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I need your help on this Ferrari 612 – participation requested!

by

I’m going to try something a little different in this post just to mix it up and to get as much reader participation as possible. You’ve been following all of our blog posts on here for the past year, and I know that a lot of you have gained a tremendous amount of knowledge in the process. Well, now’s the time to test some of that knowledge!

I want everybody to put themselves in the shoes of the detailer (in this case…me), and make the evaluation of this Ferrari 612 Scaglietti. I’ll provide you with the same information that I have available to me, and I want you to come up with a gameplan and write it out in the comment box below. Sound simple enough? OK then, let’s take a look at this beast.

The Details:

This is a 4 year old pre-owned vehicle, and the new owner just took delivery of it about a week and a half ago. It was shipped to Ohio from a dealership in Texas. There are 9,000 miles on the clock, so it has been driven a bit. Ferrari paint is typically hard on newer models.

The inspection on the vehicle was done in a parking garage using a Brinkmann LED light. You walked around the car with the new owner, you allowed him to see what the Brinkmann revealed (heavy swirls!), and discussed some options. The owner didn’t want to go for a full correction job at this point, but he did want to address some of the swirls and add a layer of protection. The two of you agreed on a budget that would allow you 8 hours worth of work (full correction on a black Ferrari would typically take 15-20 hours), and the plan was to get the exterior looking as good as possible within that time budget. The interior didn’t need to be touched, so you’re able to focus your entire time on the outside.

The owner hands you the keys (that’s the fun part!), and you drive it back to your garage / shop to work on it. Once you get it out in the sunshine, you notice that the heavy swirls you were seeing in the inspection light are actually severe holograms from a very poor dealership “detail department” prep job! There are wool marks everywhere on the car, the holograms are hideous, and you only have 8 hours to make this car look better. Armed with the knowledge that this car just came from the dealership, you know that they’ve used heavy filling glazes that haven’t worn off yet, so when you strip the car during the wash process you know that the condition is actually going to be worse than it even looks right now.

I’ll give you a hint that may help you determine a good course of action. Black cars can get a light polish, and they can get a heavy polish (compound followed by fine polishing), but you typically can’t give them a one-step medium-level polish because you risk holograms.

You have 8 hours, a black car, heavy wool-induced holograms, and a desire to get the vehicle looking as best as you can for the customer. What is your approach given what you have to work with?

So I need your help! Please give me some ideas on what approach should be taken on this car given the parameters we have to work within. What combination(s) would you try and what would your goals be?

I’m not asking for you to write a book, but just give me some suggestions on what you might do to get this black car with heavy holograms looking as best as you could in only 8 hours. Remember, the customer is not expecting the car to look like new…he understands that level of correction is at a much higher rate.

After I get enough replies and participation, I’ll come back in and edit this article to include the processes and products that I used, along with some photos of the car completely finished. Let’s see who comes up with the plan that is closest to what it actually took.

Let the games begin…

Update: Final Process and Results Revealed!

We’ve had some great responses, and some of you actually came close to the final process that was used on this 612 Scaglietti! Thanks to all of you who participated.

Some said that we should call the customer back and say that it couldn’t be done and we’d have to do a full-correction, and some said that a two-step process couldn’t be done in 8 hours. In this case, the owner of the car was completely aware of what we were dealing with, and he knew that we wouldn’t achieve anywhere close to a full-correction. At first he simply wanted it cleaned up and a layer of protection added to it, but when I showed him the level of defects in the Brinkmann, he decided that a mid-level polish would be more appropriate. The key here is to always communicate with the customer and discuss options. As long as you’ve clearly discussed levels of expectations for the particular detail being performed, then everything should go smoothly. Make it clear that a full correction to remove 90+% of the defects will require 15-20 hours, and an 8 hour budget will clean up perhaps 50% and significantly increase the gloss and depth of color.

Somebody else made a comment about trying to achieve a higher level of correction on such a fine car, and it would be hard to stop at the 8 hours. This level of correction is a difficult one because it’s less than perfect, yet it has our name stamped on it! Somebody else could look at it, see that there are defects remaining, and draw an incorrect conclusion that we didn’t do a good job. We can’t get ourselves caught up in that trap however because we are performing a service based on a budget and a level of detail that was agreed upon. And while we should always maximize the time / budget to make the car look as good as we possibly can, we can’t be in the business of donating full-correction jobs for mid-level prices…otherwise we won’t be in business for long.

I see a car like this as a challenge because it gives me the opportunity really impress the customer. If I say that I can get a 50% correction rate in 8 hours, and I deliver more than I promise, then I’ve just created a loyal customer.

After I looked at my options with this car and the time I had to work with, I knew a few things for sure. (A) 8 hours is not enough time for a full and proper two-step correction, especially on a large black car like this one. (B) A one-step polish can easily be done in this time, but since it’s a black car I couldn’t go very aggressive with it and I would definitely limit myself to a 50% correction.

Knowing that the customer is expecting just a 50% correction rate, and the fact that the areas of the car that you can clearly see in direct sunlight look horrible (hood, top of fenders, top part of doors, trunk lid, top of bumpers), I decided to take a hybrid approach to maximize the results.

The first step was to do a few test sections to see how the paint would react. I said before that most modern Ferrari paints are pretty hard, and don’t correct very easily. This is also a lesson in why it’s always important to test out how polishes and compounds are working on that particular car, on that particular day. During my test sections, I found the paint on this 612 to correct much easier than any other modern Ferrari I’ve worked on (and there’s been a lot of them!). With this knowledge, I knew that I could blow the customer away with the results as opposed to making it better than expected.

My first test was with Meguiar’s M205 on a black pad while using the Porter Cable. I found this to get rid of at least 50% of the defects, and it took care of the holograms as well. Perfect! Now I have one piece of the puzzle ready. The next step was to see how quickly and effectively I could do some major correction. I put a Surbuf pad on the PC and grabbed for Meguiar’s M105. After a quick spot, I smiled when I saw that it got rid of just about every single defect with the exception of any deeper scratches. The marring that was left over by the Surbuf/105 combo would need some finessing, so I grabbed my Makita rotary with a black pad and Menzerna 106FA. This combo has more cutting power for a finishing step than does M205/PC, and it produces an amazing finish. After a quick test with it over the previously compounded section, I did several IPA wipedowns to make sure the polish wasn’t filling, and found the finish to be just about perfect. I mean…about 98% defect free! I checked it with my halogens, my Brinkmann, and in the sunshine just to make sure.

Now that I have my winning combination in place, the plan was to apply a hybrid approach to the car to maximize the results for the customer. For the areas where you can easily see a direct sunshine reflection (hood, top of fenders, trunk lid, top portion of doors, etc), I would use the PC / M105 / Surbuf followed by Makita / 106FA / black combination to get as close to a perfect finish as possible. For the lower areas where you can’t see a direct reflection, I would use the one-step procedure of a PC / M205 / black to achieve a 50+% rate of correction (the level of correction that the customer is expecting the entire car to be). You might be wondering why I chose the PC/205 route on the lower parts instead of the Makita/106 like I’m finishing the top portions with. That’s simple…because the PC/205 option is much, much quicker! I could take more time perfecting the top portions, and then quickly polish the lower areas.

When the car was finished (in 8 hours!), it looked absolutely stunning…especially considering how bad it was when I started. Sure, the lower portions were only 50%, but that’s the level that the customer was expecting, and it’s very difficult to even see those parts of the car. When you looked at the areas where I did a multi-step procedure (where everybody looks…the hood, the trunk lid, etc) however, the car looked almost brand new. If somebody was paying for a full correction job, a hybrid procedure like this one would be unacceptable. If they’re paying for a full correction, then that means the lower parts too! But if somebody is buying a mid-level detail, why not make the important parts look as good as you can if time allows? Don’t get stuck in the mindset of either a one-step, or a two-step procedure.

When I delivered the car to my client (driving it back to him on a sunny day sure was nice!), he was stunned at how good the car looked. It far surpassed his level of expectations, I avoided the drama of calling him up asking for more time/money, and I only worked on it for 8 hours. Everybody wins…

A few days later I received this email from him:

Hi Todd

I LOVE the finish on the car. I only got to drive it once, since I left to Miami for this weekend, and not back until Tuesday. The car has got a lot of attention, and I think it looks incredible.

Thank you again for such an incredible job…I LOVE the car!!

Thanks again to everybody who participated in this exercise, and I hope you picked up a few things on how to approach more challenging situations like this. Here are some photos of the car when I was finished.

There were some hazy clouds in the sky preventing a pure direct sun shot, but I think you can get a good idea of the clarity of the hood…scroll back up and compare it to the “before” shot!

Swirls and holograms are gone!

Thanks again everybody! If you have any additional questions or comments, please let me know.

Todd Cooperider Esoteric Auto Detail
Todd Cooperider
Esoteric Auto Detail
Columbus, Ohio
EsotericDetail.com

37 comments on I need your help on this Ferrari 612 – participation requested!

  1. Ralph nickolas says:

    I’d go with menzerna sip and an orange pad, and follow up with poliseal on white pad to lessen any holograms and top it with optimum car wax since I find it fills a little plus it looks awesome on black

  2. Tom D says:

    Wash wheels w/ PS21 wheel cleaner. Wash wheel wells and tires w/ PS21TAW.
    Wash exterior w/ CG wash and clear at paint prep ration (2oz/gal)
    Clay.
    Megs 105 w/ LC orange cutting pad on DA to remove swirls and holograms (70-80% correction gaol).
    Optimum Poli-Seal for final pass and to add layer of protection.

    Should be able to do above in 8 hour timeframe. My $0.02

  3. Mo says:

    i am no expert, so i dont know how fast/slow you work (but i work slow :p ). My game plan would be:

    Wash car at paint prep ratio
    Clay with a fine clay bar
    M105/orange pad
    Menzerna PO106FA/Black or Blue pad (i think blue pad)
    top with blackfire wet diamond

    • dave P. says:

      Either way being the car it is, it’s hard not to give it what you or I may think it truley deserves. But, in insances like this you must give the customer only what you get paid for, seeing its hard enough to get paid what you’re worth as it is.
      Wash claybar etc
      M205 or your choice of medium polish with your chouice of LC polishing pads VIA rotory. test out what pad will achieve the best result.
      Follow With Poli-seal VIA DA polisher with your choice of fine polish pad.
      Finish with a coat with a nice Chemical Guyz, Blackfire midnight sun, P21s, etc.
      It may seem like you should do more for 8 hours but High end cars always take longer……

  4. Ken says:

    Call the owner, tell him its worse than what you first thoughts and tell him to buck up and pay for full correction. He just spent a butt load on money on the car and he should do it right, instead of half-you know whating it and having to pay the full price later when these results are going to be soso.

  5. Dave_PA says:

    Honestly while reading the post, I had the exactly same thought of Ken. Obviously there is some level of trust of your work, from the owner as well as from the Ferrari community.

    If you are purchasing a 9k mile Ferrari and someone did a job like that on it, and I’m sure you paid a premium for it, they should give you some adjustment on the price. At least cover 1/2 of the paint correction process.

    The other part of my thought is that you don’t purchase a car like that and expect to have people stare, drool and gawk all over it. Why would you want to have it taken out and not look it’s best?

    I know that this isn’t part of your or the reason for your post, and i very much appreciate your intention of the post. But I felt the need to voice my reply for the sake of the car and the art craft of paint correction.

    please keep up the great work
    David

  6. You guys have got some good ideas coming so far…let’s see some more!

    Keep checking back to find out what the final solution was as well as the outcome of the car. I’ll post the entire process, thoughts, and photos and just add it to the existing article.

    • Art says:

      I second David, you took my ideas and put them in words.
      Someone is not responsible for doing there job and a premium paid.

      Keep us posted Todd

      Regards,
      Art

  7. Will says:

    wash car
    clay car
    PS21 Wheel gel cleaner for wheels

    Knowing that Ferrari paint is hard (from the text above….i dont exactly own one to know ;-P ):
    approach 1:
    – Meguiar M105 with Lake Country Orange pad
    – Meguiar M205 with Lake Country White pad

    approach 2:
    – Menzerna Intensive Polish PO91E with Lake Country Orange pad
    – Menzerna Polish PO85RD with Lake Country White pad

    then after either approach 1 or 2, Blackfire Wet Diamond All Finish Paint Protection with Lake Country Blue pad, and chemical guys fade to black in wheel wells.

  8. Art says:

    It will depend on the pad pressure and speed and if using a rotary or DA, this might be my options:

    Wash and Foam car CG Citrus wash
    Clay
    Wheels PS21 or Sonax wheel cleaner
    Wheel wells Meg’s Sper Degreaser
    Wash Tires and CG Fade to Black

    M105 with SurBuf
    Menzerna 106FF/FA with LC White
    Menzerna PO85RD a must!
    CG Vertua Bond LC Gray
    Menzerna Power Lock with LC Blue

    I don’t think 8 hours will be enough.

    Good luck
    Art

  9. Tim H. says:

    I’d def. go with the citrus wash and IPA wipedown. I would then try a test spot with something like Optimum Spray Polish on an orange pad with a DA.

    I would also consider trying 3M’s ultrafina polish with their light blue pad on the rotary if the OSP didn’t really didn’t yield the results.

    The big thing for me would be to remove the dealership glaze to really find out how bad it is.

    Being that you are who you are, I would get with the owner and tell them your true feelings on the condition of the car. I wouldn’t have told Michelangelo to use house paint on the Sistine Chapel. I wouldn’t hire you to detail an expensive car like this and not get the full Esoteric experience. There are plenty of detailers out there that can do “good enough.”

    Tim

    • Tim H. says:

      After I posted my previous comment I was thinking about how your thread on the Z06 you did. I wonder if you tried the same process that you used on that detail.

  10. Danny R. says:

    Leaving out washing, drying, claying, re-washing, taping stages since you know that goes into it I just posted the correction stages. I believe this would be a great two step combination that will remove the holograms and provide a good correction rate. I’m guessing around 60-70% because the RIDS will still be there after but like you said he is not demanding perfection or paying for it. Let me know what you think Todd.

    1. Makita 9227 with 5.5″ and 4″ Cyan LC Hydro Techs paired with PO203S

    2. Makita 9227 with 5.5″ and 4″ Tangerine LC Hydro Techs paired with PO85RD

    3. PC 7424XP with 5.5″ and 4″ LC Blue finessing with Blackfire Wet Diamond

  11. Mike says:

    One step polish you say?
    Let’s see:
    DA w/6.5 inch LC CCS orange pads + Prima Swirl. (I do this combo all the time on super soft Acuras, never had a problem with holograms)
    Menzerna powerlock as LSP.

  12. Sam says:

    That looks like it’s going to need a heavy cut

    I’d give the surbuf pad a go with either 105 or SIP, then finish down with 203S on a white LC pad

    I’ve had good results one step correcting + finishing with 203s on a white pad and slowing the machine down at the end of the pass to minimise the risk of holograms

    • Dave P says:

      Fromm my understanding the owner knows what he is dealing with only because I’m sure he was explained well and in detail. I just don’t see being able to keep it in 8 hours if I used anything more coarse than a polish. My experience is these cars take long because I always go slower to be even more careful

  13. Dave P says:

    I’m just saying it would take me longer if I used a compound. But its hard to say because ferrari paint is real hard.

  14. Michael W says:

    with only 8 hours and no major scratches (just swirl and halograms)

    Flex 3401, white pad, Menzerna 203 power finish
    Flex 3401, black pad, Menzerna 106FA super finish

    worked for me on my black car, and took me about 8 hours….

  15. Mo says:

    Awesome job Todd. I would have never guessed a procedure like this (2 step on the “top” and 1 on the “bottom”). it actually makes a lot of sense and everyone wins. thanks for sharing!

  16. Dave_PA says:

    Thanks Todd!
    This was a really cool exercise that I think we all benefited from.
    I’m looking forward to doing it again,
    David

  17. Great work Todd! What an awesome and unique idea in getting the blog readers involved! :)

    I actually though you would end up reaching for the Surbuf pads when I read this the other day. ;)

    Rasky

  18. Art says:

    Todd

    You said “The PC/205 option is much, much quicker!” why is that because M205 is a Non-Diminishing Abrasive compare to Menzerna?

    Excellent job congratulations!
    Art

    • Art,

      Bingo! Yes, in most cases you will find the process to be quicker since Megs 205 is a non-diminishing abrasive and you don’t have to go through the polish breakdown cycle like you would with the Menzerna. Your original process suggestion was really close to what I actually did, right?

      Thanks for the participation.

      Todd

      • Art says:

        Correct!

        Does the M205 finish not going to be as good as the polish breakdown cycle of Menzerna correct??

        It is a pleasure to read your articles and how do you find the time to do it?
        Art

        • Art,

          Both of these polishes finish down very fine, and if I did one section with 106 and another with 205 and asked you to see if you could tell a difference, I’ll bet money that you’ll say no. There are always exceptions…depending on the paint, the color, the machine, etc, etc, there may be a difference, but that’s why we do test sections.

          I’m glad you enjoy the articles, and to answer your question…I’m not sure how I find time!

          Thanks,
          Todd

  19. Art says:

    What sealant or wax did you use?

    Art

  20. Danny R. says:

    Todd,

    Great job it came out way better than I though, but then again you never cease to amaze me.

    Danny R.

  21. Vince Chiaro says:

    Todd you are truly a pro. Nice work!

    After reading a bunch of articles on your blog, I’m about to tackle my new-to-me Lotus Elise. It has a ton of swirls from the previous owner. Last weekend I “practiced” on my wife’s car and it turned out great!

    In the case of this Ferrari you just did…I assume it probably had some sort of a clear vinyl bra on it (as does my Lotus) — how do you handle those? Can you polish and wax the clear vinyl film? Do I need to put painters tape along the seam / edges or should I just avoid the edges with entirely? (I’m using a Porter Cable 7424XP)

    • Thanks Vince, and glad to hear that your practice session went well.

      As for your clear bra, you definitely want to protect the edges with tape. You also want to take a less aggressive approach on the clear bra…especially at first until you get some more time and experience with the buffer. Here’s an article on clear bra maintenance that you may find helpful as well.

      Have fun!
      Todd

  22. Godfrey says:

    Hi Todd,
    finally a Detailer that truely exemplifies why it’s so important for us as Professionals in the
    Detailing industry to know our products, services and procedures.You did an amazing job on that
    car. Given the level of damage, degradation and not to mention the time constraint, it turned out
    absolutely awesome.

    Keep up the great work.
    Godfrey

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