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2008 Chevy Corvette in Crystal Red Metallic

by

Every car has history and a few stories, but rarely do they have this much when they’re “brand new”.

My client purchased this leftover ’08 model from a dealer on the other side of the country, and didn’t get the opportunity to look it over prior to the purchase. It was sold as “new” since it had never been titled, and had only 106 miles on it. When the truck arrived here in Ohio however, it looked more like it had 10,000 miles on it and never once cleaned! I inspected the vehicle right after he received it, and was amazed at the condition. We immediately scheduled a full detail for my first available opening.

I have a theory on how this all happened, but I’ll save that for a little bit later in the write up.

When he received it, he also found out that the trucking company had damaged one of the lower rocker panels…big gouge! So it was first off to the body shop for some damage repair before I could work on it. It turned out that it was a good idea to send it to the body shop first…more on that in a bit.

First let’s take a look at the overall condition of this brand new Corvette.

Paint condition: Light to moderate swirls all over the car. Obviously during its time sitting around the dealership it had been improperly cared for.

Swirls on a newly delivered 2008 Cyrstal Red Metallic Chevy Corvette prior to properly detailing

Swirls on a newly delivered 2008 Cyrstal Red Metallic Chevy Corvette prior to properly detailing

Swirls on a newly delivered 2008 Cyrstal Red Metallic Chevy Corvette prior to properly detailing

Swirls on a newly delivered 2008 Cyrstal Red Metallic Chevy Corvette prior to properly detailing

Swirls on a newly delivered 2008 Cyrstal Red Metallic Chevy Corvette prior to properly detailing

As soon as I saw this, I knew that the car had been wiped down (dry) from all of the body shop dust. This is proof of why debris should never be wiped off dry. The way this was leaving hologram-like defects, you could actually follow the wiping pattern. Can you imagine the situation if I would have worked on it first, and then they did this?

Hazing on a newly delivered 2008 Cyrstal Red Metallic Chevy Corvette prior to properly detailing

Hazing on a newly delivered 2008 Cyrstal Red Metallic Chevy Corvette prior to properly detailing

Since I knew where the damage repair had been done, I wanted to inspect it to see if there were any blend marks that needed to be fixed. I was a bit surprised to find this! It looked like there was a run in the paint, and somebody had attacked it with a very abrasive piece of sandpaper, and then walked away and called it finished.

Unpolished paint on a newly delivered 2008 Chevy Corvette in Crystal Red Metallic

There was another one of the exact same problem about two feet away…these were on the lower side of the rocker panels. Quality work didn’t happen on this job, and this poor Vette just can’t get a break!

Scuffed wet sanded paint on a newly delivered 2008 Chevy Corvette in Crystal Red Metallic

When I looked over the rest of the car, I found what appeared to be a heavy build up of sand in every crack and crevice.

In the rear deck lid:

Sand built up in a newly delivered 2008 Chevy Corvette in Crystal Red Metallic

Sand built up in a newly delivered 2008 Chevy Corvette in Crystal Red Metallic

In the door jambs:

Sand built up in a newly delivered 2008 Chevy Corvette in Crystal Red Metallic

The exhaust:

Exhaust tips on a newly delivered 2008 Chevy Corvette prior to polishing

And everywhere in the engine compartment!

Sand in the engine bay of a newly delivered 2008 Chevy Corvette

Sand in the engine bay of a newly delivered 2008 Chevy Corvette

Sand in the engine bay of a newly delivered 2008 Chevy Corvette

It’s getting pretty disgusting, right? I’m sure by now you can really feel for the owner of this car that was sold as “new”.

The plot thickens as we move to the interior, and I’m starting to put pieces of the puzzle together to come up with what I believe to be a solid theory.

Here was a thorough build-up of crud all over the door panels and handles:

Dirty interior on a newly delivered 2008 Chevy Corvette

Scuff marks on lower door panel on a newly delivered 2008 Chevy Corvette

Don’t forget about down here.

Scuff marks on lower kick panel on a newly delivered 2008 Chevy Corvette

The leather looked exceptionally filthy

Tarnished leather on a newly delivered 2008 Chevy Corvette

What I like to refer to as bonus crud was found when you pulled the leather sections apart!

Grime built up in between leather cracks and creases

This is supposed to be brand new, light tan leather interior. Fail!

Contaminated and tarnished leather on a newly delivered 2008 Chevy Corvette

The next discovery was the last piece of evidence I needed to solidify my theory on what went wrong with this car. I’m probably going to receive a call from CSI on this one because my investigative techniques were flawless, I did a complete and thorough analysis of facts, and my conclusions are bullet proof.

Interior of a newly delivered 2008 Chevy Corvette with free shamrocks

Interior of a newly delivered 2008 Chevy Corvette with free shamrocks

I knew it…LEPRECHAUNS!!! We all know that they enjoy partaking in mischief, and the shamrock is their calling card. I’m thinking that they went for a joy ride in the Vette (for 106 miles) and partied it up a bit (perhaps even in a parade?). Their dirty old clothes messed up the interior, and they hammered the car down the beach on the California coast, hence all of the sand! Mystery is solved…

For those of you who now think I’ve lost my mind, I’ll move on.

Seriously though, can you believe the condition of this new car? The swirls, the scratches, the sand, the crud, the poor body work, and the shamrocks that were everywhere inside this car…it’s amazing! Several weeks later and I’m still finding shamrocks in the Esoteric garage.

The first step in this complete detail was to address the leather interior with a thorough application of Leatherique. I had the car for several days and it was quite hot out which is the perfect recipe for a successful treatment.

First step is to apply the Leatherique Rejuvenator Oil with a foam brush.

Applying Leatherique Rejuvenator Oil to 2008 Chevy Corvette leather seats

Then thoroughly massage it into the surfaces by hand making sure to get complete coverage.

Leatherique Rejuvenator Oil applied to 2008 Chevy Corvette leather seats

Leatherique Rejuvenator Oil applied to 2008 Chevy Corvette leather seats

Leatherique Rejuvenator Oil applied to 2008 Chevy Corvette leather seats

And now cover up with plastic on the driver’s seat so I can get in and out of the car without getting the product all over myself. Once I’m done moving the car around, I’ll remove the plastic. With plenty of heat and the windows rolled up to create a steam-room effect in the car, it’s best to let the product work for at least 8 hours. Since I had the time, I let it work for about 48 hours.

Chevy Corvette leather seat covered in plastic to allow Leatherique Rejuvenator Oil to penetrate the leather

Now it’s time to move to the exterior of the vehicle. The wheels came first, and I used Chemical Guys Sticky Wheel Gel for the rims, and Optimum Power Clean for the tires and wheel wells. Look at the effectiveness of the Power Clean on the tires…this is before doing any scrubbing!

Optimum Power Clean degreasing rubber tires and wheel wells on a 2008 Chevy Corvette

After the wheels were completed, I started off with my normal wash with Chemical Guys Citrus Wash & Clear at paint prep ratio (2oz/gal) to strip any existing wax off of the surface. I loaded up my Gilmour Foamaster II foam gun, thoroughly pre-soaked the car, and then came back and washed it using the two bucket method, Grit Guards, and my DI Sheepskin Mitt.

Pre-soaking a 2008 Chevy Corvette with Chemical Guys Citrus Wash and Clear to degrease paint

Washing a 2008 Chevy Corvette with Chemical Guys Citrus Wash and Clear and sheepskin wash mitt

For the filthy engine compartment, I soaked everything in P21S Total Auto Wash (TAW) first, and then cleaned it up using my Mini E-Z Detail brush and a variety of sponges. For a step-by-step tutorial, check out my article on Engine Bay Detailing.

2008 Chevy Corvette engine bay degreasing in P21S Total Auto Wash

After I was finished with the wash, I pulled the Vette back into the garage for claying. What I found was yet another strike against this car…paint overspray everywhere from the body shop! I had to spend a lot of time claying using DI fine grade clay and Dodo Juice Born Slippy clay lube to remove it all.

Removing paint overspray with a clay bar and Dodo Juice Born Slippy clay lube.

This isn’t dirt, it’s red paint overspray! And this is just after one small section.

Clay bar after using it on a small panel with paint overspray

So if you have your car worked on in a body shop, you should plan on claying it immediately afterwards because chances are it will be covered in overspray regardless of what you had done to it. I have seen it many times before.

Finally it’s time to do some polishing. Given the amount of time it takes to polish the hard clear coat on Corvettes, the owner decided to go with a one-step polish in hopes of achieving at least a 50% correction rate and amp up the gloss a bit. The first test I did was with Menzerna PO203S and a white LC pad on my Makita rotary, and after doing several alcohol wipe downs to get a true inspection, I found that this combo was getting a much greater correction rate than we hoped for, and was finishing down LSP ready.

Polishing a 2008 Chevy Corvette with Menzerna PO203S Power Finish on a white pad with a Makita rotary buffer

On the rocker panel with the bad body work, I wetsanded the problem areas, and properly polished them back out. As you can see, it wasn’t an easy area to work on without a lift.

Wet sanding and polishing rocker panels on a newly delivered 2008 Chevy Corvette

After wetsanding.

Rocker panels of a 2008 Chevy Corvette wetsanded to remove imperfections

All polished out.

Rocker panels of a 2008 Chevy Corvette after wetsanding and polishing

As you can see from the next couple of photos, the swirls were removed and the clarity was restored.

Corrected 2008 Chevy Corvette paint after polishing with Menzerna Power Finish

Corrected 2008 Chevy Corvette paint after polishing with Menzerna Power Finish

This is post-polishing, but before any sealant or wax:

Corrected 2008 Chevy Corvette paint after polishing with Menzerna Power Finish

For a sealant, I decided to go with Blackfire’s Wet Diamond. I love the look of this product!

Blackfire Wet Diamond on top of a DI ReTHICKulous towel ready to be applied to a 2008 Chevy Corvette in Crystal Red Metallic

I apply it with my PC7424XP and a blue finessing pad on speed 3.5-4.

Applying Blackfire Wet Diamond with a PC 7424XP buffer and a blue finessing pad on a 2008 Chevy Corvette

The next few photos are after applying the Wet Diamond, but before applying wax.

2008 Chevy Corvette in Crystal Red Metallic after applying Blackfire Wet Diamond by Esoteric Auto Detail

2008 Chevy Corvette in Crystal Red Metallic after applying Blackfire Wet Diamond by Esoteric Auto Detail

2008 Chevy Corvette in Crystal Red Metallic after applying Blackfire Wet Diamond by Esoteric Auto Detail

2008 Chevy Corvette in Crystal Red Metallic after applying Blackfire Wet Diamond by Esoteric Auto Detail

When using Wet Diamond, you need to let it cure for at least 8 hours after removal before you can top it with another coat, or with a wax. I was done for the day, and would come back the next morning to apply a coat of wax.

The next morning I started off by finishing up the interior.

I sprayed on Leatherique Prestine Clean that works to remove the remaining Rejuvenator Oil, along with all of the dirt, grime, sweat, and salt that it brought to the surface.

Applying Leatherique Prestine Clean to Corvette leather after allowing Rejuvenator Oil penetrate overnight

After letting it dwell for a few minutes, I go back and hit any particularly dirty areas with a leather brush.

Cleaning contaminated leather stains with a leather brush and Leatherique Prestine Clean on a 2008 Chevy Covette

Then clean it off with a clean, damp MF towel.

Wiping off Leatherique Prestine Clean with a damp microfiber towel on a 2008 Chevy Corvette interior

And then lightly buff the surface with a clean, dry MF towel.

Leather seats in a 2008 Chevy Corvette after using the Leatherique 2 step process on them

There’s now a huge difference in how the leather looks, and it was very soft and luxurious afterwards.

Leather seats in a 2008 Chevy Corvette after using the Leatherique 2 step process on them

For the grimy door handles and panels, I just used Prestine Clean and a damp MF towel. It did a tremendous job of restoring it back to new, and it adds some UV protection as well.

Leatherique Prestine Clean used on 2008 Chevy Corvette door handles and panels

Leatherique Prestine Clean used on 2008 Chevy Corvette door handles and panels

I then cleaned the console, gauges, windows, and thoroughly vacuumed to get rid of all the shamrocks! The interior NOW looks brand new, and is far beyond what a dealer’s new prep service could have provided.

2008 Chevy Corvette interior after an Esoteric Auto Detail

2008 Chevy Corvette interior after an Esoteric Auto Detail

2008 Chevy Corvette interior after an Esoteric Auto Detail

Moving back to the exterior, it’s time to add a layer of wax, and tidy up all of the details.

I have found lately that Blackfire Wet Diamond sealant topped with Chemical Guys E-Zyme Natura wax is a beautiful sight, so with the hard life this Corvette has already endured, I figured that it deserved such a fine combination. The E-Zyme goes on like butter, and is ready for removal in about 15-20 minutes. My finishing MF of choice is always the DI reTHICKulous towel.

Chemical Guys E-Zyme Natura on a DI reTHICKulous towel ready to be applied to a 2008 Chevy Corvette in Crystal Red Metallic

The tires received an application of Blackfire Tire Gel, the wheel wells were treated with Chemical Guys Fade 2 Black, and the exhaust tips were polished with Optimum Metal Polish.

When all was said and done, I was able to achieve about an 80% correction rate even with a one-step polish. The finish was stunning, the interior turned out beautiful, and the engine compartment finally looked brand new again. The car may have started out with some serious challenges, but after I was finished with it, the Corvette had a brand new start on life.

The owner was absolutely thrilled with the outcome, and could now enjoy it the way he should have been able to when he first took delivery. Another satisfied Esoteric customer…

And now for some after shots:

The engine was dressed with Chemical Guys Fade 2 Black.

Chevy Corvette engine bay detailed by Esoteric Auto Detail

Dripping wet, and glossy!

2008 Chevy Corvette in Crystal Red Metallic after an Esoteric Auto Detail

Sunshine…the light of truth.

2008 Chevy Corvette in Crystal Red Metallic after an Esoteric Auto Detail

2008 Chevy Corvette in Crystal Red Metallic after an Esoteric Auto Detail

2008 Chevy Corvette in Crystal Red Metallic after an Esoteric Auto Detail

2008 Chevy Corvette in Crystal Red Metallic after an Esoteric Auto Detail

2008 Chevy Corvette in Crystal Red Metallic after an Esoteric Auto Detail

2008 Chevy Corvette in Crystal Red Metallic after an Esoteric Auto Detail

2008 Chevy Corvette in Crystal Red Metallic after an Esoteric Auto Detail

2008 Chevy Corvette in Crystal Red Metallic after an Esoteric Auto Detail

2008 Chevy Corvette in Crystal Red Metallic after an Esoteric Auto Detail

2008 Chevy Corvette in Crystal Red Metallic after an Esoteric Auto Detail

This is one of my favorite shots of this car! Here’s where the Wet Diamond and E-Zyme combo really shines.

2008 Chevy Corvette in Crystal Red Metallic after an Esoteric Auto Detail

2008 Chevy Corvette in Crystal Red Metallic after an Esoteric Auto Detail

2008 Chevy Corvette in Crystal Red Metallic after an Esoteric Auto Detail

2008 Chevy Corvette in Crystal Red Metallic after an Esoteric Auto Detail

2008 Chevy Corvette in Crystal Red Metallic after an Esoteric Auto Detail

2008 Chevy Corvette in Crystal Red Metallic after an Esoteric Auto Detail

2008 Chevy Corvette in Crystal Red Metallic after an Esoteric Auto Detail

2008 Chevy Corvette in Crystal Red Metallic after an Esoteric Auto Detail

2008 Chevy Corvette in Crystal Red Metallic after an Esoteric Auto Detail

Stunning!

2008 Chevy Corvette in Crystal Red Metallic after an Esoteric Auto Detail

When the owner of this car came to pick it up, he was dropped off by the owner of the black Z06 Vette I worked on earlier this year. He’s been out doing some auto cross events with it, hence the numbers. He was kind enough to throw me the keys to take the Z for a drive, and all I can say is that it absolutely rips!

2 Chevy Corvettes detailed by Esoteric Auto Detail

Thanks as always for taking the time to review my work. Total time = 13 hours.

If you have any additional comments or questions, please submit your reply in the comment box below.

Todd Cooperider Esoteric Auto Detail
Todd Cooperider
Esoteric Auto Detail
Columbus, Ohio
EsotericDetail.com
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15 comments on 2008 Chevy Corvette in Crystal Red Metallic

  1. Mary says:

    Awesome job Todd! This is a great lesson that you need to take ample time to properly assess the vehicle first before you touch it. This was like reading a crime novel that had a happy ending. Thanks for sharing it.

  2. Garrett says:

    I am going to be doing my first car soon (2001 Amulet Red Audi TT….mine)and have read enough to know that my 7424XP will do the job nicely when it comes to polishing and applying sealant. What I am wondering is what you use to apply the wax? Do you apply it by hand or with the orbital? I would love my red to look like this C6 and am going to be using similar products for everything as well. Thanks and great write up.

  3. Chris Thompson says:

    I used to work for a Chevy dealer in central Florida. When the truck driver would bring in the new corvettes, he would drive the truck right under an oak tree and drag the branches across all of the cars. Needless to say, we had many of these complaints. Great work on this Vette! The red just pops!

  4. Lorange Stratos says:

    For build-up of crud all over the door panels and handles, what did you use to clean that ? Awesome job!

  5. Clifford Fujiwara says:

    Todd, you mention that you use alcohol wipe downs to get a true picture of your results. Why alcohol and what type of alcohol is used?

    • Clifford,

      It’s just your basic isopropyl alcohol that you can get at any grocery / drugstore. It breaks down the polish oils and residue to provide you with a truly clean surface. You can use it straight, or you can dilute it 50/50 with distilled water.

  6. Kris says:

    Do you ever use a carpet extractor or a vapor steamer on the interior?

  7. [...] Originally Posted by VD2021 I've been looking at crystal red metallic(GM) or black crystal pearl (Chrylser). It really is tough to choose. If I have to tilt to one it's the crystal red metalic. The C6 looks good in this color. That is a good looking red. Here is a good link with some pic's of it on a C6. 2008 Chevy Corvette in Crystal Red Metallic – Detailed Image [...]

  8. Jon says:

    Hi Todd,

    Fantastic write up! i am a newbie enthusiast and just detailed my 4 month old Jet Black 328xi following much of the recommended practices adn products you have mentioend across a variety of posts here in the DI space. Most of the material I purchased, including the PC 7424XP, came from DI :)

    I am very curious to know: (1) Could you have done the detail above with Menzerna PO203S and a white LC pad on a PC (rather than rotary)? If so, would you have gone with a more agressive pad (and, if so, which one), and (2) Why consider this a “one step” and not use P085RD before the BFWD?

    Much appreciated!

    • Thanks Jon.

      Since this wasn’t a “full correction” detail, then yes…I could have used the PC and gotten good results. Would I have used the same pad, or how similar results would I have gotten to the rotary? There’s no way to tell unless I did a side by side comparison. I probably would have compared both cut and finish of a white pad and an orange pad to see which gave me the best combination (cut and finish). I didn’t use 85rd for a few reasons. 1) the client had a certain budget, and the goal then is to get the best cut/finish as you can. I achieved a great finish with 203, and an additional 3 or 4 hours for 85rd wasn’t in the budget! 2) You can quickly get to the point of diminishing returns. Even if time / budget were available, I don’t know that an extra 2 or 3% gloss that could have been generated by 85rd would have been worth the additional 3 or 4 hours worth of work.

  9. Ed Heys says:

    Hi Todd,
    Incredible job as usual! Quick question on the foammaster II – how do you go about making the correct ratio for non-prep (normal wash)? Do you mix the shampoo with the water in a bucket, then set the ratio on the foammaster to include no additional water? Or do you mix the shampoo with a little water in the canister and set the ratio high? thanks very much for all your guidance :)

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