Exotic Car Detailing vs Standard Car Detailing


Exotic Car Detailing is the whole reason guys like me get into detailing.  The minute we get a chance to do exotic car detailing, we immediately tell everyone one we can get to listen that we are working on an exotic car and all those years of cleaning trashed Subaru’s and Camry’s was all worth it.  But is there an actual different to exotic car detailing as opposed to what a detail process might be on a daily driver? 

Well, sort of.

I’ve sort of built a company out of my experiences owning an exotic car.  Years ago when I had a lot of money and no brains, I owned an Italian exotic car.  I remember paying tons of money to have anything done to it and years later I wanted to have a company that did not charge fees based on the clients ability to pay.  Exotic car owners seem to appreciate this as they notice (as did I) that the cost of having anything done to a car seems to change in accordance with the prestige of the badge.

As we got more experienced at A-List Detail we did notice some differences between processes detailing a Toyota Camry vs. a Ferrari 550 Maranello for example.  Could it be that there is some justification for charging a premium on an exotic car detail or restoration?  Absolutely.  (First let me say that no one should ever attempt to restore a Toyota Camry.)

Exotic cars have materials and finishes that far exceed those found on commuter or mass produced cars.  Their wheel finishes are ceramic coated or powder coated vs., painted which is much harder to replicate.  The paint work is the best in the world.  The leather is the best in the world.  All these top materials and techniques result in finishes that are much more difficult to replicate than those on a mass produced car.

We recently detailed a Honda Civic for one of our dealer friends.  They are nice little cars and always in huge demand with younger buyers because they are affordable and easy to maintain.  The prior owner had attempted to fix a problem on the rear door on the driver side and literally took a rattle can and sprayed right onto the door.  Suffice it to say, it looked pretty bad.  Our client asked if we could do anything with it.  We did.  We resprayed it.  Essentially we did what the prior owner did, we just did it way better.  We used the natural line of the body and created a soft edge on the door and sanded the area down and applied 4 coats of universal black Duplicolor.  This one stage paint can be clear coated but does not need to be.  We let it harden over night and then wet sanded it with 5 different sand papers starting with 1200, then 1500, 2000, 2500 and 3000.  Then we cut it with a mini-buffer and a diamond cut compound, then hit it with 3M polish and finally put a water-based sealant on it.  When done, you could not tell anything was done, the new paint looked exactly like the rest of the paint on the car.

You can’t do that with a Ferrari paint.  Well you could if you are brave (and stupid) but that kind of garage fix works on a $3,000 used car but not on a $250,000 super car.  The amount of care we take with a Ferrari or a Porsche is stunning.  We recently worked on a Ferrari down in Monterey and spent 90 minutes just taping off parts of the car so they would not be damaged during the buffing process.  In comparison, the same two-person team completely detailed the Honda Civic we just mentioned in the same amount of time.

In another example we worked on several cars for a West Linn resident.  Among the work we did was doing some touch up on curb rash on two cars; a Hyundai Elantra and a Porsche 911.  The wheel on the Elantra was fixed in 20 minutes and looked perfect.  The Porsche wheel took forever and we still couldn’t match the finish exactly.

We don’t believe in charging more for a detail on an exotic just because the cars are so expensive, however, they are much more difficult to detail well than a standard commuter or family car.  Bear that in mind when you are considering a mini-van or a Lamborghini.