LDS Detailing, The PPF and Ceramic Coating Experts in Sussex 1200 627

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31 July 2023


When we first stepped into this garage there was one car that stood out from the wide array of modern hyper and supercars. This low mileage F40 was in need of some paint correction, but otherwise in an incredible condition for a car over 30 years old. Detailing a Ferrari F40 is a dream for many detailers, including us. So it was an incredible opportunity to be entrusted with the paint correction on a classic car such as this incredibly valuable and historic Ferrari F40.

The challenge with this car, as with all original F40’s, is the lack of paint on the car. In an effort to save weight, Ferrari didn’t use filler primer, they only used a thin interface coat and then as little as 2 litres of Rosso Corsa paint. Because of this, you can see the pattern of the carbon fibre weave through the paintwork which is incredible, but the thin paint requires an incredible amount of knowledge and care to be safely worked on. This meant meticulous taping of high-risk or already damaged areas, such as the door handles, petrol cap and door edges. It also increases the overall time the car takes to complete as every small section has to be planned, to figure out the safest but most effective way of tackling the swirls and light scratches. The car had plenty to remove, but also the client was not chasing perfection, only an improvement as this was what we advised considering the potential risk of burning through the original paint on a multi-million pound piece of art.

The initial wash and preparation stages were similar to most more modern cars, except there are few modern cars that you can open the entire rear section of! Once this was up (not an easy task for one person) the engine bay could be lightly cleaned to ensure there was no risk of any contaminants making their way out onto the paint between the panel gaps. Also, due to the nature of the car, it has spent its entire life garaged, which meant it was relatively contaminant free as could be seen by a clean clay bar.

Once blown dry and wiped down we could get a good look at the condition of the paintwork, and there was plenty of room for improvement. Reds in particular suffer from oxidisation and this particular example was a cloudy and dull. This meant that once we got the right polishing combination nailed we were able to find that beautiful red laying underneath.

Paint correction on a classic car can bring many challenges. The F40’s next challenge is the fact that, unlike modern cars, the F40’s paint is ‘single stage’ meaning when painted the colour and the clear lacquer are painted in one layer as a mix. This is different to a modern car in which there are three layers –  primer, colour and then clear lacquer. This means that every time you polish single stage paint you are directly removing the paint. Once it’s off, it’s off. On cars like this, the more original paintwork that is present, the higher the value of the car, so there is no room for error.

So, how do we tackle a car with so many challenges? Tape is one of the ways we can minimise risk, although even this requires special techniques. For the F40 we double back taped to ensure minimal tack of the tape so that, when removed, it has a lower risk of pulling the already damaged paint off with it. This also allows us to make sure the sticky bit of the tape is away from the edge we are trying to protect. This means we can safely polish areas located right next to high-risk areas without ever touching them with the abrasive pad and polishing combination.

It wasn’t just the paintwork that saw improvements, over the years the badge had built up a mixture of pink residue, likely a mix of polish and paint which was stuck inside the prancing horse on the front! A steady hand and a toothpick took care of the little details so the badge could sit proudly on the front of the freshly polished F40.

As you can see from the after shots, the hours of meticulous work created a truly incredible finish, fit for one of the most famous cars in history.

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