1986 Ford Cosworth RS200 Fanatic Auto Detail by NWAS

Recently at NWAS, we were fortunate enough to detail this 1986 Ford Cosworth RS200 Evolution “S”. This particular car happens to be the only one of its kind in this color and spec. More information about this vehicle can be found at the end of the detail write up as well as the after photos(or CLICK HERE to view our Flikr Gallery for the RS200). The customer requested NWAS’s Fanatic Detail, our comprehensive reconditioning package. This package includes, but is not limited to, a 3-stage polish, full interior detail, engine bay cleaning, and wheel polishing. Our customer’s expectation was to give the entire vehicle a fresh overhaul. It’s been some time since its glory days and the car needed a deep cleaning and a true paint correction that will likely last the rest of its life. Due to the sensitive nature of this Cosworth motor needing to be rebuilt after 10 hours of use, the car will not likely see much road time. The following write up is to be the first of many you will see from Northwest Auto Salon. We hope you enjoy it!

The next several photos are general shots of the vehicle prior to detailing. During this time we assessed the vehicle’s needs and came up with a plan of attack.

Although this car has been garaged several years it had seen its fair share of usage. From hard to reach dirt tucked away in doorjambs, to the medium imperfections in the clear coat, it needed a bit of work to bring it back to show ready condition.

The engine bay especially needed some attention. Over the years, fluid top ups and general dirt debris and grime had built up in many of the engine’s cracks and crevices.

Part 2

After the pre-prep assessment, it was time to get the car ready for detailing. The first step was pressure washing the vehicles exterior in order rinse away any loose debris, dust, and loose contaminants.

Here, Dom is cleaning the wheels. First, he sprayed them with a non-acidic wheel cleaner and allowed them to soak. Then he returned to agitate with a Swissvax Boar’s hair brush to lift iron and other baked on brake dust from the wheels finish.

The next step is cleaning the wheels and tires. A wheel safe degreaser was used, taking great care in making sure to spray the cleaner directly onto the brush, instead of onto the tire itself, so as to ensure not to etch the finish of the wheels.

Next, we rinsed the loose dirt out of the door jams using low pressure. Low pressure is critical so as not to get the interior of the vehicle wet.

We spray and soak the jams and other hard to reach areas (on bodylines and around emblems and grills) with a paint safe citrus-based cleaner prior to agitating with another Swissvax Boar’s hair brush.

We low-pressure washed under the bonnet as well as the engine bay. We continued with our citrus-based cleaner and various nylon and boars hair brushes used for agitation. On the inner body panels and fender liners, we used an all purpose cleaner to aid in breaking up caked on dirt.

engine bay and front suspension continued on next post…


engine bay and front suspension continued…

Next, we cleaned the painted trim, rubber, and all exterior hard to reach areas with a different citrus-based degreaser to remove any old wax, buffing compound or stubborn dirt from the exterior.

Finally, it came time to wash the exterior of the vehicle using a wax stripping soap. We are always sure to use our method of washing in a front to back motion, starting at the top and working our way down being sure to rinse often. (A common misconception when washing and waxing a car is that one should use circular motions. These circular motions actually are what cause the visible circular swirl like marks in the paint. While lightly scratching the clear coat during a wash is inevitable, using a front to back motion will minimize how apparent these scratches are to the naked eye. This is because a circular scratch is more prone to be picked up by the sun and your eye as opposed to a scratch/es which stretch the length of the vehicle and are unidirectional are harder to pickup on in the sunlight. In other words, washing your vehicle in one direction will likely lessen the visibility of wash scratches, although it doesn’t make much of a difference when you are prepping a car to be buffed and polished anyways)

Drying is done with a plush microfiber drying towel, again starting at the top working our way down, using front to back motions. For the door jambs, wheels, and engine bay, we use a standard microfiber towel dedicated for use on that specific area of the car.

Part 4

Here Dom is doing a pre inspection of the vehicle and documenting any pre-existing damage or imperfections to both the interior and exterior.

Now we have the RS200 dry and safely lifted on a scissor lift raised for increased visibility of the lower half of the vehicle. The next step is the clay bar process. This removes any stubborn surface contamination (embedded contaminants, road grime etc.) that was not removed in the wash prep or with use of a adhesive remover or alcohol (tree sap, tar etc.). Here we start with a mild claybar and clay lube to minimize friction and the amount of scratching which may take place during this decontamination process.

While claying the passenger rocker (also known as side skirt), we encountered some over spray from an unknown source. A more aggressive clay was required for full removal.

(the white mark you see is just a reflection)

Here, Dom applies 3M green tape to all of the rubber and plastic trim pieces around the car. This is important so as not to stain them with any polishing or waxing to come. This is also a great tool for tracing in the work to come. Visually it helps us identify the panels and sections that have yet to be polished.

The next several photos are to illustrate the current state of imperfections in the paint under both halogen and LED lights. Various light sources in person allow you to see different types of imperfections in the finish of the clearcoat. Whether it be random isolated scratches, wash swirls, holograms, or marring a varied light helps you to remove and remedy all the paint issues.

Part 5

This was a scratch that the owner requested to be remedied. This is a service that we provide here at NorthWest Auto Salon which is very similar if not as good as paint work that would normally require a visit to the paintshop. The benefit is that while your car is being detailed, we can also take care of places that need paint too. The repair consisted of sanding, priming, custom tinting the paint to match this one off color, painting, clearcoating, wetsanding buffing and polishing to provide this vehicle with an unidentifiable repair.

Finally, it came time to polish. Here Dom is using a rotary polisher, a mild cutting compound, and a foam pad for the first of two stages of polishing. This vehicle’s body panels are constructed entirely of fiberglass and kevlar, this poses a challenge for polishing. Paint correction often takes place with several factors, paint temperature being a key ingredient. Fiberglass has a hard time building heat consistently which poses a challenge for polishing, requiring you to choose your foam pad density and your polishing compounds carefully.

Because the RS200 was created for rally homologation, it was equipped with Lexan windows. Lexan, while being much lighter then glass, is also much more susceptible to scratching. As a result, we did a one stage polish yielding 80-85% correction in the clarity. We polished the inside as well as the outside and the visibility to the engine was dramatically improved.

Part 6

Because the outer lip of the wheels are polished aluminum, we used aluminum and mag polish coupled with microfiber towels to polish them by hand as the results were very similar when done by machine.

The final step of the exterior detail was to apply a coat of Swissvax Crystal Rock wax, again using front to back motions working from top to bottom. This wax treatment is one of our favorites. Crystal Rock usually goes on vehicles getting our Fanatic or Concours details as well as being an option for a LSP for our more regular clients.

Finally we reached the interior portion of the detail. All of the plastic, rubber, and vinyl portions of the interior were cleaned with PH balanced interior cleaner sprayed directly onto the toothbrush, or towel to ensure surfaces were colorfast tested and clean-ability was even throughout the interior.

All hard to reach interior areas were cleaned with a combination of microfiber towels, q-tips, compressed air and plastic crevice tools.

All of the leather received a 3 stage cleaning process and finished with our top of the line leather conditioner.

Part 7

Next we shampooed the carpets and floor mats using our souped up hot water extractor. All stubborn stains were pre-soaked. Floor mats were striped for a uniform look throughout the vehicle.

A couple before and after comparisons

After the airbrush touch up

Some before and after shots of the Lexan

The After Shots…

And now after two days of intensive detailing, we were happy with the results we had achieved. Dom remarked “this car was an absolute pleasure and an honor to detail. Any car enthusiast would have enjoyed every moment with this piece of motorsport history.”

From all of us at Northwest Auto Salon, we sincerely hope you enjoyed this write up and thanks for reading.

A little about this car for those enthusiasts out there…This special vehicle that we gratefully had an opportunity to work on is a very rare example of a 1986 Ford RS200. Originally styled by Ghia the RS200 was a limited production car of 200 of which were made to compete in Group B rally racing. This class of racing was outlawed in part to do with the RS200 and the “Killer B’s” from the deaths and injuries caused by the sheer speed these cars did on the rally. This particular car is Chassis #168 and is the very rare Evolution “S” model equipped with a 4 wheel drive system and a turbocharged 2.1 Litre 4 cyl engine producing 650bhp and accelerating this cars title to being one of the “quickest production car in the world” with a 0-60 in 2.1 seconds. 20 Evolution models were made, 4 Evolution “S” models and this is the only 1986 Ford Cosworth RS200 B Evo “S” in Blue that exists in the world. Little to say, we were honored when our client expressed interest in having the vehicle restoratively detailed by us at NorthWest Auto Salon.

More information about this car as well as Cosworth tuned Ford RS200’s please have a look at www.rs200.org

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