After 10 years of ownership, our client contacted us to arrange an extensive correction and refurbishment for his Audi RS4. Bought brand new in 2006, this rapid Audi has wanted for nothing in terms of it’s mechanical care. Boasting a full main dealer history, it also has some well chosen upgrades, such as the Miltek exhaust and MRC remap. However, nearly 83000 miles had somewhat taken its toll on the cosmetic aspects of the car. With its sale pending, a course of restoration was decided.
When the Audi RS4 B7 model was launched in 2005, it was met with rave reviews. Evo magazine summed it up like this; ‘Compared to the original model, it feels incredibly responsive, supremely controlled and also has a capacity for interaction and entertainment that its predecessor couldn’t muster. All in all, it’s pretty damn superb.’
After popping in to see us to review what was needed for the leather refurbishment, a major correction detail was agreed. In addition to the leather refurbishment, and paint correction necessary to put life back into the Phantom Black bodywork, the wheels would also be completely refurbished too.
As always, the car needed to be completely cleaned before anything else could be done. The car lives outside, under trees, and this was evident in the state of the door shuts and engine bay.
It took nearly a whole day of scrubbing, rinsing and teasing dirt out of all the corners, shuts and gaps. The paintwork was straight forward to wash, then decontaminate with clay and solvents. This removed the build up of road tar from the lower bodywork, and other environmental contaminants from the upper surfaces.
The owner pointed out that the nearside rear door had been repaired following some vandalism, and perhaps the finish wasn’t as good as it could be. With the car now clean, this repaired area stood out like a sore thumb.
This was of course an immediate concern, mainly that such a shockingly bad finish had been handed back like this. Even worse considering it was carried out by a main Audi dealership, whom have no excuse for commissioning such a poor standard of work.
Once inside the Studio, and viewed from a different angle, the repair looked even worse! Given that it couldn\’t be left like this, the options were to either try and recover the finish through polishing, or have it repainted. So knowing there was nothing to loose, some very careful polishing was carried out and a huge improvement was achieved.
The finish wasn’t 100% perfect, but looked very good and meant avoiding the expense and trouble of painting the door.
The whole exterior of the car was dull, covered in coarse and sometimes scratches. Audi paint is known to be incredibly hard, and this was no exception. The benefit is that when it comes to machine polishing, you can make steady, controllable progress whilst correcting the paint. Approx 35 hours went into machine polishing the paintwork on this car.
The bonnet was particularly badly marked, from looked like impacts from flying debris and attempts to remove bird droppings. As a result, the best way forward was to wet sand the whole bonnet to ‘re-level’ the paint surface. This smooths those deeper scratches out, and removes the lighter ones altogether. The picture below was taken during that process.
Once the sanding stage was completed, the paint was carefully polished back to a beautiful, deep gloss. This is a time consuming process, this panel alone took around 7 hours.
Whilst working on the paint, other areas were getting specialist attention too. The wheels had been removed and sent to be refurbished. This involved chemically stripping each wheel, removing all the old paint and dirt in the process. Then media blasting is used to remove any corrosion, and damage to the wheel rim from kerbing is fixed too. 2 wheels were found to have small cracks to the inner edges, so the wheels were first straightened to remove the buckling (caused by the impact that cracked the wheel), then the cracks welded. Finally, the wheel is refinished in the original Audi colour using a powdercoat process. The result is wheels that look brand new, free from any damage or corrosion. They were sealed prior to fitting to the car with Williams Ceramic Coat.
The last major area of the car to address was the interior. All the leather was first given a major deep clean to remove any dirt ingrained in the surface. The front seats, driver\’s side particularly, were showing wear to the base and bolsters. This is completely normal on a car of this age and mileage, particularly with sports seats that have more prominent bolsters.
Once the surface of the front seats had been fully prepared – cleaned, sanded and degreased – the correct colour pigment was mixed to perfectly match the original colour, before being carefully applied. This is a simplified version of the process, but as with anything, the surface preparation was vital to ensure the right finish.
When leather is refurbished properly, it should still feel like leather. Once finished, the seats in this Audi RS4 felt soft and supple, exactly as they were when new, just how it should be.
I\’ve seen many examples of refurbished seats that look and feel like cheap plastic, where far too much pigment has been applied. This leaves the surface of the leather hard and shiny, horrid to touch. The excessive pigment layer won\’t have any flexibility, will crack quickly and the repair will then have failed prematurely.
Finally, after another wash and the last stage of polishing to refine the finish, Williams Ceramic Coat was applied to the exterior of the car to offer a long term protective solution.
If you are interested in having a similar treatment carried out on your car, please get in touch with us by clicking here.