Professional Vehicle Detailing – Classic Versus Modern

We’ve been offering professional vehicle detailing services from our Hampshire studio for many years. And over that time, we’ve been fortunate to have many precious cars through our doors: some beautiful old classics, amazing supercars and some daily drivers. One thing is for sure; whatever vehicle you leave with us, we will lavish with care. But, in today’s article, we thought we’d share some thoughts on detailing services for classic versus modern cars.

Professional Vehicle Detailing – Classic Versus Modern:

Professional detailing services based in Hampshire. Classic cars versus modern cars

As many of you know, Paul’s been offering professional vehicle detailing for many years. While he now works mainly at our Hampshire studios, over the years, he’s travelled far and wide. Offering services within Europe and performing his craft on many vehicle types (including the occasional boat or plane).

The oldest car he had the privilege to work on was a 1927 Bentley Blower. If you haven’t seen one, you might not appreciate what a huge thing it is, given that it’s a strict 2 seater! It was a car with genuine racing heritage, complete with scars to prove it.

Classics Versus Modern at our Hampshire Studio:

These days, classic cars make up a fairly small percentage of our workload. That said, when the classic car market is buoyant, we tend to see more coming to us.

When we have classic visitors, the professional vehicle detailing services that owners request is generally about beautification or protection. The former request applies to those that have gone through some degree of restorative work over the years. The latter, when true originality it highly cherished. In these cases, owners want to maintain the paint’s patina, keeping it ‘as is’.


As an example, one client asked us to help preserve his 1964 Ferrari 275 GTB/4 that had won its unrestored class in America at the most prestigious of Concours d’Elegance events, Pebble Beach.


At the other end of the scale, I was invited to put the finishing touches on a 1960 Jaguar XK-150 S Fixed Head Coupe. It had undergone one of the most thorough nuts and bolt restorations in America that I have ever seen. The owner was L Ron Hubbard, famous as the man who established the Church of Scientology. The car was widely thought to have been lost, but restoration was underway in time for a big anniversary for the church, and a huge unveiling at Saint Hill Manor, near East Grinstead. I was one of only 7 people in the world that new the true identity of the car and was sworn to absolute secrecy before the event. They wanted that car to be utter perfection, so many hours went into putting the icing onto that particular cake!

No matter what professional vehicle detailing services a classic car owner requests, there is always a common thread. It’s fair to say that a classic car tends to have more meaning to its owner. They are not easily replaceable and often have a story attached or sentimental value. This then influences what they want from a detail. Some are reliving their youth, buying cars they wanted many years ago, and want them to look their very best. Others want to preserve a memory, or an asset, that might have been passed from one generation to another. It would be very rare to be asked to keep the swirls and scratches they tell a story; by a modern Supercar owner!

Paint Protection Film – A Popular Service:

PPF is a much-requested professional vehicle detailing service. So much so that we’ve created a website dedicated to it (find it HERE). But while this service is popular with owners of newer cars, we don’t do many PPF installations to classics. Firstly, it would nearly always be a bespoke install. The hugely comprehensive Xpel database does have some patterns for late 80’s Ferrari’s and Porsche’s. That said, these patterns are fairly basic with minimal coverage. Secondly, a classic car owner tends to use their vehicle on sunny Sundays, or for a countryside drive, rather than commuting to work at speed, on the M4 each morning (where PPF truly comes into its own)!

Classic Shapes and Modern Classics:

The shape of many classic cars means to install PPF successfully; there will be more visible seams and likely a fair bit of disassembly to reduce these as much as possible. The more involved it gets, the more expensive it gets, and the risk vs reward isn’t necessarily great value for our customer. However, if you’re a classic car owner and keen on PPF, do contact us; we may be able to help.

Of course, these days, more cars from the ‘90s are adopting classic status, for example, the Honda NSX. As this happens, the ease of installing PPF will no doubt lead to an increase in customer requests.

One of the more unusual PPF installations we’ve completed at our Hampshire studio was the newly painted wheel wells of ‘Eva the E Type’ (follow Eva on Instagram). Eva’s owner, Russell, was keen to protect the beautiful new paint after its respray saving him the worry of doing a few miles in the car. It was no easy task, and our Studio looked like an arts and crafts centre! We carefully created a template and mock-up for each piece using craft paper before transferring that to PPF and installing it. It took a week for my back to recover from that job!

Working with Professional Third-Parties:

Whatever professional vehicle detailing services we might be providing, we have a little black book of experts we can call upon for third-party services.

This is especially important when it comes to classic cars. Nothing beats expert knowledge and understanding of the use of materials and classic care construction. Therefore, we have a great relationship with a body shop that specialises in classic car restoration. They offer skilful fabrication and panel beating, and we are always in awe of their painting prowess.

We work with an amazing leather restorer, which is vital because a classic car’s interior adds so much more to the overall appeal than a modern car.

And finally, a less considered aspect is the wheels. We have helped deal with issues surrounding magnesium Ferrari wheels that other people couldn’t understand. They were trying to refurbish them using modern methods, but the new finish would fail very quickly. By using a magnesium specialist we know, we were able to safely and fully restore the wheels to an ‘as new’ condition, making sure they were safe and airtight at the same time (magnesium wheels can become porous).

One of the more complicated wheel restorations we managed at our Hampshire studio involved a set of 3 piece rims from a 1975 Lancia Stratos. They had a magnesium centre in the body colour of the car. They then had a brushed aluminium deeply dished barrel with a highly polished outer lip. All held together with stainless steel fasteners and special gaskets. The process was complicated, and the end cost was over £4000, but they were absolutely faithful to the original finish and safe to use.

If you’re looking for professional vehicle detailing services for your classic or modern car, get in touch. We’re based close to Basingstoke in North Hampshire.