Alright Pals and Palamenos, you’re in lockdown and probably fed up with all the Espresso Quarantinis you’ve been having and need something different to do. Well throw on your finest old clothes (or at least get dressed in case the postman passes), cause we’re about to learn you some things.
No we’re not telling you how we do what we do, that’s our thing and it’s a secret. Instead, we’ll teach you how to make your classic car look as good as we make ours. I know right? Exciting.
Sadly we’re not getting paid for endorsing any products, but that just means we’ll tell you the right things to order on the line. So you’re the only real winner here… I’m still waiting on Lyons Tea to send us a box of tea bags, or even just one tea bag… LOOK WHAT WE’VE DONE FOR THE LYONS NAME!
Sorry, I got distracted. Anyway, where were we… Inside, that’s where we are.
Right, classic cars, clean, shiny – here we go. As big a fan of a tan that I am (God damn I’m good at poetry), don’t put your car in the sunlight for any of this. Don’t be awkward and take that literally by cleaning your car at midnight, you actually want to be able to enjoy the shine. And don’t take your car to an automatic car wash at a petrol station, those are beyond useless. They scratch half and leave the other half still dirty! If you really want to throw away the ten or twelve euro that they usually cost, our address is at the bottom of the page.
This is in danger of turning into a list of don’ts, but try not to use a power washer either, if you flake off some paint your car will look terrible, it’ll start to rust, and you’ll come crying to us (with a big bag of money) asking us to fix it. Nobody wants that (we do, but you don’t).
You need: a hose, water to go through the hose, two buckets, a microfiber cloth or special car wash glove thingy, a super sudsy car shampoo (you can do the whole snow foam thing if you’re into that, but that’s just for photos), aaaaand… that’s probably it. Look, I’ll throw a shopping list for you down below, and if you want a Lyons Garages sticker for your car just let us know!
Wet car. Fill up two buckets with warm water and sudsy bubbles. Wash from the top down because gravity, obviously. Use a brush or different cloth for the wheels. Wheel cleaner is quite harsh, so be careful using it. Rinse the car down, get the second bucket and a new cloth or mitt… And we go again! Why? Because you probably missed a bit and we don’t want to use the dirty gritty bucket again. And it’s good for your bingo wings. Rinse it off, and be careful of around the windows, vents and grills, they’re old cars and you’ll end up wetting the inside. If you’ve a convertible, you shouldn’t need to be told to watch out for leaks! Also, clean your wheels last.
Air drying is fine, but we use a microfiber cloth to gently get rid of the water drops. “Why microfiber cloths I hear you shout” at your laptop. Well they were on offer so why not? No, in sciencey terms, it draws any and all grit away from the body, whereas a sponge would just drag any dust or grit along the paint. Das bad.
If you feel a bit of grit on the surface of the paintwork it probably needs to be addressed. But not like the insane sanding and polishing we do after spraying a car, we just need a nice gentle polish either by hand or you can use a dual action machine polisher with a very soft foam head and set to a slow speed. But, think of the guns you’ll get if you do it by hand. Mr Miyagi taught wax on wax off by hand for a reason. Clay bars are also handy, but it’s a slow process and you’ll need a detailing lubricant too.
Don’t confuse polish and waxing, waxing should be done after every wash, but no matter how smooth the cream looks, polishing does not need to be done that often as it softens the paint/lacquer. Das bad. Use a little foam applicator and rub rub rub away! Then once your arms are sufficiently sore, get a microfiber cloth and buff it all off.
Waxing, uses the exact same method. Apply, let it dry ever so slightly and buff it all off. Rub lightly and quickly, and the hazy dullness will shine!
Next you’ve gotta make the chrome as shiny. Zero point in having all that chrome if it doesn’t attract the magpies to be honest. You can read the instructions, or just get a cloth and rub it into the metal until it disappears and you can see your ugly mug. That wouldn’t happen for me, I’m pretty decent looking. Just FYI.
Dress your tyres! They no like being in the nip, and rubber looks better when it’s glossy. You can use the same stuff for all the rubbers and seals around your car. Clean the glass last, because you’ve probably put some polish or wax on there, so spray it onto the cloth first and then clean. If you spray it onto the glass you’ll just miss and spray some on your waxed paintwork… say it with me now, das bad.
For soft tops we use a selection of Renovo products. There’s a cleaner, a colour restorer, and a sealant to give you that lovely water bead effect. There’s different ones for mohair and vinyl, but it’s some good stuff.
Roysh, so now you’ve got a car that you can show off. But you still have a filthy engine bay and dirty interior so you should probably do something about that. But you can’t go anywhere anyway, so you’ve got plenty of time! If you’re doing the inside, clean before using any polish, you shouldn’t have to be told.
Things we use:
You'll figure out what works best through testing them out for yourself, but this is what we like at the mo.
- Microfiber cloths. Don’t be afraid to use a lot of these.
- Meguairs Gold Class Shampoo and Conditioner
- Meguairs Gold Class Wax (the smell is phenomenal)
- AutoGlym Instant Tire Dressing or High Performance Tyre Gel / Meguairs Endurance High Gloss Gel (wear a glove)
- Meguairs NXT all metal polish
- Glass is glass, so even a Mr Muscle window and glass cleaner is perfect
- Water. Bottled Ballygowan if you can afford it.
- Coffee – usually Nespresso, the Milano one. But now that the weather is nice we’ve moved onto Dalgano iced coffees.
- Sun tan lotion – no no, olive oil. Some lemon juice then for natural highlights.