This beautiful Laguna Seca Blue M3 came to me very unexpectedly. To be honest I have not seen this color for years, what's so funny to is after working on this car I all of a sudden see 2 of them on the road. Anyway the owner contacted me and said he had an e46 he wanted me to polish, that's all the description I had of the car... an e46. I assumed it was a 328i or something because usually most M3 owners are somewhat proud to tell me they have an M3 they want me to work on.
So the owner just purchased the car took delivery and wanted to bring it to me right away to look at which was on a Friday but things didn't work out that day. He ended up coming on the Sunday though while I was working on the interior of another car. It just so happened that while I was cleaning the back seats of said car the M3 turned the corner... I had to take a double look as I couldn't believe my eyes.... what a beautiful color definitely what I was not expecting! The best e46 M3 color to me period.
Anyway thanks for bearing with my two paragraph intro if you even read it, now let's get into the write up.
Here she is. Starting off with the usual walk around.
Honestly the paint was trashed.
My washing routine is always to start with the wheels and engine. Reason being when washing either it is almost impossible to not end up with some sort of splatter on the paint from cleaning either. If I had a clean washed car and then had to clean the engine the splatter would end up everywhere and I would have to wash the car all over again.
Started with the wheels and had a new wheel cleaner to try out which was Autoglym Custom Wheel Cleaner. It is non acidic as well and the instructions say they are safe for any wheel adonized, aluminum, etc.
One thing I really like about this cleaner is it's ability to pull dirt from the tires. No other wheel cleaner I have used pulls dirt off the tire like this.
Cleaned the inner barrel with my EZ Brush.
Rim face with a microfibre cloth.
And the caliper and other small areas like the lug nuts with my Race Glaze Brush.
While I was down there I cleaned the exhaust as well with 0000 steel wool and Chemical Guys Grime Reaper.
In a backwards order.
And how they looked before.
Cleaned up the engine with Optimum Power Clean cut 50/50 with water, dressed it with Meguairs Hyper Dressing cut 25/75 with water, and blew dry the engine with my Metro Vac n Blo. Then let the engine run for about 10 min.
On to the washing stage I prefoamed the car with Hi Temp Prep Wash which is meant to strip off any silicones on the paint.
Let it dwell for a little bit.
Then washed the car using the 2 bucket method and a Natural Sea Sponge.
Rinsing out the sponge after every panel or half a panel, and saving the lower section of the car for last.
Dried the car with 2 waffle weave towels.
Took it in to clay, and Ricarddo Yellow Clay was used. Meguairs Last Touch cut 15/85 water was my lube.
The paint was filthy.
After claying took measurements of the paint and found a few spots repainted and blended in.
The hood was definitely repainted.
Here is an example of blending in and just painting a section.
The front of the roof.
The back of the roof.
In scenarios like this I have to be careful because I don't want to thin out the clear coat to much where they blended in the paint.
After measuring the paint and taking note of where to be careful I masked up the trim.
The emblems etc had been repainted satin black. Not sure if it was the front grill or sides but I definitely knew the back M3 emblem was repainted so I used a sensitive tape.
Now onto the polishing. I have to say that this paint is fairly soft and in general I find solid colors to generally be soft so that would explain a bit of why it was so trashed. That coupled with bad washing technique and a beautiful color is easily mistreated.
I tried to not be so aggressive but had no choice but to bring out the big guns. It took multiple hits of M105 and in some areas Power Gloss(pos100) the Euro version with my orange Lake Counrty 5inch pad from Detailers Domain that they used to stock.
As usual they Zenith Point Technique was used so that I could finish down the compounds as nicely as possible.
I also have to mention that there were quite a few deeper scratches and all in all on a scale of 1 to 10, the car came to me as a 1 and after I was done with it I would say it was about a 9. I could have gotten it to a 9.5 maybe even a 9.8 if it wasn't for the deeper stuff.
The before and afters.
And a 50/50 shot. Look at the clarity lost by the swirls and how dull it makes the paint look.
After the compounding things can get fairly dusty and I prefer to wash the car because M105 is a non diminishing abrasive and I would like to have a completely clean surface to jewel.
Foamed the car with Prep Wash to clean off the polishing lubricants.
And 2 bucket method washed the car.
Dried off the car. And took it into jewel the paint.
I have to say I am so happy that nowadays compounds can finish so well at times and that I can go straight in to jeweling with out a middle step. On the other hand had I used a wool pad I think I would definitely needed that middle step.
Anyway here is a shot of me jeweling the paint with PO85rd and a 5.5 inch white Lake Country Pad.
And the results of my work.
After the jeweling I unmasked the car.
Wiped up some polish build up.
Then cleaned off the polishing oils from the paint with ipa(rubbing alcohol) cut 50/50 with water and a Pak Shak microfibre cloth.
Checked over my work with my Sun Gun.
Then waxed the car with Swissvax Concorso.
In the mean time while the wax was curing I cleaned the windows with my Glass Master Pro which is a huge life saver since I hate cleaning windows, dressed the tires with BlackFire Long Lasting Tire Gel which was applied then wiped off later, and quickly polished the exhaust with Meguiars NXT Metal Polish.
And now here are the afters.
First off some sun shots on the paint.
I thought this pic looked pretty cool with the fence's shadow on the paint.
I'll be the first to admit that the paint is not perfect but it is still a huge improvement from how it first came to me.
Now pics of the car.
There really is no point to this shot but I love the composition.
I really love the way the sun was shining on my house and reflecting off the paint.
This reflection is so beautiful.
I forgot to mention I wetsanded and polished the headlights. I couldn't get them swirl free but just improve them. I suspect someone used the 3M headlight kit and just went to town with 400 grit paper which in my opinion is to much, that or they were just extremely trashed.
And another shot that serves no purpose other then I just like how it looks.
Finally my last 3 favorite pics.
Thanks for reading and looking through. Hope you enjoyed it and please forgive me if I can't respond right away to all the comments as things are fairly busy over here.