Lee’s 996 Carrera diary: dirty to detailed

I’m now two months into Porsche 911 ownership and so far, so good. The Carrera is mechanically excellent and has put a smile on my face for every one of the 3,000-miles I’ve driven the car to date. However, cleaning the 996 one weekend, I noticed that although it was relatively tidy at face value, the paintwork was indicative of a car that’s lived a busy life among the elements of Europe’s roads for more than a decade.

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Simply put, the Basalt black metallic paintwork wasn’t as vibrant under the sun’s haze as it should have been. A comprehensive detail was in order and, after chatting to the guys at Meguiar’s UK, a date was set for me to take the 996 up to their HQ in Daventry to do just that.

It’s amazing what you can learn under the glare of the hundreds of lights in Meguiar’s detailing bay. First off, though the paintwork was generally good, albeit hiding behind a mottled layer of grime and road dirt, I realised the car has had paint on the bonnet since it left the factory (though the presence of the delivery label attached to its underside gives clear indication the bonnet is still original).

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We’ll bring you a comprehensive Porsche detailing guide in Total 911 magazine shortly, but a basic outline of the detailing process is to hose the car down and give it a clean (with two buckets!), before running a clay bar over every panel to remove any more hardy contaminants. Then, a machine polish with Meguiar’s Ultimate Compound Colour and Clarity Restorer removes the years of dirt ingrained into the paintwork, meanwhile bringing back that vibrant metallic shine under a glass-like finish. A wax sealant then protects the paintwork for when the car is placed among the elements on the road.

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It’s amazing what a little TLC with the right products can do. I am astounded that 12 years of road grime can be so comprehensively removed in just a day’s work in the Meguiar’s detailing booth, revealing glittering Basalt black metallic paintwork as fresh as the day this 911 left the Zuffenhausen factory. With no swirl marks embedded in the coachwork, the car’s aesthetics have been transformed from tidy but tired to a showroom finish worthy of the esteemed badge adorning the 996’s nose.

Particular praise is also reserved for the Meguiar’s Perfect Clarity Headlight Restoration Kit – the headlight lenses now have an immaculate, crystal-clear appearance instead of the usual dull, yellowing finish you see on most 996s today. Thanks to Tom and all the Meguiar’s team for the education, and look out for the Porsche detailing guide in issue 140 of Total 911 to ensure you can get the same factory-fresh finish to your beloved Porsche.

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