BMW 330ci Cabriolet – a 33 hour “White Detail”.

6th April 2012, the car was purchased by my customer.
8th April 2012, the car was collected and driven to WhiteDetails’ HQ.
13th April 2012, the car was complete and handed over to a delighted customer.
14th April 2012, the car driven home to Germany.

Having previously worked on 10 other cars for the same customer, this was to be the biggest yet.

A new purchase – one previous owner, only 51k miles, full BMW service history but lacking TLC and ‘brilliance’.

My task was to bring the BMW back to life. Back to better than new…!

- Major Paint Correction – Full interior care with leather treatments – Engine-bay & wheels off/arches – Dent removal – Wheel refurbs – Rag top cleanse and protect

First job with this mammoth Detail was to remove the wheels and ensure they’re contaminant free in readiness for the refurb.

A pet hate of mine is when wheels are refurbed but not correctly cleaned beforehand… (Resulting in the inner rim of the wheel ruined by lacquering over contaminants and dirt that will now never be removed…)

It only takes a few minutes to correctly strip the wheels, front and back, of all contaminants to ensure the wheels remain ‘as new’, throughout (before AND after the repair work)

In an ideal world, the four wheels would have been sent away to be shot blasted, completely stripped and painted throughout. In this instance however, due to time scales and logistics, this wasn’t possible. A reputable mobile firm, one that I would happily use again (if I were able to do the pre-clean beforehand), was assigned for the task which would happen later in the week.

For now, best get cracking.

Wheels cleaned with AMDetails Safe Wheel Cleaner.

Car-Pro Iron-X used to eat into and dissolve the mass build-up of brake dust and bonded metallic contaminants.

Next up, the removal of tar deposits and old wheel weight glue. AutoSmart Tardis seen in action here.

With the front facing receiving similar treatments, the wheels came up like new (minus the kerbing issue)

At the same time, digging out 10 years of crud from the wheel arches and liners.

More sticky glue and tar spots removed with AutoSmart Tardis.

Iron-X having a workout today…




Each wheel received four-five hits to get perfect.

Moving on to a general inspection and engine bay.

Pre-soaked with AutoSmart Hazsafe, all intricate areas and housings were cleaned with additional AutoSmart G101.

Having completed the ‘wet-work’ (for now) and tar removal, the car was brought inside for claying.

Various surface contaminants removed in this stage. Massive improvements already.

Blown dry to remove all traces of water and the car doesn’t look too bad! (…from a distance)

Move in a little closer, and with the correct lighting, it’s a different story.

N/S of the vehicle, front to the rear, covered in deep scratches, buffertrails from previous machine polishing attempts and all sorts of random blemishes and nicks…

A similar story down the O/S:

High up on the O/S/R quarter a series of scratches caught my eye. The hazing you see surrounding the scratches, this would have been caused by incorrect DIY use of T-Cut (or similar). Avoid at all costs!

Similar markings found on the bonnet:

Other general areas:

As you can see, plenty to get stuck into.

So, because the car is a low mileage example, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s going to be in great condition!

The 1 previous owner and full BMW service history ‘sold’ the car to my customer. Knowing the paintwork wasn’t in the best of shapes wasn’t a huge concern as they knew within a few days, it would be visiting WhiteDetails for a complete make over anyway.

Initial pad and polish combinations were tested on the bonnet until I was happy with the results. A three stage polishing process was required to lift 95%+ of the defects and to restore the pin sharp clarity and gloss.

O/S/F wing before/after:

O/S door before:

Top half complete:

Lower half complete:

(Spot the one nasty mark on the top half that was too deep to safely remove completely…)

Hardtop roof, before/during/after:

Boot lid, taped and ready:

After several heavy compounding sets with wool:

Refined and finished:

It’s at this point I welcome Dan The Dent Man (07966 413714)

On both rear quarters, some nasty dents had been induced.

With 15 years experience, the job was a doddle for Dan.

Remember the scratches with the hazing caused by T-cut?

They took some shifting. No hand polishing was ever going to remove these…

With the entire rear quarter now corrected, polished, refined and of course free of dents, it’s starting to shape up quite nicely.

Repeat down the N/S. Dent removal etc

Light clusters polished to remove hazing and swirls. 50/50:

Once Dan had done his bit, including a tiny ‘ding’ on the boot lid, I continued down the N/S.


N/S & bonnet complete.

Bumpers, mirrors and sills now.

Front bumper before/after:

Rear bumper:



Machine polishing finished late on day 2.

Early doors, day 3.

Ready for a good rinse to remove heavy dusting.

At this time, the painted hardtop was removed and ragtop raised to be cleaned with 303 convertible cleaner.

Back inside, blown dry once again and engine bay dressed accordingly.

Roof protected with 303 fabric guard and left to dry.

Paintwork cleansed via DA, a 3M polishing pad and AutoFinnese Rejuvenate.

Customer’s wax of choice was my premium wax, Raceglaze Black Label.

With the roof now dry, it was lowered to allow better access & light to the interior.

Both leather and plastics looking a little tired with engrained dirt and scuffs.

Mats scrubbed and shampooed. 50/50:

50/50 on leather armrest:

Dirty rear deck:

Lots of scuffs to tackle on lower plastics:

Leather cleaned with LTT Auto Ultra Foam throughout.

Almost there…

Hardtop back on and waxed:

Wheels removed ready for refurb:

Arches dressed:

Glass cleaned throughout. Exhaust polished with #00 wire wool and Meguiars Metal Polish. Exterior britework polished with Jeffs Werkstat Prime. Final wipedown with a detailing spray and finished.

It’s amazing what can be achieved on a 10 year old car in some 30 hours.

Thrilled with the results. Throughout.

Thanks for reading.