Despite cloudy skies, the rain held off for the 7th annual “Devil’s in the Details” at Munk’s Motors on Saturday, May 14th, when Munk’s turned into a Porsche spa where three cars received simultaneous makeovers by three different experts.
In bay one, Chris Braden and shop assistant John Lovelace scrubbed the body, engine and wheels of Braden’s 1987 Carrera, partly to demonstrate the optimal order of cleaning, and partly to prepare the car for vinyl graphics on its hood. Everyone who’s ever bent down to hand-scrub his or her wheels with a toothbrush wished for the lift that raised Braden’s car just far enough off the ground to preserve the muscles in the back and legs.
In bay two, Matt Lifter from Motor City Auto Spa worked magic on a dark blue 1998 Boxster that had been neglected outdoors for over a year. The car had animal prints on the hood, mildew on the passenger seat, and faded paint. After a good wash, Lifter polished and buffed until the car looked presentable. “It won’t win any awards at the Porsche Parade, but it looks a whole lot better already, and there’s still a whole lot that we can do, including the interior, the top, the wheels… It’s too late for this rear window, though,” he said, indicating a badly scratched, cloudy plastic inset. “If it’s not too bad, sometimes we can polish them, but this one needs to be replaced.” Lifter’s efforts — which resulted in a car so shiny that the shop ceiling reflected clearly in the paint — were enough to reassure everyone that even an aging daily driver forced to sit outside while the summer cars live in the garage can look shiny and gleaming with the right products and a little elbow grease.
In bay three, Jason Good from Fade to Black Tinting applied retro graphics on the hood of Gary Ambrus’ red 1977 911 Carrera: thick stripes and the stylized, numbers “911” in period-appropriate lettering. In addition to the stripes, Good applied a wide sun shade to the top of the car’s windshield. Though the dark band coordinated well with the rest of the car’s graphics, Ambrus noted, “It’s not an aesthetic thing, it’s just to cut down on the sun.”
After tending to Ambrus’ car, Good then covered the hood of Chris Braden’s red 911 with a vinyl wrap that looks exactly like carbon fiber. “It’s a great product that is very popular,” said Good. “Besides looking good, wearing well, and protecting against stone chips, it effectively covers minor scratches and flaws when you don’t want a whole paint job. We’ve had a lot of positive response to it.” Good made it look easy to remove air bubbles as he made the vinyl fit around the curves of the hood. Something many learned that day: a little water sprayed on the hood allows even sticky-backed graphics to slide around while determining exact placement. A flat burnishing tool will remove the water layer once you’ve made sure the graphics are exactly where you want them. But the general consensus among attendees was that while anyone can wash a car, applying vinyl graphics and tinting are likely to leave a first-time do-it-yourselfer frustrated.
In addition to the demonstrations, Mike Van Loo from Autometric Collision shared his expertise on paint preservation and Fred Young, Bob Amano, and Bruce Gearns talked about what it takes to win Concours events, from preparation to having realistic expectations. There are Porsche owners who drop off their cars for judging from trailers, and there are owners who simply drive up and park the car. Knowing exactly what the judges look for can give an entrant the advantage. All three are willing and eager to share their wisdom from novice to expert. Do not hesitate to call them for advice.
While Motor City AutoSpa and Fade to Black Tinting focused on exterior details, Mark and Joe from R.K.S.T. were there to answer questions about how to seamlessly integrate audiophile quality components into a Porsche while retaining the originality of the car. A rather loud demonstration of a compact subwoofer under the passenger seat of a Carrera drove the point home with some classic Stevie Winwood. Great tunes without cutting any part of a classic Porsche. The Germans were never good with stereos or cup holders.
Paul’s Interiors was on hand that day to talk about interior restorations and leather care. Of particular note was the 1954 Hudson Hornet front seat, expertly upholstered by the Paul’s, on display in the front lobby. Paul’s workmanship is renowned in Metro Detroit having appeared at every major car event. They are hard to find, but well worth the effort
All in all, Devil’s 2011 was an action-packed, informative day. The food was tasty and plentiful coordinated by John “J.J.” Jason, the official chef, and Hungry Howie’s. Thanks to the efforts of event coordinator Merritt Scott-Collins and the enthusiastic staff at Munk’s, an otherwise dreary Saturday turned into a Porsche party. Everyone went home with a goodie bag full of information, tools, and samples of cleaning products, while a lucky few went home with door prizes thanks to Auto Zone Hobbies on Woodward and Meguiar’s.
If you missed the 7th annual “Devil’s in the Details”, be sure and read your P4 next spring, and save the date for the 8th.