PORSCHE PROJECTS

Choose a colour; any colour! With Spray and Peel, the pal­ette is lim­it­less. Or, if pro­tect­ing the car’s ex­ist­ing coach­work is para­mount, the spray-on wrap is equally apt. Our pro­ject Boxster is car-ma chameleon.

911 Porsche World - - Contents -

Johnny Ti­pler’s Boxster un­der­goes a rad­i­cal colour change and Chris Hor­ton con­tin­ues to fi­nesse his 924S

Rhap­sody in Blue? It wasn’t that ob­vi­ous at first. An in­fi­nite range of avail­able hues makes colour choice in­cred­i­bly per­plex­ing. Pulled this way and that by prece­dents and pref­er­ences, for in­stance The Pep­per­mint Pig and a cer­tain Zanz­ibar Red 996 GT3, I have spent many a long hour mulling over paint charts try­ing to pin down that spe­cial shade in or­der to ef­fect the switch. So, when I heard of Spray and Peel and it be­came ap­par­ent that a thor­ough­go­ing spray-on wrap was avail­able, with­out com­mit­ting to the per­ma­nence of a full re­spray, sud­denly the method­ol­ogy was clear. And yet, colour se­lec­tion re­mained un­solved.

The main hur­dle was the Boxster’s cock­pit up­hol­stery. It needed to be a har­mo­nious, clash-free zone. Flesh-tone Terra Cotta is no friend of Lava Or­ange, say. But there is some­thing to be said for ad­her­ing to tra­di­tional Porsche hues, and, hav­ing looked at cur­rent Zuf­fen­hausen fin­ishes, I be­gan to narrow down the field. Graphite, like the Cay­man that Antony Fraser and I trav­elled in to scale the Gais­berg Hill­climb, or Crayon, close to the 997 Sport Clas­sic’s fash­ion­ably pale grey, were stand­outs. At Porsche Ex­pe­ri­ence Cen­tre Sil­ver­stone I’d re­cently seen Mi­ami Blue be­deck­ing a 991 GT3, and from then on I started to get the blues.

My Googling daugh­ter Zoë spot­ted it first. A Pin­ter­est post of a 1960 356B cabri­o­let in Etna Blue with Terra Cotta seats. And there it was, back then spelled Aetna Blue, and re­in­stated on the Zuf­fen­hausen colour card a few years ago. This sub­tle, clas­sic blue with a hint of grey was un­ques­tion­ably the way for­ward. To be cer­tain, though, other blues were strummed: Gulf, Riviera, Mex­ico, Mau­ri­tius, Teal, Tif­fany, Sap­phire, Cobalt – to name but a few. See what I mean? Spoiled for choice. And my 3.2 Car­rera of yesteryear was Prus­sian, which I was fond of, and tonally not so dif­fer­ent from Graphite. As for Mint? ‘You have moved on,’ said Zoë sagely.

Any­way, to busi­ness. I con­tacted Spray and Peel (also op­er­at­ing as Scratch and Peel) where prin­ci­pal John Isolda talked me through the process. He’d need the car for a week, so a date was set, I dropped the car off at John’s Hat­field (Herts) paintshop, along with my camera, and sur­ren­dered my­self to the mer­cies of the rail net­work.

Here’s what hap­pens. Firstly, the ex­te­rior is cleaned down, the front and rear bumper pan­els re­moved, light clus­ters, plates and door han­dles taken off, along with ex­tra­ne­ous badg­ing, the door rub­bers peeled off so they can coat the door shuts, and the wheels and cabin thor­oughly masked up. Then, one after an­other, eleven coats, no less, are sprayed on, with cor­re­spond­ing oven bakes in be­tween each ap­pli­ca­tion. ‘The primer builds up the vinyl base,’ af­firms John, ‘and then the wa­ter­based prod­ucts pro­vide the colour­ing, and then we’ve got the ac­ti­vated ma­te­rial of the lac­quer which goes over the top, and that is a clear gloss coat pro­vid­ing the pro­tec­tion.’ The bumper pan­els are treated sep­a­rately but in the same way. ‘We pay spe­cial at­ten­tion to the front and rear bumpers be­cause they take most of the wear and tear on the ve­hi­cle.’

It’s not sim­ply a mat­ter of spay-paint­ing the primer and colour coats and leav­ing them to dry; this is akin to a full paint­ing process: ‘Bak­ing time is ac­tu­ally a lot more in­volved than for a nor­mal bake on a painted ve­hi­cle,’ says John. ‘Your car’s been baked sev­eral times. The first bake

takes 30 min­utes at 70° de­grees, and then it gets sprayed again, and it’s the same for each coat, then 60 min­utes for the fi­nal top coat.’

Two tech­ni­cians worked on my car. ‘One tech­ni­cian goes around tak­ing off all the patina of dirt, tar and grime, so we’ve got a clean sur­face to work with, then we strip the ve­hi­cle ex­actly as if we were go­ing to re­spray it for a man­u­fac­turer or an in­surance job. Then it’s masked, and our painter James, who’s been do­ing it for 30 years, ap­plies the paint ma­te­rial. This has to be sprayed through two separate guns, one for

SPRAY-WRAP RAP

It’s com­pletely in­vis­i­ble Re­moval leaves no residue No joins, cuts or stress marks Needs no blade work Can be sanded, pol­ished to mir­ror shine Self-heal­ing Helps pre­vent stone chips and scratches Fuel re­sis­tant Avail­able in matte, satin or gloss fin­ish Strong, 200 Mi­cron Plus gloss or matte fin­ish coat­ing that’s hy­dropho­bic and com­pletely seals the ve­hi­cle

You can have your ve­hi­cle in the lat­est man­u­fac­turer colour the base primers and one for the top coats. The air pres­sure has to be cor­rect be­cause it will make a dif­fer­ence in the way the ma­te­rial lies, and the noz­zles of our spray guns have to be set up in a cer­tain way be­cause this ma­te­rial lies dif­fer­ently from a nor­mal two-pack car lac­quer. The Boxster takes around 50 man-hours to do, from start to fin­ish, sim­i­lar to a re-spray.’

John describes the other side of his busi­ness, Scratch and Peel, which em­ploys the same tech­niques as Spray and Peel, but to more spe­cific ar­eas of the ve­hi­cle. ‘Again, this is an in­vis­i­ble flex­i­ble shield that can be ap­plied to any part of the car. The front of your car, the bon­net, grille, bumpers and valance are the most vul­ner­a­ble ar­eas and sus­cep­ti­ble to dam­age from com­mon road de­bris, but the wheels and side skirts can also re­ceive a bat­ter­ing, and our process pro­tects against van­dal­ism, scratches, scuffs and stone chips. It has a full five-year war­ranty, and, at the end of the day, it's com­pletely re­mov­able.’ There’s also the bonus that, even with a car bought on a PCP scheme, if it’s been spray-pro­tected us­ing clear or coloured prod­ucts – known as PPS (Paint Pro­tec­tion Sys­tem), it can be handed back after three years, to­tally im­mac­u­late, with­out in­cur­ring fi­nan­cial penal­ties for dam­aged paint­work. You could have your car painted in the lat­est OE colour and, with a pri­vate plate on it, any­body would think that you’ve got that ver­sion of the ve­hi­cle, and that’s the beauty of the prod­uct, when you come to sell the ve­hi­cle you can put it back to the orig­i­nal colour, and mean­while it’s been pro­tected from stone chips and scratches. You could have your car treated like this ev­ery five years, and even­tu­ally if you came to sell it, you could re­move the film and it’d be free of stone chips and scratches.’

As if the gor­geous blue Etna hue was not enough to in­spire, to fur­ther prove the point, John pro­duces a demonstration wing panel that’s been sub­jected to the Scratch and Peel treat­ment. He hands me a pound coin. ‘Try and scratch the sur­face,’ he goes. I play the van­dal. No mat­ter how hard I try to key the sur­face, it won’t mark it. He refers me to a stray edge at the corner of the demo spray. ‘Now see how read­ily it peels off,’ he says. And sure enough, I nip my fin­ger­nails on the corner edge and the cladding strips back just like a cling­film

coat­ing. Both as­pects of this over­lay are fascinating: the fact that it is so re­silient to de­lib­er­ate and ran­domly ap­plied forces, and yet can be eas­ily de­tached if no longer de­sired.

‘The qual­ity of the spray pro­tec­tion fin­ish is the same as a proper paint fin­ish, and to a great ex­tent that’s down to the skill level of the peo­ple that are ap­ply­ing the prod­ucts; they fin­ish it off and pol­ish it by hand, so we pick up lit­tle bits of static and ma­chine pol­ish it, but you can get an even higher gloss fin­ish than a nor­mal man­u­fac­turer fin­ish with that lac­quer.’ And, what’s more, it’s self­heal­ing: ‘By ap­ply­ing hot wa­ter, any small chips or light scratches will dis­ap­pear. It stays alive; it’s a re­ally weird chem­i­cal, the way the lac­quer is for­mu­lated.’ John is jus­ti­fi­ably proud of the job he’s done. ‘At first glance you’d say that that ve­hi­cle has been painted in two-pack ma­te­rial and it’s had a proper re-spray, rather than a spray-wrap. You can al­ways tell a wrapped car be­cause you can see the cut-off lines and there will be blade marks in the orig­i­nal paint­work, too. Plus, you’ll never get this level of gloss fin­ish from a reg­u­lar wrap.’

Hav­ing helped choose the colour in the first place, Zoë is keen to see the fin­ished ar­ti­cle, so we con­vene at Brox­bourne, Herts, where John’s main coach­works op­er­a­tion is lo­cated. It is in­ter­est­ing how the colour seems to change tones in dif­fer­ent lights, es­pe­cially inside and out­side and in di­rect sun­shine. In the paint booth it ap­pears more like Graphite – not that I par­tic­u­larly mind – but in the great out­doors it is clearly Etna Blue. John is de­lighted. ‘It’s a great colour, and it re­ally en­hances the Boxster’s styling de­tails.’ In­deed, some­how it has the ef­fect of making it look like a much more ex­pen­sive car, which is pos­si­bly to do with the com­bi­na­tion of the ter­ra­cotta up­hol­stery and the classy blue ex­te­rior. The thing about opt­ing for a later shade from the fac­tory chart is that the car’s age be­comes more am­bigu­ous. Not only are park­ing blem­ishes con­cealed, the orig­i­nal ubiq­ui­tous sil­ver is blanked, and the im­agery is of some­thing po­ten­tially much more re­cent. Or clas­sic, if you pre­fer to look down the his­tor­i­cal 356 route. Bring on those Fuchs wheels! Even Hexagon of High­gate Clas­sics’ dealer prin­ci­pal, Peter Smith, who glimpsed the car at a re­cent pho­to­shoot, as­sumed it was a later model.

And Zoë’s ver­dict? ‘It’s made it so that all the beau­ti­ful cues of Porsche de­sign that make up this car, the sub­tle lines and curves, re­ally come out in a way that they didn’t be­fore in that sil­ver. It’s gor­geous, isn’t it?’ I’d say that’s a wrap: my sum­mer­time blues are cured. PW

It’s a wrap, but not in the tra­di­tional sense. Colour is from the early Porsche pal­ette and called Etna Blue

Ap­pli­ca­tion is es­sen­tially no dif­fer­ent to a nor­mal painted re­spray, with a primer go­ing on first. The dif­fer­ence is, this can be re­moved en­tirely to re­veal the orig­i­nal paint in per­fect con­di­tion

The colour goes on and, with the primer and fin­ish­ing clear coat gloss, no less than 11 coats are ap­plied, to­gether with cor­re­spond­ing bake time in the oven

Pol­ished to mir­ror fin­ish, the re­sult is re­ally very im­pres­sive and yes the Etna Blue does work with the Terra Cotta in­te­rior

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