to the windshield, nice!

I decided to start polishing on the worst spots, here is what those deep scratches looked like after one pass:


As you can clearly see they are still in there. So I decided to step it up a bit, before:

After:

Now as you can clearly see I was able to successfully flatten the clear coat out and remove majority of those pesky deep scratches. However, as you can clearly see there is a large amount of haze left behind. That bring me to the main point about polishing composite types of vehicles. Although composite panels correct rather easily there are two negative factors. One, it’s extremely easy to remove a large amount of clear coat which could potentially lead to sticking through the clear coat very quickly. Two, the clear coat is so soft that even the softest micro fiber towel will leave some sort of micro marring. Both of these factors are extremely irritating and due to these two factors even though these vehicles are quite small in sheer size they take a significant amount of time because every time you touch it your bound to leave some sort of mark on it.

Any who the polishing combo I settled on was this:

For the most part it was 3M UK Extra Fine Plus with a Yellow 3M UK Polishing foam pad and my Festool Rotary. However, for those pesky deeper scratches I used the same 3M UK Polishing foam pad but instead bumped up the polish to the 3MUK Fast Cut Plus. Fast Cut Plus is quite coarse all on it’s own and on composite type of panels it has a tremendous amount of cut so that is why I decided not to use a compounding foam pad.

Having mentioned all that even though the vehicle was in for a minor paint enhancement, meaning a single power polishing pass. There was no way I could let this vehicle go with just one pass but before I get a head of my self on with the polishing.

Lets begin with some pesky scratches, before:

After:

As you can clearly see the scratches are removed but a large amount of haze is left behind, haze which can be removed but requires time and patience lots of patience.

Before:

After:

Before:

After:

Before:

After:

Before:

After:

Well as you can see for the most part I was able to make a substantial improvement on the swirls and scratches on the vehicle not quote 95% or 100% improvement but then again the goal was to enhance the paint and as you can see I say I was able to do exactly that.

Now I’m not quite done yet, I still had the task of refining the finish and this is where the challenge began. To refine the finish I went with a 3M UK Blue Finishing foam pad partnered with 3M UK Ultrafina SE. I tend to favor the 3M UK products and for one particular reason, they have much better lubrication and finish off substantially better then compared to the North American version and produce substantially less dust then compared to Menzerna products. But keep in mind that’s just my humble yet completely biased opinion.

On with the show, the entire vehicle was refined with various 3M UK Blue Finishing foam pads and 3M UK Ultrafina SE and when I say the entire vehicle was refined I literally mean any part that had paint on it was polished. This include the exhaust guards:

Once I had refined the vehicle’s paint it was time to prep it for the paint protection and for that I used:

Another 3M UK Blue Finishing foam pad and Opti-Coat Primer along with my Festool rotary. Again the key to this part was to be as gentle as possible removing the Opti-Coat Primer to ensure I didn’t induce any more micro marring. As you can imagine this took a bit of time.

Lastly it was finally time to protect the vehicle, for that the owner decided to go with Opti-Coat Pro+. Considering what I went through to remove as much swirls and scratches of the vehicle I thought the owner made an excellent choice of paint protection. I applied Opti-Coat Pro+ gently and buffed it off with even greater care. Once the entire vehicle was completely protected I could now focus my attention to the other loose ends.

Such as vacuuming and steam cleaning the interior, which to be honest didn’t take that long. In fact, it probably took longer for the steamer to warm up then for me to use and cleanse the interior. The other thing was to clean and properly protect all the glass on the vehicle not to mention put back the windshield back on the vehicle which proved to be quite the task as the screws which held the windshield in place did not want to go back in. Exhaust’s where also gently polished leather was reconditioned with Zymol Treat and that about does it for this vehicle.

Now for the end results:


I should also point out that the wheels were also coated with Opti-Coat Pro+ always forget to mention that.

Well that does it for this lovely vehicle, owner was extremely pleased with the end results which is what I always aim for but also the vehicle now is well protected and Opti-Coat Pro+ should now take most of the brunt the paint will be exposed to.

As always thank you for taking the time to read this write up and any feed back is always appreciated.

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