We are delighted to share with you this McLaren 675LT New Car Detail, with full coverage paint protection film. We were excited when we learned last year that our client had ordered this spectacular, limited edition model to add to his collection. ‘LT’ stands for LongTail, and is inspired by the 1997 McLaren F1 GTR LongTail car that won Le Mans, and just 500 examples will be made worldwide.
Compared to the 650S on which the car is based, the 675LT is 100kg lighter (just 1230kg dry), power from the twin turbo V8 is up to 666bhp, and thanks to the completely flat underside and other aerodynamic tricks it can generate 40% more downforce. It is full of innovations and design pieces that underline McLaren’s engineering background. For example, the titanium exhaust system uses a cross over to achieve the perfect length of exhaust in a small amount of space. The left bank of cylinders exit from the right exhaust, and vice versa, giving the best solution for performance and sound. The glass is just 1mm thinner than a 650S, but that alone saves 3kg of mass. A lot of the bodywork is made from carbon fibre, saving weight whilst maintaining strength, carbon ceramic brakes and forged magnesium wheels reduce that all important unsprung mass. The LongTail rear wing is adjustable, acting to improve aerodynamics, and even as an air brake under heavy braking conditions.
Having previously owned McLaren’s, our client knew that the factory paint finish was going to need attention to bring it up to the best standard possible. Given the car’s emphasis on performance and handling, it will get used on track. There is no coating that can be applied that will protect against impacts from stones or other hard objects, the only answer is paint protection film (PPF). So given the relatively fragile nature of McLaren paint, it was decided the best way forward, once the paint was detailed to perfection, was to cover the entire car in PPF.
Upon arrival on a beautifully sunny day, we were not surprised to see the car covered in holograms. Appearing as patterns that seem to ‘hover’ above the paint surface when viewed in direct light, they really spoiled the finish. Even inside the Studio, polishing marks were visible as dull areas on the bonnet and roof. Holograms are the result of poor polishing technique. It might be that too coarse a polish was used in the final post-paint prep and not followed with anything to refine the finish, or simply that the car was polished too quickly, not giving the abrasives contained with the polish time to break down.
It was also noticeable that every panel gap was packed with dried polish compound, which had also found its way onto numerous pieces of exterior trim too. You’d not be too pleased to find all this on a £10k Ford Focus, let alone a hand built super car worth more than a quarter of a million pounds.
Washed, decontaminated and de-compounded, the satin finished carbon fibre and unpainted trim was masked to protect it during the polishing process. Under the lights, the defects were again clearly visible. Non-metallic paint, known as a straight colour, is very unforgiving to polish. This Chicane Grey shade was chosen as the launch colour for the McLaren 675LT, and can look spectacular when prepared correctly. So over the following couple of days, every inch of the paint was carefully polished, correcting the defects and imparting the true glossy finish it was capable of.
There were a number of areas that showed sanding marks, sometimes known as ‘pigtails’ because of their curly shape, left by a dual action sander used in the production process. The trailing edge of the roof, A pillars and and areas of the rear bumper were particularly badly affected. There is no excuse for this to have been left this way, it’s poor quality control and was clearly visible without needing any specialist equipment.
The polished areas are obvious, the colour appearing richer and darker, with clarity in the reflection. Once the correction was finished, the paint was thoroughly wiped down with alcohol and checked repeatedly to ensure nothing was missed.
The super light weight, forged magnesium wheels were removed and coated with Williams Ceramic Coat, compatible with their satin finish paint. Whilst off, the brake calipers were also coated. The carbon ceramic brakes fitted to this car will actually produce very little dirt compared to a traditional brake set up, but the wheels and brakes are still susceptible to a build up of road grime like anything else.
At the same time as the McLaren being with us, another customer had dropped off his Audi RS6 for some work, the first thing to do was have the wheels refurbished. The difference between the weight of the wheels on the two cars is staggering 20 inch Audi wheels are back breakingly heavy! The attention to reducing mass on this model of McLaren is fascinating, the wheel bolts themselves are titanium, with the name etched onto the collar. Holding a standard Audi wheel bolt in the other hand, the difference in weight was immediately obvious. Absolute works of art.
Now it was time to have the previously mentioned PPF applied to the entire exterior. Using a combination of Xpel and Suntek films, these offer a barrier against most things the car is likely to encounter on a regular basis, apart from major impacts of course. Even then, we have seen vehicles that have been lightly scuffed by another vehicle, with the damage limited entirely to the film. Providing the film surface isn’t pierced, the ‘self healing’ properties of the film mean that light scratches, swirl marks and marring are all but a thing of the past. Whilst not impenetrable, the film offers genuine protection against stone chips, and other flying debris. Every car can benefit from that, but cars like this with wide, sticky tyres, and a shape that means the rear quarter panels and sills are extra vulnerable to gravel rash are particularly well suited to this treatment.
Film technology has come on in leaps and bounds over the last 10 years. It used to be thick, dull and opaque, would go yellow over time and perhaps worst of all have a ripply ‘orange peel’ finish to the surface. But that has all changed, and thanks to the film containing actual clear coat, it has a beautiful gloss finish that should stand up to close scrutiny. This means that if you were to choose to just have the front end covered in film, for example, it wouldn’t end up looking significantly different to the rest of the car.
If you’re interested in having film applied to your new car, please get in touch. Most of the time it can be done at our Studio, meaning a true one stop solution. For logistical reasons, the McLaren was done off site. Upon collecting the McLaren, our client was delighted, and is now free to enjoy his new toy safe in the knowledge it will stay looking like this.