Why do we enjoy and go through so much work to prepare our cars?
Long term investment
Preparation for resale
Discovery of worn or damaged parts
What does Concours d'Elegance "Tour" preparation involve?
Tour class preparation involves detailing your car through meticulous and
intense hand cleaning and parts replacement to OEM (Original Equipment
Manufacturers) standards for personal pride, improvement, and investment
purposes to produce a near perfect specimen as it originally arrived from
the manufacturing plant, no matter the current age or how many miles are on
How often should a Concours participant clean their car?
This depends on several factors:
Whether or not the Porsche is regularly garaged or exposed to the
Use of automated car washes
Colors sensitive to exposure (e.g. red/black)
Hardness and durability of the wax used
How long does it take to prepare a car for the Tour class?
The full process can take twelve or more hours to complete, but will help
to make your car competitive and score reasonably well at any Porsche Club
What are the basic steps in car preparation?
3. Polish or prep
How should I wash my Porsche?
Use a good quality car shampoo. Wash from the top down. Use a clean white
terrycloth face towel - be sure to remove the tag to prevent scratching. If
you drop your wash cloth on the ground, don't try to rinse it out - use
another one. To help speed drying, sheet rinse water onto the paint rather
than spraying. Dry with a towel. Wash wheels and tires separately using
sponges, brushes, etc. reserved for use with wheels and tires.
What are some cleaning tips?
After drying the car, walk around looking for contaminants bonded to the
paint (e.g. tar, bug jerky, ...) that need to be removed before you start
the polish and prep step. Remove adhered contaminants using body solvent (a
hazardous chemical item - wear gloves and apply carefully).
What are some polish or prep tips?
Use good quality materials with clean applicators and clean towels to
remove residue. As for using a clay bar, note that clay does remove
contaminants from paint. However, the problem with clay is that the
contaminants you remove end up in the clay and you can end up putting
contaminants right back on the paint if you're not careful.
What are some waxing tips?
The choice of wax depends on the normal use of the car. Zymol's Hard Carbon
Wax produces a superior shine, but requires more rigorous application
effort. For daily drivers, which require more frequent cleaning, prep, and
waxing, Meguiars Yellow Carnuba Wax is a good choice, as it produces a good
shine, is fairly easy to use, and holds up well under daily use.
What are some dressing tips?
The last step is dressing items like bumper trim, door handles. Use caution
when applying the recommended Griot's Garage product as it can stain paint.
Using the right materials is important. That means a clean, good quality
cloth or special applicator pads when applying cleaners, polishes, and wax.
Always use good quality cloths for removing products, and use a micro-fiber
cloth for the final polish and for touch up with detail spray. Always work
one small section at a time. Avoid circular motion when applying and
removing cleaner, polish or wax - use an aerodynamic front-to-back motion
and apply lots of pressure. Be sure to thoroughly remove all residue. One
more thing - use the recommended detailing spray with a clean cloth to
remove bird droppings from your paint as soon as you can - be a little
cautious as some bird droppings can contain gritty material that may
scratch your paint if you're not careful.
What are some tips for good results?
1. Avoid circular motions when using cloths - strive to work in aerodynamic
front-to-back strokes in keeping with natural air and water flow over the
2. The goal is to remove dirt through cleaning before any final
dressing can be applied.
3. Work in the correct order - start with the gentlest possible treatment
when dealing with problem areas. Work your way up to the strongest/harshest
materials only as needed, and always make sure the material you're using
won't cause damage.
4. Use your sense of touch avoiding fingerpads to detect contaminants.
5. Always check the area you're working on by looking at it from several
angles to make sure you've dealt with all the defects you found in your
initial inspection. If at all possible, do this under a sunlit sky, since
Concours judging usually occurs outdoors under natural light.
6. Do not over-clean or strip areas beyond OEM grading expectations.
7. Always wear soft clothes, and remove personal jewelery. Ladies with long
hair should tie it up in pony tail for safety.
8. Always wear surgical supply or detailer's gloves based on allergy
preference and use eye protection when spraying or working with any
9. Store all chemicals in child-proof, non-freezing area above 40 degrees
for safety and longevity.
10. Never decant chemicals into odd bottles. Always and only use
OSHA-approved containers. Some chemicals may react with soft plastics in
unapproved containers and cause damage to local surfaces in contact.
11. Always drape an old bath towel as a fender cloth to protect and pad
work surface when working under the hood and in door sill areas.
12. Never work or spray chemicals into heated engines.
13. Use caution and do not oversaturate delicate or aged engine parts with
14. Work in a 6-12 inch square foot area of attention at all times and do
not jump around work area; mind all tools used and return to carrier
What are some materials and equipment tips?
Dirty towels and cloths may be washed and dried as you would wash similar
items that you use in your household with one exception - never use fabric
softener! Also, never put your cleaning towels and rags away dirty - toss
them in the wash so they're ready for your next session. For those who
prefer a little help with prep, polishing, and waxing, you may consider
purchasing a good quality random-orbital buffer (Porter-Cable or
equivalent). These machines are somewhat expensive, but a random-orbital
buffer will help you avoid burns and other problems that can happen all too
easily with standard sanders/buffers. When using a buffer, be sure to use
the appropriate applicator and polishing pads.
What are some tips for cleaning around the engine bay?
Start with about a gallon of water in a bucket. Add a capful of car shampoo
and a dash of Murphy's Oil Soap. Use a small, clean terry towel (facecloth)
and start near the front. Work your way around the engine bay, cleaning one
area at a time. Use Griot's Engine Cleaner as needed. For baked-on grease
and dried oil, Meguiars sells a commercial-grade degreaser, but this is a
hazardous material, so you should wear gloves and use extreme caution in
applying it, as it can damage paint. In general, it's not a good idea to
try and remove cosmoline (a waxy yellowish substance) on engine parts - its
presence won't hurt during judging, and it's really difficult to completly
remove. For corroded parts (fasteners, fittings, etc.) use 0000 steel wool
to remove the corrosion, as polished parts look good to concours judges.
Don't forget to clean inside the fan shroud and other areas which the
judges may be able to reach into during their search for less-than-showroom
clean surfaces. Replace small soft parts that are hard to clean or that
have deteriorated. Don't use dressing on hoses.
How should I clean the upholstery and carpeting?
Use good quality cleaning products such as Lexol products. Apply cleaners
and preservatives by spraying them on a good, clean cloth. Wipe surfaces
clean. Buff treated surfaces with a separate clean cloth.
Use Lexol's Vinlyex on non-leather surfaces such as dashboards. Do not use
ArmorAll because it contains silicon, which produces a quick shine but can
react with, and degrade, plastics over time. So, if you plan to keep your
car a long time, avoid using ArmorAll.
When spot-cleaning carpeting, apply the cleaning product carefully, and
blot the spot; do not rub it, as rubbing may just spread the dirt or stain
around and just make things worse. Deep cleaning all of the carpeting is
best done with an (expensive) Automotive Carpet Extractor - leave this to a
How should I clean glass surfaces?
Use a good quality, clear cleaner such as Window Cleaner available from
Griot's Garage. Use only lint-free, high-fiber content paper products or
What are some reccomended supplies for a serious Concours participant?
Baby Wipes (for cleaning hands)
Fabric shop towel roll
Blue Window Wipes
Grey Mircrofiber Cloth
Pastel Cotton Wiping Terrycloth
Beige Textured Cotton Terrycloth for wax seal breakage
Cotton Dressing Pads
3 professional touch-up paint applicators
Set 4 Nylon Toothbrushes
Set 3 Detailing Brushes (nylon & metal)
Goo Gone adhesive remover
Spot Shot Carpet Cleaner
35 oz. Engine Cleaner & Sprayer
Body Solvent for tar removal (Hazardous material; Use gloves!)
Super Degreaser for dried oil, etc (Hazardous material; Use gloves!)
35 oz. Window Cleaner & Sprayer
Grade 0000 steel wool
Tire protectant gel sample
What are some reccomended products to use?
These always vary by participant, but here's a good start:
Meguiars Fine Cut Cleaner
Meguiars Medium Cut Cleaner
Meguiars All Wheel Cleaner
Meguiars NXT Generation Metal Polish
Meguiars Yellow Carnuba Wax
Meguiars Detail Spray (the newest version)
Griot's Trim Reconditioner
Murphy's Wood Oil Soap
Meguiars Car Shampoo
Lexol Leather Cleaner
Lexol Leather Protectant
Zymol Hard Carbon Wax