Porsche 911 GT3 RS ceramic coating and PPF installation

A new client, a referral from the chaps at Petrolhead Tours, contacted us about his new Porsche 911 GT3 RS ceramic coating and PPF installation. Of course, we were delighted to be asked, and made arrangements with one of our transport partners for the car to be delivered directly to us in a covered trailer, from Dick Lovett Porsche in Wiltshire.

Having been told that the car was Lizard Green we were expecting it to be bright, but when the trailer was opened it was still quite a shock!

It is an amazing colour, it simply glows like some sort of radioactive isotope. We carefully unloaded the car, made much easier thanks to the front end ‘lift kit’ that raises the car on it’s suspension by a couple of inches, and prepared to get it cleaned.

We are always thorough with our induction process when a car arrives, but even more so when the owner isn’t present. This car had spent a little time at the dealership prior to it coming to us, but they had respected our client’s instructions not to touch it before delivery. We weren’t surprised to see the usual fine layer of dirt on the car, but more of a surprise was the amount of sand everywhere. After some investigation, it would appear that the unusual weather conditions that have led to 2018 being a super hot summer in the UK hadn’t ignored the continent either. Whilst waiting to be loaded at the dock, a large storm containing Saharan sand had dumped its contents on many vehicles awaiting export, damaging some rather badly. So whilst it meant we took some extra care during our wash process, our client’s car got away with that unscathed.

One thing that was spotted by our transporter, prior to loading the car into the trailer, was a small dent on the passenger door. We had no idea where it happened, but with no damage to the paint it was an easy fix for our PDR (paintless dent repair) expert to address a few days later. It was 100% removed, leaving no trace it ever existed. There is a good chance that most people would have missed this minor dent, but this is exactly why we don’t use ‘most people’. The partners we choose to work with share the same obsessive eye for detail as us.

To ensure any sandy deposits were removed without scratching paint or trim, we used our award winning Essential Soak Snow Foam several times, rinsing in between, to carry it safely away. Once satisfied, the car was washed gently using our preferred merino lambswool mitt. Click on the link to go to our shop where you can read more about Essential Soak.

With the car clean, it was moved inside for closer paint inspection and to carry out whatever defect correction was necessary before the ceramic coating and PPF stages.

Once under the scrutiny of our lighting, it was clear that the paint needed extensive defect removal before anything else could be done. Straight colours, i.e. non-metallic (sometimes called flat paint, and not to be confused with matt or satin), show every little mark, whereas metallic paint can sometimes hide the true extent of problems. Throughout the car, we found small patches of un-polished sanding marks, areas of buffer trails where it had been machine polished but not finished properly. Whilst a little disappointing to find on a car of this value, it is not at all unusual, and all can be rectified. After masking off unpainted trim we set about removing the defects using a multi stage machine polishing process.

We start with a coarse cutting compound and machine pad, working our way down to a mildly abrasive refining polish, generating the highest amount of gloss possible. This is a labour intensive process, and with this car took nearly 2 days to complete.

Only once the paint was in perfect condition could we move on to the next stage, installation of the Llumar paint protection film (PPF). Auto Curators are a manufacturer trained and approved installation centre for the Llumar PPF products, and as such, have access to the huge library of specially designed template database. Patterns are made for each individual model, and the database is expanding all the time. We use our state of the art Graphtec FC8600 plotter to accurately cut out the patterns, helping us to achieve the best possible installation. Below is an example of the patterns being arranged onto the virtual cutting table, before being sent to the plotter to cut. This represents the bonnet, A-pillars, fuel filler cap and wing mirrors.

The PPF is installed on to a wet surface, using a special slip solution. Once in place, the fluid is forced out using a squeegee, allowing the film to stick to the paint surface. The time lapse videos below show the installation to the bonnet and a wing. We talk about installing film, not applying it, because it isn’t as simple as just laying the cut film onto the panel. You are taking a 2D piece of material and making it fit onto a 3D shape, there is often a lot of careful stretching and manipulation to make this happen. It is often a lengthy process, hence why timelapse photography is best suited to demonstrating this sort of work.

We choose to use Llumar PPF because of it’s consistently excellent quality. Manufactured in their own facility in Virginia, USA, Platinum is their flagship product. Once installed, it is very difficult to tell there is even film present. Unlike most paint protection films, Platinum has its own hydrophobic properties, repelling water and dirt much better than ever before. This means it is much easier to live with than other film brands. The self healing is the most magical part though. Scratches on the surface of the film will correct themselves, with the process being sped up with heat. Demonstrating to clients by first attacking the film with a metal tooth brush, then using a hair drier to make the scratches magically disappear is always a novelty!

This installation was what we call an ‘extended full front end’. In this instance we installed Llumar Platinum film to the bumper, bonnet, wings, wing mirrors, A-pillars, sills and lower rear quarters (replacing the original shark fin shaped piece) and rear splash guards (behind rear wheels where the bumper is vulnerable to road rash from stones off the tyres). The install took a full day to complete.

As with all our New Car Detail services, the interior received protection products on the mats, carpets and seats. All the exposed paintwork not wearing PPF was protected using our amazing 2 part Signature Ceramic Coating. Combined with the polishing, this really brought the very best of the Lizard Green colour out, imparting an amazing rich, deep gloss and fabulous clarity to the paint. This car will be used as Weissach intended, and will make appearances on Petrolhead Tours events where the client’s diary allows.

We took immense pleasure working on this amazing car. The GT3 RS is an iconic Porsche, packed full of features and improvements over the already hugely acclaimed first generation 991 RS model, an engineers masterpiece, if you will. To our eyes, aesthetically, it is one of the most dramatic cars we’ve worked on, full of menace and attitude, yet still clearly the related to the first beautiful and delicately proportioned 911 of the 1970’s. We hope you enjoy it as much as us.

If you’re interested in having something similar carried out on your car, please get in touch using our contact form, click here.

If you would like to read more about Petrolhead Tours and the amazing events they run, please click here. Auto Curators customers enjoy preferential rates when booking a tour, so get in touch with them to book an adventure.

By a great co-incidence, as we were photographing this car and preparing to have it transported back to our client, another car arrived that is having some work done. A rather special 2004 996 Carrera 4S that has recently undergone a CSR conversion at Porsche specialist, RPM Technik The 996 was the first watercooled 911, so it seemed only fitting to grab a picture in the early evening sunshine with the very latest example.