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Bentley Restoration Project Episode 4
At Completion: Finishing Touches & Final Result!
The fourth and final blog on our Bentley Countryman restoration sees us pick up from where we left off with all the colour and lacquer applied to the many parts of the car, leaving a rather large Bentley jigsaw puzzle as pictured.
Every panel and the body of the car went through the drying cycle in the booth and are now out in the workshop, ready for flatting and polishing as necessary. This terminology refers to finishing the paintwork to the required standard and removing any imperfections.
Our technicians achieve an excellent finish from the spray gun and we have used the anti-static gun and everything in our power to avoid dirt getting into the paintwork, but this is not your standard road-going car, so we want to achieve as close to mirror finish as possible.
Our technicians start with 3M P1500 film backed discs on a Festool sander fitted to a Festool vacuum unit; they then progress to 3M Trizact 3000g & 6000g discs with a 3M soft interface pad attached to soften the surface of the abrasive as the large surface area of the panels are worked to remove any irregularities that may have occurred in the painting process. It is much easier to work the panels off the vehicle as they can be secured on to a trestle and worked face up allowing the technicians to manage the surfaces.
Once sanded with the 3M Trizact abrasive, they are then polished. We have the luxury of time on our hands, and are very keen on doing a good job, so as necessary our technicians work from coarse to fine compounds, starting with Fast Cut Plus Extreme and then using Extra Fine Plus and Ultrafina. They use a rotary polisher fitted with the correct colour coded sponge pad, for instance the Fast Cut has a green top so it is used with the green foam pad.
Not every panel is worked in all three stages, as the paintwork is excellent from the booth but we are trying to achieve a mirror finish, so the technicians use their experience and knowledge of the 3M polishing system to work each panel as required, starting with the correct grade of compound needed to achieve the desired finish.
Then we are back with our friends at Wyndon Motors, who send down an expert to fit the panels to the chassis and all the lights and trim. Before long, the car starts to take shape and is ready for the stripe to be applied to the side. This was originally painted in cream by Slim when he restored the car, but a draft of a design has been found in Slim’s original documents from when he worked at Harold Radford: there is a drawing of a dark grey car with a burgundy flash so it is decided to see how this looks. The result can be seen below.
This has received a mixed response at this stage, but it is not a major job to return the stripe to cream later on if desired. Now the car is back together, the technicians run over the paintwork using the new 3M Random Orbital Polish in conjunction with the 3M 15mm Random Orbital Polisher.
Mechanically, the vehicle has not been tinkered with too much during this restoration process - with a little bit of work, the engine is running. Our training centre Eyebox is based very near to the Ricoh Arena, making this a nice little loop to take the car on its first run since being refitted.
This goes very smoothly and, without incident, the Bentley is returned to the training centre to be detailed inside by one of our experts from Slim’s Detailing, our sister company.
The interior looks dirty and dusty (as the pictures show), so the leather is cleaned using Koch Chemie Pol Star which is sprayed and allowed to work on the surface of the seats and door cards, before being wiped off using a soft microfibre cloth and a Koch Chemie Leather Brush to help in tight grooves on the trim and removing stubborn stains. For those really stubborn stains, a Dirt Eraser Sponge was used.
Once happy the dirt has been removed, then Koch Chemie Leather Star is applied to help condition and protect, as leather is still a skin and requires to be moisturised from time to time. A quick vacuum, and then all the glass is cleaned with Koch Chemie Speed Glass using a Slim’s Glass cloth - this is the secret to a perfect glass finish, as the cloth will not smear the cleaner and as a result no streaks.
Interestingly, the front windows are electric, which is pretty special on a 1951 car!
The bodywork has received a good polish from the technicians, but our detailers cannot leave it at that: they add a layer of CARPRO Reload 2.0 Silica Spray Sealant to the bodywork, adding a quick shine and a layer of protective coating too.
The Bentley was then ready to be used for Slim’s grandson’s wedding in Liverpool, and can be seen on the day outside the church with a ribbon attached.
The car was a star on the day and will be good to go at many more events in the future, thanks to the great work by Wyndon Motors and the Morelli Technicians and all of their hard work.