This very exclusive 2014 Lotus Exige LF1 belongs to a couple for whom we\’ve treated numerous cars over the years. They were once real sceptics about the value of paint protection, having only experienced the poor value and poor quality dealership offerings. Since our services were recommended to them some years ago, we’ve applied effective paint protection to all their new cars.
Sat here in the iconic black and gold colours Lotus raced in during the 70s and 80s, the LF1 takes the regular Exige S with it’s supercharged V6 engine, then enhances it with the special paint job, lightweight cast gold wheels, super sticky Pirelli P-Zero Trofeo tyres and an interior trimmed uniquely for this run. Indeed there will only be 81 cars made, each one commemorating a Grand Prix win during Lotus’ racing career. This car is no. 81, and the plaque shows it as representing the 2013 win in Australia by Kimi Raikkonen. As is befitting of a car with such high performance credentials and racing heritage, this will be a regular participant at trackdays up and down the country, with the odd European jaunt thrown in as well. So the purpose of bringing it to us was to address some obvious defects that distract you from the amazing ‘Motorsport Black’ paintwork, and add some vital protection to allow easy removal of grime and tyre rubber after an event.
The car was pretty grubby upon arrival, weather hadn\’t been the best and the owners were keen to get some miles completed prior to the running in service being completed later in the week, and a track day shortly afterwards. It was given a good wash, dried carefully including blowing water out from all the panel gaps and other spots water gets trapped in, then moved inside to inspect closer and mask up.
Once under the light it was obvious the entire car was covered in fairly substantial swirls and marring, really robbing the paint of it’s true depth and gloss. There were some particular issues of concern, underneath the fuel filler cap looked terrible (and that damage was clearly visible without the light, it could be seen outside when filthy dirty!). There were some strange marks on the front clam too (not pictured), that had they been left would have detracted from the final finish too. Quite annoyingly, although fairly typical of dealer prep, there was chalky polish residue that had been scrubbed into the unpainted plastic trim around the glass engine cover. This material has a grainy texture to it, so removal of the residue would have to be done carefully so as not to negatively affect the finish of the plastic.
The car needed to be finished in one day, and because the products chosen to protect the car were from the GTechniq range, it meant we had to get the coatings on that evening to allow plenty of curing time.
In essence, the whole car was corrected using the excellent Rupes Bigfoot polisher, together with a variety of polishes. Once the appropriate finish was achieved, a thorough wipe down was carried out with a silicon removing solvent to ensure a completely clean surface for the GTechniq C1 coating to adhere to. Under the same light, the paint looked infinitely deep, the amazing gloss appearing as though it might even be ‘sticky’ if you\’d touched it. The rich colours of the Xirallic particles really stood out, in reality what is only a fraction of a millimetre\’s depth appearing as though it was deep enough to disappear into. The warm ambient temperature meant we could work on into the evening, applying the various GTechniq coatings to paint, glass wheels and trim.
When it was finally finished late that evening, the car looked spectacular. We’d promised a picture or two to our clients before it was put away for the night. Given that it was pitch black outside, we took the opportunity to take a couple of pictures of the car using a method called ‘light painting’ and captured a some interesting images to send to the clients straight away.
First thing, after a final dust down, there was time to grab some more images of the finished result.