Project True Blue: Detailing Duties

photos by: the author

Our 2001 Mustang GT Finally Gets a Good Scrubbing!

In recent months, you may have heard about our project New Edge GT, that we lovingly call, True Blue, thanks to it’s somewhat rare paint hue. Having been acquired in rural Indiana for chump change and only needing a new battery, a tuneup and a brake job, we’re finally hitting the pavement with this car, but not before we give her a proper outside detailing.

In case you’re just catching up, we basically found this car on Craigslist after the previous owner had run out of patience, time and funds on its general upkeep, and the few repairs that it needed. That included the paintwork, as it had simply sat in their driveway for over two years in the elements until we discovered it.

The factory metallic paint almost looks like’s matte, and there are a few spots that are beyond a wash and wax — they’ll need resprayed — as the clear coat is peeling away. We’ll have to address that another time, but for now, we just want to get this car more presentable for events and even the daily grind.

Despite being a little dirty, this was shot only two days after we had run it through the car wash — there was simply no wax left at all on the car, and as a result, very little luster. In this shot, you can spot the extremely faded hood scoop, peeling clearcoat on the hood and above the windshield, and the front bumper. We’ll address these issues in an upcoming story, but for now, let’s do what we can!

 

Even from the rear angle, you can see how there’s little to no shine.

In the four photos below, there are obvious cosmetic issues that goes far beyond what a detailing would fix, and those are issues that you’ll see resolved in a future update. For now, we just want to bring back the original shine, and eliminate the 19 years worth of sun damage and funk that has riddled our Mustang’s paint as it sat outside in the elements.

As you’re well aware, there are tons of cleaning and detailing products on store shelves just about anywhere you look. You can find some of the bigger name products at your local parts store, department store or even your pharmacy. However, we wanted to try something a little different, and a little bit out of the norm.

We had recently heard about Leno’s Garage, a brand new product line created by the King Car Man himself, Jay Leno. Having become famous, not only for his long-running Late Night Show, but for having one amazing car collection, Jay wanted to give us enthusiasts a new option in car care.

But he didn’t want to provide a simple car wax and be done, he wanted to offer a complete line of of products that would help you tackle everything from your paint finish, to the glass, various plastics, tires, wheels… you name it!

The Leno’s Garage Kit is available for order though the Leno’s Garage website, or though some online/mail-order retailers. You can order everything product by product, or order the Advanced Detail Kit, and get most of the things that you will need to detail you car.

Thee Advanced Kit comes with:

We ordered the kit, but also decided to go with the Glass Cleaner, Microfiber Towel and the Clay Mit — which if you use with the Quick Detailer, helps remove embedded road grit and grime from the paint finish. However, shortly between using the product line and this story going to press, that Leno’s Garage has since brought to market a solution specifically made to work with the Clay Mit, called Clay Lube. You can order it by itself, or with the mit.  At the time of our order, it was recommended that we use the Quick Detailer with the Mit. We did, and we were very happy with the results.

We also ordered the Wheel Cleaner, to eliminate the caked on brake dust and ay other crud that has attached itself to our factory Bullitt wheels since 2001. We don’t plan on keeping the stock wheels on this car forever, but for the time being, we wanted to clean them up just so the car was more presentable.

The Jay Leno’s Garage Ultimate Car Care Kit Included Quick Detailer, Tire & Trim Care, Hand Wax and Vehicle Wash. They’re packaged in neatly and professionally, with the packaging foam holding the bottles in place, keeping them from leaking, breaking or leaking. It lends a premium feel to the product and makes you feel as if you’ve purchased something really special.

 

Naturally, you always want to start with a new or clean bucket to wash your car from. It sounds like common sense, but you’d be surprised how many people I’ve watched wash two or three cars in a row, without washing or rinsing out the bucket. The grit from the car you’ve previously washed, typically will reside in the bottom of the bucket, and could scratch the paint of the next vehicle as the debris will float in the water and be absorbed in the sponge. This is just one way swirl marks form in your paint!

 

Anxious to get started, we pulled True Blue up to the water hose and began the cleansing process. Spraying down our Mustang began to reveal what kind of shape our original True Blue hue was in.

 

As everyone knowns, you start with the glass, then work your way down from the top of the car. Cars tend to have more dirt at the bottom of the vehicle, obviously, so working from the top down lends less of a probably for dragging the dirt up and flawing the paint further than what it is.

 

Despite the obvious blemishes in the paint the go beyond basic detailing, the shine almost immediately returned to what was supposed to be there.

 

Cleaning the glass was made possible with Leno’s own Glass Cleaner. It’s safe to use on all types of glass, including those that have been tinted — like those on our Mustang. It’s available in a 16-oz. spray bottled, like the one pictured here, or in a full 1-gallon jug.

 

After the glass we took aim at the various rubber and plastic trim pieces found on the car, from the window seals, to the tires. Years of aging and weathering have taken their toll on the components, and with that, comes dry rotting and failing trim pieces. Leno’s Trim and Tire care is formulated with UV protection that provides that “back to black” look.

Tire and Trim worked on both of these components, and that tied the shine in with the rest of the car. They also now offer Tire Shine for those of you who are always in a hurry, who prefer a quick spray-and-wipe process.

Like we had mentioned earlier, we utilized the Clay Mit and Quick Detailer prior to using the Liquid Wax. We wanted to remove any debris before putting on the finishing coat of protective shine. It’s a good thing we did too, but while we were using the mit, the body panels felt like sandpaper — and we’re not joking.

Being exposed to years worth of bugs, road salt, bits of gravel, tar and everything else you encounter while driving though Midwestern roads were abundantly present. The idea is, to continue using the Mit until the surface feels smooth — both by touch, and with the Mit. Once the surface feels smooth, you can then apply the Liquid Wax

True Blue is now looking great! It’s still not a perfect car, and still has plenty of cosmetic issues more significant to some dirt and fading paint. She still needs a new top, and some paint work on select areas, but at least she’s looking far more presentable than before. Considering what we paid for the car to begin with ($1300), we can’t complain.

Be sure to check back next time, as we take the aesthetics of this car even further.

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Rick Seitz

Rick Seitz is the owner and founder of AutoCentric Media, and has a true love and passion for all vehicles. When he isn’t tuning, testing, or competing with the brand’s current crop of project vehicles, he’s busy tinkering and planning the next modifications for his own cars.

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