Yet another car to grace the halls of Namikon that has captured the hearts and minds of a generation of car enthusiasts. The ubiquitous Commodore VL Turbo in canary yellow. An ultra-rare site these days despite being produced in large numbers, the only examples to really survive in highly presentable condition tend to be performance models that were the dream cars of yesteryear.

You would have to look long and hard to find a better-presented example than this one, particularly after being treated to Namikon’s Metro Package following a fresh open door respray of solid colour, befitting of the period in which they were produced in, but carrying over all the typical problems associated with this type of paint system into the modern era it now survives and resides in.

The main reason this car ended up in our shop was not because of the abundance of swirl marks permeating the painted surfaces, or the lacklustre texture from the spray job, which are both perfectly adequate reasons to commission the Namikon team, but ultimately it’s contamination prone porous single stage paint that had become rough as 40 grit sandpaper while being stored indoors at a workshop.

The owner remarked upon collecting his car from storage that he noticed the entire vehicle was now rough to touch and that it no longer felt like the freshly sprayed car it was only two weeks prior. This demonstrates quite aptly how quickly this old paint technology takes on the appearance and feel of being “used” even in favourable conditions like being stored indoors and away from industrial fallout and acid rain.

So our primary task and expectation of the customer were to restore the smoothness of the paintwork. However, the decontamination method used to achieve the removal of bonded contamination also creates marring on the paint surface which can only be removed by abrasive polishing, while in and of itself this wasn’t a huge issue given the fact the car was already heavily swirled, it’s worth mentioning if only to clear up the common misconception that decontamination via mechanical methods such as a clay towel or bar, is a non-abrasive solution that requires no machine polishing as an after step. It should only really be undertaken with the full awareness of the fact that it creates scratches or when it’s intended to be polished after the contamination has been removed.

We started off with a proper foam bath for the car followed by a rinse and then application of Alchemy Aperate fallout remover which is designed specifically to react with ferrous oxide particles that are bonded into the paint’s capillary structure and can only be removed via a chemical reaction. This is essentially deep cleaning the pores of the paint without having to sacrifice paint thickness aggressively cutting out the contaminated surface layer which technically, on this type of paint system, we could get away with, in less time, but would not be giving the best solution to our customer as a result.

Once the reaction had taken place and we rinsed away the residue we then moved onto mechanical removal via clay towel. We needed to be fairly aggressive with the selection of towel because the surface was extremely coarse with contamination. I wouldn’t blame anyone for assuming we were actually sanding the car right then and there, such as the level of friction being produced even with ample amounts of lubricant to minimize marring to the surface.

Once we had restored the surface to a glass-like smoothness, the car was put on the operating table and thoroughly examined, any defective areas taped off and any low spots in the paint depth identified and marked. Then we set about removing as much texture as we could in a single pass while also effectively removing the heavy swirl marks across the entire body, which as usual for the Metro we achieved with an 80 per cent + degree of accuracy in a single step without any haze or marring typically associated with high-speed aggressive polishing.

Of course, given the speed with which this car had gotten contaminated in the first place, and the degree of marring that was already present after only a short period of time of ownership, all of the above would be a pointless process without some sort of protection against the slow decay of time the owner of the car was constantly in defiance of. After all, it’s significant labour of love to keep and maintain a car of this age to this level when all logic defies you and coaxes you into the ethos of smaller, faster, cheaper, better.

Fortunately, the Metro package has this covered with an application of Alchemy Excalibur to the exterior painted surfaces, essentially becoming a clear coat for the now obsolete paint technology of a bygone era in motoring history, protecting the car from contamination buildup (even if it was outdoors) and affording the owner the clean slate to continue maintaining the vehicle without reintroducing swirl marks back into the paintwork requiring repeated polishing in the future.

As with every rare and collectable car we do at Namikon, this investment into the presentation of the vehicle has positively effected it’s market value by a factor many times larger than the asking price (hence it’s categorization as an investment rather than expense) while at the same time addressing the problems inherent with it’s paint system and increasing its overall usability.