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The Rosso Corsa classic Ferrari Red F430

The Rosso Corsa classic Ferrari Red F430

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For many years the standard of vehicle preparation and presentation when purchasing new or second-hand cars through dealerships was of a very low-quality standard. In recent years, thanks in no small part to the efforts of detailing studio’s like Namikon educating the consumer base on what should be expected from a manufacturer and their resellers and indeed what would be considered an acceptable standard of “new” – particularly where the condition of the paint is concerned, we have seen a shift in the products, process and techniques utilized producing a much higher standard of quality “out of the box” and coming much closer to achieving a “new” finish objectively for their customers.

This has opened up the market considerably where new car preparation and coating is concerned, as well it should, considering that with the new trend of Ceramic Coatings becoming the standard protection method for both dealers and the aftermarket, you don’t want to be coating over the top of factory or handling errors because unlike a wax or synthetic sealant, you need abrasive polishing to remove the coating and correct the defects sealed underneath.

So that being said, why then would someone pay for Namikon’s Executive package on a brand new car? Or a second-hand car that has already been detailed and coated at the dealership level? Well for starters, although we are seeing a general trend towards higher standards in the industry, it’s important to understand this Is not yet a rule. We still see vehicles delivered with defects either from shipping and handling that have not been removed or from inadequate products or process applied to the vehicle at the dealership level in an attempt to remove these defects. This is across the board regardless of what marque or brand they represent.

Two such examples can be viewed here. With the first being a million-dollar Lamborghini Aventador S representing the upper end of the scale. Delivered to us on a flatbed straight from the dealership. Upon arrival at Namikon, we used a high-quality inspection lamp to view the paintwork directly while in the wash bay and no major defects could be seen from that angle with that light. I would wager that most likely the car was prepared in a similar lighting scenario before delivery to our customer.

However, once we put the vehicle into our correction room and started to view on different angles of incidence, it became readily apparent that the car was covered in sanding marks that had not been removed.

The second example is on the other end of the spectrum in terms of price but also a brand new vehicle delivered to us on a truck straight from the dealership. As can be seen clearly in the photographs below, the car is riddled with scratching and holograms from a poor choice of polishing equipment for that paint type. Fortunately, both cars were booked in for Executive level paint correction which means we do not stop polishing until the pinnacle of perfection has been reached for that paint type both in terms of defect removal, clarity, gloss and texture reduction.

This means that even if those cars turned up without these defects, we would still spend our time chasing the highest levels of texture reduction, which in turn leads to higher scratch resistance for the coating by reducing the amount of friction introduced to the paintwork when washing and maintaining the vehicle, this also leads to a higher clarity of reflected image quality which is what the untrained eye perceives as “gloss”

We are often asked “what is the best package” and now you have your answer. The best polishing method will place an emphasis on reducing the amount of wave texture (orange peel) as a primary factor which as a downstream benefit positively affects all other metrics by which a paint finish can be judged. And also provides a better mating surface for the coating to bond to that amplifies its benefits by improving scratch resistance and gloss. The science of how this occurs we will explore further in another article.

The owner of this F430 is a returning customer whose daily driven AMG C63 was completed by us a year prior, so he already knew and understood what he was paying for, and it didn’t phase him in the least that his car had already been detailed and coated at the dealership prior to delivering it to us for our Executive package,  like many customers who opt for a higher level finish, the details, although important, are a little more innocuous than the comforting knowledge that it’s in the hands of the best and it’s receiving the best possible attention to detail and preparation.

If you were following our Instagram at the time (namikon_detailing) you would have seen us complete the walkaround of the vehicle in the same way we did the Lamborghini I mentioned above, and you could be forgiven for thinking the Executive might be overkill for this Stallion based on what we showed in the video. But yet again, once placed in the correction room and viewed objectively it became apparent that it was lacking finesse in all the detailed areas that make it uniquely a Ferrari and set it apart as a stallion rather than a daily driven workhorse.

Let’s face it, one doesn’t purchase a Ferrari only for what is seen, they purchase it for the esoteric engineering that underlies it’s bold exterior lines that make it worthy of wearing the badge to begin with. The countless hours of development, testing, tweaking and adjusting the finery of suspension geometry, tire compounds, aerodynamics, ventilation, material science, weight reduction and the list goes on, so it seems only fitting that when looking at optimizing the paintwork of these often lauded and much-vaunted machines that we follow through with this methodology to conclusion and achieve the highest levels of detail possible – even if they are “unseen” by the majority of people who will critique it.
Pythagoras said that the sum of the parts are always greater than the whole, and both in terms of Ferrari engineering philosophy and Namikon’s philosophy of the Executive package, this holds very true. Yes, the car looked good when it arrived. No, it was not the pinnacle of it’s potential in regards to presentation or maintainability for the future.

Because of the convex and concave shapes of the body lines, it’s difficult, if not impossible to achieve such a high degree of accuracy without specialized tooling, none of which is lacking at Namikon. Our nano polishers received a good workout when chasing the defects left on literally every area that deviated from being a flat surface which on any Ferrari is always abundant and requires a high degree of skill and patience to achieve, particularly given the soft composition of Ferrari paintwork that is sensitive to the angle on which the polishing machine is faced. The same pad and compound may produce a flawless finish when on a flat area but the same exact combination will produce haze and tracing lines on an area where the polisher is no longer flat proportional to the surface it is correcting.

For example, the cupped section of the door handle pictured below, is roughly the size of a 1” polisher pad, but coupled with a 12mm orbit can be difficult to achieve even results particularly without risking clipping through the edges, so we opted for a modified 3mm pneumatic sander with a 1” wool pad to improve both accuracy and safety.

The same technique was also necessary on the rear end of the vehicle. Although it’s possible to correct this area with a 3” 12mm orbital polisher, it’s far safer and more accurate to utilize a 3mm orbit with a 2” pad – it may take longer, but the consequences of getting it wrong will leave a lasting and bitter taste for the customer, not to mention compromising the value of the vehicle as it would require a respray to rectify.

The outermost edges of the air intakes on the rear fenders is also another detailed area that requires special tooling and slow and methodical technique, as you can see from the photo, it actually curves underneath the topmost edge and bends on a slight angle, meaning with a large orbit machine (8mm or more) it is impossible to achieve a flat pad over the entire surface area and at the same time increases risk of error when using a full rotary (no orbit) machine. With our modified tools and a special technique, we were able to safely correct these areas.

The Italians have always been known to put style ahead of practicality and the beautiful rear taillight assembly of the F430 is no exception to this rule. But yet again we see a lot of high risks, tightly fit areas that require a steady hand and sound approach to correcting to the same high levels as the rest of the car’s surface area.

The brake cooling ducts on the front bumper are painted in areas most polishers will not safely go but our nano polishers attached to a standard rotary were able to go deep into the otherwise unreachable territory and assure our customer they were getting it done right even if they will never verify it for themselves.

The rear brake duct with it’s concave surface also presents similar challenges for large orbit machines typically favoured by the detailing industry so we used our 3” electric orbital sanders with modified backing plates to get rotary like accuracy without compromising on the finish or material removal rate.

We also achieved a higher clarity, improved texture, 100 per cent defect removal and higher gloss with Alchemy Phoenix on wool in a single step leaving nothing but refinement possible for our next phase. Remembering that Executive is all about achieving the pinnacle of your paint’s potential before it’s coated. Not simply stopping when it’s “good enough” by standard definition.

To that end we utilized something that normally doesn’t come out unless we are working on a Concours car, but in this case, we had achieved such good results from the first step, it was the only way we could further improve the finish and make good on delivering our promises.

Alchemy Scorpion is a water-based finishing compound with abrasives that are actually smaller than nanoparticles, the smallest nanoparticle being 0.1 microns, meaning you scientifically cannot achieve a better finish as they are even smaller than the smallest possible abrasives. It’s very similar to the concept of “water polishing” for soft paints, except it’s more than just a lubricant for a soft pad to reduce marring while polishing, it’s truly a polish compound that will produce otherwise impossible levels of refinement.

Now that this is taken care of the other aspect of the Executive comes into play. The coating system! There would be no use going to such extreme detail when preparing the surface if we were not going to lock it in with a durable protection system that also further enhanced the prep work by amplifying the gloss produced in the panel while at the same time giving it a darkened and bespoke look that will make it stand out even amongst other Supercars.

The Executive comes standard with 3 layers of Excalibur topped off by a layer of Grail for the ultimate in physical depth (material thickness) and gloss coupled with a lower requirement for frequent maintenance when compared with a single layer system and a comprehensive 5 year warranty that unlike most, is backed 100 percent by us, the installers, and cannot be revoked based on arbitrary conditions that constitute an unenforceable unilateral agreement by the parent company or manufacturer.

So how does Excalibur and Grail combine and what are the benefits of doing so? Excalibur is the final iteration of a long series of tests regarding layered coatings, how to achieve physical depth, while also maintaining a strong bond, that doesn’t compromise on ease of application or necessitate protracted curing periods. It’s solvent resistant within 2 hours of application (in the right application environment, ensured by our climate-controlled coating bay) and this means that the carrier fluids present do not “melt” away the previously applied layer and will not cause the installer grief with smearing, high spots or flat our rejection of the coating material is applied.

It also does not generate large amounts of haze during levelling, even after multiple layers and even after subsequent layers have cured for a period of longer than 2 hours, which was perhaps the most difficult factor to achieve in its design.

Then comes grail, designed for supreme thickness and stain resistance and most importantly, the ability to add even more layers on top even if it’s fully cured. This means, that as with all our packages, you can option more layers later down the track to improve hydrophobic performance, add gloss, thickness, or just because you feel like it!

In short, the Executive package is aimed at the discerning customer who simply wants the best possible and doesn’t wish to compromise. While the rest of the world sees the Metro package as a more than an adequate bargain, the Executive is for those with a taste for the finer things in life and an appetite that can only be satiated by true quality.

The passion of the Evo 6.5 Tommi MakinenThe ubiquitous Commodore VL Turbo in canary yellow

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