It was that time of year once again, Peugeot Festival was approaching and after winning with the 207 last year I didn’t want to repeat the process just to gain another trophy. It’s got to be a challenge, right? So lets take the RCZ R instead.
Having a good look over the paintwork I realised the swirls were far worse than any of my other cars. A machine polish was in order.
Now I’d like to think myself pretty handy with a dual action polisher, I’ve managed to get some decent results in the past…nowhere near full correction but a healthy chunk of swirl marks are sliced away in the process. It’s good enough for me.
DA in hand, the R taped up and I set about exacting my revenge on the myriad of marks.
A few hours later and I was beat, no matter what I tried there were still swirls all over the paintwork. Different pads didn’t help, applying more pressure achieved nothing…eurgh this was a nightmare. There’s no way the show and shine could be competed in this condition.
Professional help was needed.
A few years back an email went out to all MGMW members, a new company called Reep Midlands was opening up in Leicester. For some reason this had stuck in my mind, so delving through my messages I eventually found it.
After a couple of emails back and fourth the car was booked in for five days time. Perfect.
Reep Group have detailing establishments dotted around the UK, from Dunsfold in Sussex to Paisley in Scotland. The premises are superbly furnished, this is true class and automotive luxury at its best. Reep Midlands were closest, so that’s where I headed.
Owned by Pete George and Pri Chauhan, Reep Midlands is their bespoke idea of how car care should be done. It’s the whole experience, not just the process. Only officially opening around 12 months ago the business has gone from strength to strength, and it’s easy to see why.
From the dark, sultry reception to the handover room and the immaculate work bays that are littered with McLarens, Ferrari race cars and classics, you instantly know this is a top quality establishment.
But it’s not just the ultra rich that utilise Reep Midlands expert services. In the workshop that day was a last gen Focus RS in for a front end PPF application, a VW T-Roc being prepped prior to delivery and a Golf R in for some paint correction. It might take a bit of saving, but anyone can pamper their car at Reep Midlands.
After being given a tour of the premises the keys to the RCZ were handed over, it was driven around the back where a snow foam wash begun.
If you’ve never heard of or used snow foam before, it’s a type of shampoo applied with a pressure washer. Thick foam sits on the car, loosening any dirt or debris before it’s pressure washed off.
Thankfully the RCZ was clean before the drive up, so the wash didn’t get too involved.
Before you machine polish any car you need to tape up all the bits you don’t want to damage, plastics, badges, and any areas with detail that might harbour dirt that you could drag out and marr the paintwork with.
Now, i’ve polished many a car to a pretty decent level for an amature. I’ve only ever been ballsy enough to use Meguiars Ultimate Compound, it’s got a great amount of cut to it and always provides good results when combined with a Hexalogic pad. But as mentioned earlier, the swirls on the R just weren’t budging, and at the peril of possibly doing lasting damage Reep Midlands were contacted.
So how do the pro’s do it?
Turns out they still use a dual action polisher, albeit a heavy duty one costing far more than nearly everything on the amature market. Compound of choice? Koch-Chemie F5.01.
You can purchase this stuff from numerous places online, it’s a silicone and oil-free polish that uses aluminium oxide to cut back swirls and sanding marks up to 2500 grit. It removes wash swirls and RDS (random deep scratches), but the best thing about it is that it’s self diminishing, so the more you work it, the less it cuts. This means you’re unlikely to damage your paintwork.
This was paired with a microfibre type polishing pad, the before and after on the roof was pretty astonishing.
It was as if the swirls were being wiped away before my eyes. The Koch-Chemie simply cut through them like butter, bringing back the flawless shine that sat beneath them.
As the day went on more of the Peugeot began to gleam, the bright lights in the studio really making the R pop with reflections.
To help protect the black gloss roof from further scratches some Gtechniq ceramic coating was applied. Ceramic coatings are the newest and best way to protect your car, they form a molecular bond to the paintwork, once cured they can last for up to 5 years.
They work by basically filling in the rougher top coat of paint, then adding a thin additional layer of hard protection on top of that.
Due to time restraints I wasn’t able to leave the car with Reep Midlands overnight, which meant they couldn’t ceramic coat every panel. Ideally it needs 24 hours to fully cure indoors when working on a whole car.
Instead, a coat of Swissvax Best In Show was applied. This wax was developed for concours vehicles with high gloss in mind. It can last for around 4 months and is superb at repelling dirt.
Once applied, it was left to sit for around an hour while the interior received some attention.
Now i’m not one for using the interior of my car as an extension to my apartment, there aren’t shoes or clothes sitting in the boot, there’s no rubbish in the door pockets or crumbs down the sides of the seat.
All my cars are pretty much spotless inside, as you’d find a brand new car in a showroom.
Obviously the matts get a bit mucky from time to time, but that’s as bad as it gets, so the guys had a quick job of cleaning the glass and hoovering the matts.
They managed to get those lovely little lines in the boot matt, the type that makes fabric look like a freshly mowed bowling green. Spot on.
A quick squirt of a deliciously tasty air freshener across the rear carpets and the inside was good to go.
Whenever anyone takes their car to Reep Midlands they get the final reveal treatment, and although I’d sat in the conference room watching my car being worked on all day long, I still got the reveal (air punch).
Bearing in mind that i’ve never owned a new car, i’ve missed out on all that glitz and glamour swanky dealerships bequeath to new
debtors owners, so this felt kinda special.
Checking out the results of 8 hours hard graft and the differences were like night and day. You could walk around the RCZ and see brilliantly clear paintwork, there were no spiderwebs creeping across the bonnet, no scratches down the doors, the roof was a sea of silky black instead of looking as though it had been attacked with a brillo pad.
The results were astonishing, this is why you take your car to the professionals.
The Show & Shine
I had five days until the show & shine at Peugeot Festival, having won last year with the 207 I wanted a challenge. It’s easy to take back a winning car and claim the title once again, but the RCZ would be harder.
First up it’s barely 4 years old and has less than 12,000 miles on the clock. That means it misses out on points. Lots of points. Up to six can be won on age and mileage alone, so from the off I was going to be behind.
Spending a further 10 hours on the engine bay, wheels and arches I finally covered up the R ready for the jaunt over to Prescott Hill Climb early the next morning. Naturally we took along the Project 106 GTi too, because, hill climb.
The normal preening, polishing and cleaning went on for about an hour once I arrived, making sure everything was spotlessly clean after the drive over. Judging occurred around 11 am, I stood back and watched. There was nothing more I could do. Fingers were poked inside the alloys, a concerned digit removed with dirt, heads shook…urgh.
Finally the results were called, the first to be announced was concours modified. Next up was concours standard. ‘And in third place, the Peugeot RCZ R‘.
What?! I hadn’t even entered into concours, the car wasn’t cleaned to a concours standard?!
It turns out that the R was deemed far too clean and pristine to be judged in the show and shine. The level of nitpicking that had to go into it to find any sort of fault was at the same level they were judging the concours cars at.
And there were some seriously immaculate concours vehicles on display here. All with far more age and mileage than the RCZ. In fact it was the newest car in the competition by 14 years!
I’ll take third in concours with pride.
Scoring 9 out of 10 for paintwork wouldn’t have been possible without Reep Midlands. That day in the sun the R looked silky and clear, as if it had just been driven out of the showroom.
It’s made me want to take the Peugeot 207 there one day, just to give it the same treatment and a proper pamper as it deserves.
If you’re after the very best for your pride and joy, you need to visit Reep Midlands.