Before the 106 GTi went off to its winter home we thought it deserved a good going over bodywork wise.
It had been sat on the drive 4 months without being washed. In fact it had only been washed once since we have owned it and that was the second day.
From a distance it didn’t look too bad, but up close you could see the damage 15 years has caused. Swirling over every panel and numerous random deep scratches…it wasn’t good…
Giving it a wash, a clay and a covering it in fallout remover before another wash i was finally ready to get the power tools out.
Now, i have never machine polished anything. Ever. Whats the worst that can happen?
Taping up all the black trim, badges, indicators etc was a mission in itself, the car is only small but tucking it all in and making sure nothing was exposed was time consuming enough. After a good hour of farting about with tape and fighting the great British wind i was set.
This means war!
With this being my first time i didn’t want to go in all guns blazing.
I settled for a heavy cutting pad, and Meguiars Ultimate Finish. This compound has very little cut to it and i have only previously used it by hand but managed to get some awesome results.
Starting with the worst place…and the best place if i was going to cause any damage…the roof.
It basically looked like a cat, or several cats had tap danced all over it. Ridiculously deep claw scratches and some pretty heavy swirls covered the whole roof.
I knew from the start i wasn’t going to completely get rid of these as they were far too deep, but lets see how a Kestrel DA handles and what we can do!
Using varying pressures i spent a good half an hour alone on the roof. Passing over it vertically and horizontally with the DA. A vast amount of the scratches were significantly reduced, some removed but the worse culprits remain.
However there was no paint coming off on the pad so i knew no matter how hard or vigorous i was with this pad/compound setup i wasn’t going to do damage the paintwork on the rest of the car.
Moving on to the heavily stone chipped bonnet i took my time. Whilst i knew 100% correction and a flawless finish isn’t going to happen i wanted to see how good i could get it looking before resulting to spray work or mucking about with the original paint.
After a good few hours i made my way around the whole car. (From start to finish it was around 8 hours from washing to final polish).
Swapping my heavy cutting pad for a light polishing pad i dusted the 106 down with a microfibre and set about giving it a quick once over just to buff it up. Again with Megs Ultimate Compound.
Peeling back all the smurf blue tape, then giving it a final dust over i was quite impressed with my days work.
Before i started the WHOLE car was covered in swirls. It looked horrific in the sunlight. The paint felt like sandpaper too when you ran your hand over it. There were deeper scratches on the doors (the dents we will worry about later!) and handles that i thought were irreparable…
Look at it now! Don’t get me wrong it’s still not flawless concours condition, but it is now 100% swirl free. Visible scratches have been reduced to only a few deeper ones per panel, before they were littered. The paint is also now buttery soft and smooth.
As it sat their in the sunset on that chilly October evening it looked loved and looked after. Something i think this car hasn’t had in a very long time!
The next evening i gave it a quick coat of Autoglym HD Wax to help keep it somewhat protected for its journey north to Lincolnshire for the winter.
Eventually the plan is to have it professionally machine polished to get it as good as it can be. This is a long way down the line…
Owner / Editor of Carwitter – French car fiend, hot hatch lover. Follow @car_witter