I have owned my C63 for the best part of 6 months at the time of writing this, I have always appreciated a clean and polished car but seeing as the C63 is a) by far the most expensive car I have owned and b) was in such immaculate condition I was determined to keep it that way, little did I realise the can of worms that was about to be opened! Here is how I have ended up spending a reasonable amount of money, but have a very shiny car and a huge sense of satisfaction!
I had promised my wife that owning a car that didn’t require any modifications for track work would mean that I would not spend anywhere near what was spent on the Clio (about 150% of is value!), however it turns out that car cleaning at a high level is still quite expensive (albeit a lot less than the Clio spend).
When I bought the car Mercedes Exeter had done a superb job with the valet it had received, this bought me some time to gather the correct equipment for serious car cleaning. The stuff I already had was ok and of a reasonable quality but not in the same league of where I needed to be. Firstly I started to read, Detailing World is a forum of pure automotive cleaning delights and people who are dedicated to car detailing in the extreme, but there is all the information you could need to get started and more importantly to educate yourself on what is good for your circumstances.
The first purchase was buckets and grit guards which meant the first clean was likely to be of a much better quality than the Clio was ever treated to (although it always had Autoglym products so was hardly starved of affection), however to ensure the best quality I decided to get a professional in on the job. I had followed ProValet from Hull (http://www.provalet2u.co.uk) for a while on Facebook and had seen that he used a good range of products on a spectacular range of cars, I called on booked in for a wash and polish in February with a view to getting something more permanent done in the summer. As the date arrived I had been reading a lot about the subject and visiting many websites for the manufacturers of all the possible products, one thing was clear, the spending was about to start.
Nick from ProValet arrived and carried out a fairly basic clean and polish (which was Chemical Guys Sealant, please excuse my previous ignorance not completely understanding the term polish!) and we discussed options for more permanent protections and what it would take to get the Merc to the standard required. Nick is a true stickler for detail (as am I) and veteran of fast cars, his eyes are better than mine when it comes to the condition of cars so I was more than happy to listen to his advice, we decided that the car could do with a full clay but on the whole the paint work was in very good condition with minimal prep required, he advised me on a couple of products to get me started until the summer arrived.
At this point I bought, a Karcher K4 (total control version), foam gun & snow foam, shampoo, better microfibre drying towel and the unbelievable Gyeon Wet Coat. The Wet Coat is a product you spray on when the car is cleaned but still wet and then immediately pressure wash off, it leaves a super glossy effect and water beads off like you wouldn’t believe, this was the start of my love affair with Gyeon products.
Gyeon are a South Korean company who develop detailing products, their website is superb with all the information you could ever need. Over 6 months I have replaced most of my products with their versions of them and am simply bowled over by the ease of use and results from them. http://www.gyeonquartz.com
Summer arrived, I spoke to Nick and said that I really wanted to protect the car with the Gyeon MOHS Q2 product, a quartz coat product that is supposed to last for 2 years on the car. Nick approved and had previous experience with MOHS, it was going to take a full day to apply and then 12 hours to “set”, easy!
He arrived as planned, job was done to his usual exemplary standard and it left me one unbelievably clean Mercedes with a shine so deep that it has to be seen to be believed, the photos of the car look amazing but it better in the flesh (2 coats of MOHS is the key).
It has helped that a good friend recently purchased a stunning Audi A5 Sportback 3.0TDI 245 in black (rolling on 20s) and is as obsessed with cleaning it as I am the C63. This has meant that we have advised each other on what worked and have both ended up with very similar setups. He too has been using ProValet with a view to getting the brilliant MOHS.
The current equipment and spec used is as follows:
Gyeon MOHS Q2
Karcher K4 pressure washer
Snow foam gun
2 buckets with grit guards
Gyeon Bug Remover
CarPro pH Neutral Snow Foam
Gyeon Wash Mitt
2x Monster Purple Towels
Gyeon Soft Wipes
AutoSol metal polish
So back to the original question, “Is obsessive detailing an addiction?”, of course it isn’t but as anyone reading this knows (especially if your a car person) cars are bit of an emotional thing to some of us, they deliver thrills on the road for a number reasons which translates to emotions which ultimately leads to us devoting more of your own resources toward them. I suspect that there are not many people who have minimal attachment to their cars who lavish them with the best products and their time, where as people like myself, my friends and of course Nick are prepared to spend money, thinking and research effort and most importantly the time on our cars.
I think the best way to some this up is from the last time I had my hair cut, the subject came up in conversation and when I stated that I was looking forward to have my car cleaned and that it was going to cost in excess of £200 she thought I was crazy! This opinion is from a competent, successful business owner but someone who doesn’t have the connection to cars that I have. Clearly we all have our loves in life and those who love cars as much as me and are intent on their pride and joy being perfect (which is obviously impossible, yet we never admit defeat!) cleaning you car this way is no different to purchasing a season ticket or shopping excessively, all feel great!
Exception to the rule, track cars (unless it’s a GT3 RS).