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Pay homage at the mecca of shiny that is Ultimate Dubs. The perfect way to spend a weekend drooling over the works of devotion that many VW devotees spend years, months, weeks and many a long winter night restoring, repairing and fettling to a standard that makes them almost too perfect to drive on filthy, pot-hole strewn UK roads.

Saqib Ahmed’s Mk1 Golf 16v Turbo is amongst one of the most pristine and rapid classic hot hatches that the UK has to offer

The best thing about being a part of Europe’s vibrant VW scene is getting to experience a handful of static indoors shows that are all about community and coming together following a winter of not seeing your ‘car friends’.  It’s probably much the same with Japanese events, Ford gatherings or any other marque specific get together. The sense of coming together under one roof, which is perfectly adjacent to a couple of hotels where everyone gathers for a swift half in the evening, makes Telford International Centre, and Ultimate Dubs in particular, something of a season opener for anyone who has been accepted into the hallowed halls with their beloved VW.

The culmination of many a late winter night spent grinding, welding, tweaking, buffing and polishing, UD (as it’s known in VW circles) has become an official season-opener amongst Volkswagen aficionados over the years, and is now in it’s fiftieth year since Dean Bergeson and his trusty band of followers started hosting the show in 2004.  For one weekend only in March the entire town of Telford is taken over by modified cars from the VAG stable, nightlife escalates and the population grows considerably as people from all across Europe drive to the West Midlands town to check out the latest trends and fashions in modified car culture.  Say what you will about the VW scene, but it still sets the tone when it comes to determining what’s to be hot over the next year or so.  Short of going to something as all-consuming as SEMA in Vegas or the Worthersee Treffern in Austria, shows such as UD still highlight the way. Smooth engine bays, stance fanaticism, air ride and wheels that many bank managers may scoff at were in attendance.

It’s not all VWs either, as many of the trade stands manage to sneak in some sublime machinery from other makes and marques.

2019 was no exception, Plush Automotive always make a big impact when it arrives at shows like this and the almost factory fresh Porsche 911 Carrera GTS (992) on AirLift air ride and 21-inch Rotiform wheels had everyone praying at the mecca of Plush once again. Revered as one of the UK’s boundary defining air ride installers, Luke Massey and his team once again stole the show with a display par excellence. Featuring a Mercedes AMG Black Edition, a brand new VW Tiguan on air and a handful of large and exceptionally capable Audis (R8 and A8 anyone?) this young man continues to innovate and excite with modern metal creations that pretty much define the term hellaflush – a term that denotes the fitment of the wheel to ‘arch gap. For those who like negative camber and stretched tyres, this three hall display case really could be your kind of nirvana.

Considered a ‘youth culture’ segment of automotive obsession, largely because the buzzword of ‘stance’ dominates amongst this particular breed of car devotee, there’s plenty to take away from the show and shine side of the event. With a hotly contested top 20 awards dished out to the entrants who are lucky enough to be hand-picked to be indoors, the judges agonise over the shortlist with fanatical precision.  The coveted best of show going this year went to a beyond immaculate, clinically clean Mk3 Golf fitted with a heavily breathed upon Audi 20 valve turbo engine. Really, this show is all about keeping car styling clean, subtle and simple, so much so that many onlookers will probably question what makes the vehicles indoors so special, but to the educated few who spot the intricacies and are prepared to analyse the attention to detail that goes into every build, this show season opener is a fantastic way to spend a couple of days hanging out with friend’s both old and new.

Detailing remains a key pursuit for many of the owners and it’s here that the devotion is clear to see. Fully stocked kit bags occupy almost every boot, owners often draft in professional detailers for last minute paint correction sessions on the show floor, and the car park outside is awash with suds as the onsite water supply is really put to the test.  Reflections then bounce off every vehicle under the harsh fluorescent light, owners and loved ones probably having spent the week prior to the event on hands and knees ensuring every nook and cranny of every vehicle is attended to.

Some say that in this crazy economic climate many of the youngsters who have invested their hard-earned cash into metal works of garage art, do so because they can’t get onto the property ladder, investing any disposal cash into a wide variety of Polos, Golfs and a smattering of Audi, Porsche, BMWs and Lamborghinis as well.  It’s all about understating the culture that motivates such a quest for restoration or paint perfection though, it’s about hanging out with friends, sharing a swift half at the bar and socialising with car people who you’ve never met before, maybe will never meet again.  People are always better when we’re with other people, and long may that continue with shows such as Ultimate Dubs always shining a light for the UK car culture that refuses to lay down and die. Business is generally brisk for those who book a trade stand, and the endless sea of bodies that flow through the halls on Saturday evening and all-day Sunday, suggests the popularity of Ultimate Dubs won’t decrease for some time to come.   This is about more than just a car show, it’s about being part of a lifestyle – fashion, music, cars, socialising – it all melds into one thing, and here at Autoglym we’re proud to be a part of car culture in all its glorious forms.  Whether we’re at Hampton Court caring for 60 of the world’s rarest cars as part of the Concours d’Elegance, or Telford International centre for Ultimate Dubs, the same sort of passion for perfection still applies and long may it continue! Nothing warms our heart like seeing these good people apply finishing touches with Rapid Detailer, Instant Show Shine, Fast Glass and the like. Godspeed one and all for show season!

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St. George’s Day is fast approaching, so we put our heads together and thought what Autoglym products would be useful to St. George on his dragon slaying quest…

Metal Polish

No Self respecting knight would ever think about going into battle without the shiniest armour possible. Fighting dragons is dirty work and metal plates will soon become dull and tarnished. Metal Polish will cut through that grime so he’ll look fresh for the princess.

Leather Cleaner 

It is all very well St. George looking good, but what about his trusty steed! We don’t have a horse shampoo, but we can make sure that the saddle is clean with our easy to use Leather Cleaner. You can keep your own in car saddle (AKA ‘Seat’) looking fresh too.
(Note: we have to point out that our leather products are for use on cars only, but we wanted to include it in our list, so just go with it).

Ultra High Definition Wax

When you are dragon slaying you need to use every trick in the book. If you wax your shield with our super glossy, reflective wax you can dazzle your dragon and gain precious seconds to strike! UHD Wax is best suited for vehicle paintwork, but every little helps in the fight of your life!

Interior Shampoo

Picture this, you’ve just had the hardest fight of your life and now you have to go on a date. You’re looking good, armour shining, shield gleaming, but wait! Your once pristine tunic is now splattered with dragon guts! You need a quick clean and this is the product to do it. Interior Shampoo is also suitable for all vehicle interior cleaning tasks, not just mythical beast blood.

So there you have it, our top recommended products for the discerning knight about town with a dragon to slay and a someone to rescue. Happy St. George’s Day. 

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Autoglym by Shaun Boyle - 1M ago

First off, stay away from fallout removers that have recently become popular on the market. Magma and Wheel Cleaning Mousse could be tempting to use, as the sight of the Iron Throne dripping with red, blood-like liquid would be something to behold. If used on an unlacquered iron surface like this though, these products would actually begin to break down the throne itself, which could make you rather unpopular in King’s Landing and put you at risk of a beheading/flaying.

Secondly, ensure that the Iron Throne’s surface is cool to the touch before applying a snow foam pre-wash, like Polar Blast. If the Throne is still hot after Drogon, or one of the other lads, has burnt the predecessor off of it, your product could dry on, making it more difficult to remove. Cover in foam and get your squire to bring you some wine, while you allow the product to loosen & lift larger particles of dirt from the surface, as well as softening that deeper engrained dirt underneath. Rinse.

Now to get rid of all those nasty niffs that good old King Robert must have left in there *dry heave*! Grab yourself a bucket of rinse water, to rid your wash mitt of dirt as you go, cover the Throne in Polar Wash and a few light glides over the surface should be enough agitation to completely clear any remaining dirt.

The Iron Throne is now clean. Congratulations! …You can still feel Joffrey’s annoying smug little smirk and hatred, deep rooted into it though, can’t you? Fear not. This is the stage where Metal Polish becomes your best friend. This stuff is formulated to tackle heavily tarnished metals. Metal Polish restores surfaces to their original finish and protects them with a layer of wax, bringing it back to those peaceful Targaryen times, before the Mad King went …well, mad!

Your Iron Throne is now looking what the Northern Folk would call ‘peng’. Oh, no wait, that’s the youth of today! Anyway, it’s looking spectacular. Think Daenerys sailing for Westeros, about to go and eff some ess up!! So, you’re going to want to keep it looking this way, right? After all, Winter Is Coming!

No problem, team. Grab that medieval pressure washer out again and give the throne a quick splash of Polar Seal. This stuff is fast acting, so if the Night King and his Army of the Dead are kicking off, you’ll still have time to immediately rinse off and be sitting there waiting for them in your best “Come At Me Bro” pose. Don’t forget to make sure you have your Dragon Glass crossbow at the ready, though, because to be fair they are a bit of an unruly bunch.

Okay, time to get comfy in your shiny Iron Throne, you’re ready for the final season of Game of Thrones. Enjoy!

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For Olivia’s Fiat 500 wedding car rental business, it is vital that she keeps on top of this tiny car and ensures that it always looks its very best for her discerning clientele.  We headed over to this little memory-maker’s home, Shelsley Walsh Hillclimb, where Toby Moody (Olivia’s husband) is heavily involved in the running of regular hillclimb and weekly social events, as a Director on the board. This Fiat 500 forms part of a very impressive fleet of classic vehicles at Shelsley– including the E30 BMW M3 Cecotto edition that appeared in a recent blog for one of our famous big cleans in the Autoglym Academy. Along for the day was also a brand new Fiat 500 courtesy of Fiatuk, and a tiny scale model version that Toby and Olivia’s little lad, Luca, was happy to have snow foamed as well on the day!

Luca’s scale replica Fiat 500 also received a swift coating of Polar Blast to bring it back to its very best

Now, the process of cleaning a bona-fide classic often involves slightly different methods and products from the norm.  Protecting the often single-stage paintwork, with no separate coat of lacquer over the top, often means that harsh abrasives and polishing gradually lifts the paint from the panels. If you’re too aggressive or keep going at the paintwork with abrasive products there’s a chance you could even end up back to the primer in extreme cases.  Without an ultrasonic depth thickness gauge to measure the paint in microns, it can be hard to tell exactly how much paint is actually on the panels you’re looking at, and as those gauges tend to cost upwards of £100 for a reliable one they’re very much a luxury item for professionals. Once you’ve established the thickness of the paintwork the next thing to do is measure how hot the paintwork is.  Although we took the photos on a beautifully sunny day, it was actually deceptively chilly out, so there were no worries about the products drying on too quickly, especially the case with our Magma fallout remover.

Measuring paint temperature is useful to assess whether the products are going to dry too quickly. Keeping the bodywork nice and wet ensures nothing can adhere to the paint during drying time. Make sure all products are removed with a hose to avoid watermarks.

Although the paintwork was already in very good condition for a 1969 Fiat, thanks largely to the fact that the car had been fully restored prior to Toby and Olivia taking possession, the clean-up process focused on smaller details with the unofficial Autoglym mascot, Stan The Mini Man.

Karl from the Autoglym TSS training team was also on hand with his jet wash and specially kitted out Transit to carry out the rejuvenation process. Having taken the temperature of the paintwork with a digital thermometer, Karl first addressed the engine bay and coated it in some Engine and Machine Cleaner before agitating in and around the engine bay with a soft hair brush.  The difference following a quick hose down with some fresh water, avoiding any major mechanical components, was night and day – years of built up oil and grime was instantly washed away.

The engine bay looked almost back to factory fresh thanks to the Engine and Machine cleaner

Then the real clean began using some Polar Blast snow foam applied via a pressure washer to loosen any ingrained contaminants and deposits of dirt and grime that had built up following a month of use up and down the UK.  Toby confessed that he enjoys nothing more than an afternoon spent pampering one his fleet though, so we think this month of dirt and grime may not have been as extreme as some.    This nicely loosened the build up before going at the tiny Italian with some luscious suds from UHD Shampoo for the overall clean. As with any cleaning process it’s important to keep contact to a minimum before touching the surface with a wash mitt or sponge.

Thanks to the dense suds of Polar Blast any ingrained dirt is loosened and dragged free

Following a rinse off with the hose, attention turned to applying some Magma iron particle remover. Acting almost as a liquid clay this wonder stuff accelerates corrosion of any iron contaminants that aren’t generally visible to the eye and can be found wedged into the lacquer or paintwork itself. In this instance the results were profound and clearly visible. It’s especially important to rinse Magma off before it dries and turns white.

Magma did a stellar job of finding a rather a sizeable amount of iron particles hidden in the Fiat 500’s finish

Then Karl tackled the wash phase of the cleanse.  Equipped with a wash bucket of UHD Shampoo and a rinse bucket, he went at the tiny Italian with a fresh wash mitt and bathed the entire car in the luxurious suds of high-end car wash perfection.

Two buckets and a fresh wash mitt helps to reduce the impact of scratch and mar inducing dirt from clinging to the paint or the mitt itself

Once rinsed, the car was then lovingly dried using the new to the market Autoglym Instadry towel.  This super-absorbent, specially coated microfibre cloth results in a quick, streak-free finish on both paintwork and glass, and has been developed in association with Vileda.

As the car already had a lovingly applied coat of UHD Wax upon it the beading suggested there was no need to apply again for a few months, but Shaun did go around the vehicle with a brief coating of Rapid Detailer to back up the shine and support the wax that was already on the vehicle. Shaun paid particular attention in between the engine cooling vents, and his meticulous attention to detail made the little Fiat look truly resplendent.

Attention then turned to the canvas roof, where two options were offered by Karl – Vinyl and Rubber Care or Bumper and Trim Gel. In the end he tried both to offer Toby a choice between either shiny or matt finish, but Bumper and Trim won through with it’s slightly glossier finish.

The final stage of the process was to have a bash at the rather large amount of polished metalwork that this classic little Fiat manages to pack in.  Naturally, Metal Polish was the instinctive choice and the removing of some pitting from the door handles and window frames was a truly wonderful sight to behold.  All in all, a winning day for the tiny little car to go forth and do BIG things for all who are lucky enough to drive or be driven in her.  Thanks Toby and Olivia, and Shelsley Walsh Hillclimb for the location on the day – what a superb way to spend a day in the countryside.

We’ve also got to say thanks to Toby for letting us have a ride up the hillside in the Autoglym Transit, complete with hundreds of baby pheasants that emerged from the scenery. Quite how people manage to accelerate out of the final bend at around 50mph and reach upwards of 150mph by the finishing line in the very fastest cars was truly mind-boggling.

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Autoglym by Shaun Boyle - 1M ago

Brands Hatch opened its gates to the 2019 BTCC media and public day this year with Sam Tordoff dominating the day’s proceedings with a blistering BTCC lap record around the 1.2mile Indy circuit. Here’s the Autoglym insight into how it occurred.

The 2019 Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship is primed and ready for the opening event of the season at Brands Hatch this weekend (6/7 April), after the capacity 30-car grid completed a successful test day at the famous Kent venue.

Both journalists and fans alike descended upon the Kent circuit on Wednesday 27th March. From here the assembled BTCC circus was in attendance to test, tune and showcase what can be expected for the 2019 season.

Why were Autoglym there?  Well, we actually sponsor and support a number of the teams – including the Subaru Levorgs of Team BMR’s Senna Proctor and Ashley Sutton,  the Shredded Wheat with Gallacher Ford Focus team of Tom Chilton and Ollie Jackson, and also the Team Toyota GB with Ginsters Toyota Corolla of Tom Ingram. From the outset the action was fast paced. Despite being a test day there was no holding back – the initial grid assembly on the start line was a sight to behold as the entire 2019 pack gathered at the hallowed 1.198mile Indy Circuit, all straining to unleash the winter-built horsepower along the slightly off-camber Brabham straight.   After a couple of demo laps behind a pace car for the ITV film crew to get the shots necessary for forthcoming ITV4 footage, it was time for testing.

We’d have predicted that as both a public and media day the pit lane garages would be off-limits, but we were able to sneak back stage and get an intimate portrait of the inner BTCC workings.  Having bumped into Jason Plato, Tom Chilton, Josh Sutton and even Nicolas Hamilton (brother of a very famous motor racing Hamilton) we almost fell over ourselves with a little bit of fan worship, but it soon dawned upon us that we were allowed to go anywhere we wanted with the much-coveted media bib on.

To the exceptionally famous Druids hairpin it was, as we trekked along the tyre walls to gain access to areas of the track previously unexplored by mere mortals such as myself, the access granted was fantastic and we soon had a selection of high-speed images in the bag from the morning session. Wheel lifting, brake lock ups and even some friendly rubbing was there for all to see as the solid race chassis’ hooked hard into the Kentish tarmac.

The morning session saw Sam Tordoff earn early bragging rights as he sat on top of the timesheets in his first official outing for the Cobra Sport AmD AutoAid/RCIB Insurance team. His Honda Civic (FK2) looking like a solid contender for the championship already.

Reigning champions West Surrey Racing fired out a warning shot to the rest of the field, storming into second and third positions during the morning running. The BMW manufacturer squad only completed the build of its brand new 330i M Sport less than 48 hours before the test, but Andrew Jordan and Colin Turkington proved its potency straight out of the box.

Lap times further quickened in the afternoon and it was Tordoff again setting the pace in the older shaped Honda Civic Type R. Team Shredded Wheat Racing with Gallagher’s Tom Chilton moved into second ahead of Halfords Yuasa Racing’s Dan Cammish. Tordoff’s time in the afternoon was so fast that he broke the previous BTCC lap record for the Indy Circuit set in 2016 by Tom Ingram. With a lap time of 47.927, Tordoff pipped Ingram to a 47.990 second lap previously set by Ingram in qualifying for the 2016 season opener

All in all, it heralds a highly competitive 2019 season, with plenty of action guaranteed when the championship kicks off at Brands Hatch over the weekend of April 6th + 7th. Be sure to tune in on ITV4 for live coverage of Sunday’s three rounds as well as an action packed supporting series of racing from the Clio Cup, Porsche GT championship, Ginetta Juniors and more besides.

If the excitement and hub bub of a very well attended media and public day is anything to go by, the 2019 season is set to be stellar for all involved.

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Whether it is the holiday season or a short bank holiday, you should never rule a road trip out of your wishlist. Road trips are a great chance to combine closeness to nature with visiting cities and having an adventure at the same time.

Travelling with family is what makes a road trip even more exciting because apart from spending quality time together you can collect the best memories, pictures, and stories. So whenever planning what to do on your next holiday, why not decide to explore Europe by road?

Are we there yet?

If you travel by car with kids this question is your absolute nightmare.

But jokes aside, before scheduling a trip from the UK to other European countries you need to know the estimated time and distance between your starting point and destination. For example, the driving time from London to Amsterdam (which, by the way, is an amazing place to explore) is approximately six hours.

Keep allowance for breaks and restroom trips on the way, especially when you’re with your young ones. The following infographic is a good estimate of time taken travelling from London to most European destinations.

Knowing the limits

Whether you drive a car or ride a motorcycle, certain limitations apply to everyone.

Drivers from the UK might need extra documentation once the UK leaves EU. Similarly, motorists are required to purchase an International Driving Permit (IDP). Check out if you need to carry a green card to Europe whilst travelling by road in advance.

Motorists should make sure that they follow the speed limit because the speeding fines are definitely not worth it. There’s quite a big variation of speed limits for different countries in Europe ranging from as low as 100 km/h in Denmark to as high as 140 km/h in Poland or Bulgaria. So keep a note before you set out to drive so you can avoid hefty fines.

Planning and preparing

Once you’ve chalked out a rough plan for travelling, move on to making all the necessary preparations.

First of all, take your car or motorcycle for servicing so that professionals can check whether you brakes work properly, tyres are well inflated, the oil is changed, and transmission is in order. Then prepare all the extra equipment, starting with an emergency kit.

Be ready even for the worst-case scenario by keeping a protection kit with jumper cables,  and other necessary tools and accessories. You might be required by law to carry such items as reflective jackets, warning triangles, breathalyzer, etc. Expect fast changing or extreme weather conditions such as driving in the snow (a bottle of good de-icer might be of great help!). After all, any emergencies or unexpected situations may cause huge delays, costs, and stress so be sure you don’t get stranded.

Car seats for kids are essential and so are the snacks and activities that you will need to keep them busy. Remember that your sat-nav will be your best friend while travelling so make arrangements to protect it and ensure that it is in order. You can use Rapid Detailer for greasy fingerprint removal from sat-nav screens or windows.

Double check if you’re bringing along all the required documents such as passport, UK driving license and the International Driving Permit, travel and vehicle insurance documents, VISA (if required), breakdown cover etc. For safe passage through different countries, check out for other miscellaneous stuff as well as extra costs related to it – for instance emission stickers, entering fees, vignettes, etc.

Naturally, when traveling abroad by car from UK you’re most likely to use the motorway network. Remember that different rules apply to different countries. Below you’ll find the information regarding speed limits and toll roads on motorways in Europe, divided according to the toll collection systems:

  • Countries with free public motorways
  • 2) Countries where vignettes are required for motorway usage
  • 3) Countries with paid motorway networks
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The VW van has for many years been a classic amongst the free-roaming, surfing, festival, mountain bike and camping fraternity. Ever since the now iconic Split Screen bus broke cover in the mid to late ’50s, VW devotees from around the globe have idolised this humble commercial vehicle turned leisure pursuit.   While the new-age T4, T5 and T6 models arguably aren’t quite as well revered as the Split Screen and Bay Window models, the popularity of the 1996 onwards derivatives is noticeably on the rise with a younger generation who can’t quite afford the lofty residuals of the pre-80s variants.

The T5 before it went in to the Autoglym TSS detailing bay. Following four weeks of daily abuse it was looking rather filthy

So, when Autoglym said they’d like to clean my lightly modified 2007 VW T5 and give it a winter time clean and protect overhaul, I naturally jumped at the chance.

Brake dust and daily road contaminants had really started taking a hold over the wheels. Luckily they’d been coated in Autoglym Wheel Protector months prior

Previous applications of tyre shine that hadn’t been left to dry properly before driving had found their way up the side of the van.

Having accrued around a month’s worth of dirt, road film and general debris, both Karl and Martin had their work cut out to make the Grauweiss (L902) paintwork look shiny once again.  With 220,000 miles on the clock and no known bodywork carried out from new – apart from a front-end facelift to the later T5.1 bonnet, lights and grille, I was dubious as to whether a day spent at the Autoglym academy would be able to return the shine.  I need not have worried. The lads knew exactly how to get the best from the aging paint.

Karl started by measuring the depth of the paint in microns to ascertain whether it could be mopped and polished. It was decided to just strip off the existing wax and start afresh without resulting to a DA polisher

First thing first, a liberal application of TFR was applied to start dragging the really stubborn dirt from paintwork. Once hosed off, the lads applied an extra thick coating of Polar Blast Snowfoam to really start lifting the grime.  Active Insect Remover was also liberally squirted onto the front bumper to remove any nasty creepy crawlies before being agitated with a wash mitt and hosed off.  A bucket of UHD Shampoo was then lovingly massaged around the Van.  Having lifted all of the dirt and traffic film from the vehicle, attention turned to the engine bay where Engine and Machine Cleaner totally restored the sheen to the once scruffy engine and surrounding areas. In fact the engine bay was the biggest surprise of all.  I can’t believe what a difference a few minutes with some soft hair brushes and the right sort of product made in here. Truly staggering.

Active Insect Remover does a superb job of breaking down any little critters that may have found their way on to a front bumper

Polar Blast was used after a liberal coating of Multiwash TFR

The difference in the engine bay was astounding after a swift application and brief swish around with a soft hair brush

While Karl and Martin were on a role, they also attended to the door hinges using some Intensive Tar Remover squirted onto some polishing rag and massaged it into the offending areas. Once hosed off with clean water the inner door area looked brand new.

Custom Wheel Cleaner was used to remove the baked-on brake dust that was clinging to the 1552 Tarmac wheels that currently reside on my T5. With little more than a few squirts and little agitation with a soft hair brush the Tornado Red sheen of the wheels was soon back in attendance. No more invasive brake dust to eat into the paintwork here.  Thanks chaps!

Custom Wheel Cleaner was used to remove most of the baked on brake dust and road contaminants. A soft hair brush was again used to agitate and remove the grime

Last but by no means least, Martin set to the interior headlining of the cabin. Using some diluted Interior Cleaner on a soft chamois cloth the dirt that he managed to get out of the fabric was incredible. I literally could not believe the difference that the lads made to the van in just half a day, and even two weeks later it was still looking remarkably clean and tidy thanks to a quick and effective application of UHD Wax once I got the van back home.  Is there a better way to spend a couple of hours on a Sunday afternoon than with a handful of clean microfibres and a tub of wax?  I certainly think of a much more therapeutic way to while away a few hours. Yeah, so it’s only a van, but by heck it looked amazing once Autoglym had worked its magic that day.

Interior Cleaner made an absolutely fantastic job of lifting years of ingrained dirt from the headlining and interior plastics

Just look at the dirt that was drawn from the headlining

The end result was a fantastic transformation

Ready to fight another day

A truly stunning transformation for this 217,000 mile former builder’s hack

Thanks to James Wallace for the loan of the T5 to put this article together.

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Chris McClerry is one of the best-known faces amongst the regular BTCC grids and pit walks throughout any motorsport season. Even when it’s not peak race season, he can still be found buffing the BTCC cars at events such as Autosport International. One glimpse at his Instagram account is all it takes to realise that he’s an enthusiast as well a first class detailer. Someone who relishes the opportunity and absolutely loves what he does – his passion and overflowing sense of pride is totally infectious. He loves his job and that comes across in every ounce of his personality.  Unsurprising then to learn that Autoglym are proud to be associated with his firm: Mawsley Car Valeting – www.mawsleycarvaleting.co.uk

Luckily, Chris has been an exceptionally keen advocate for the Autoglym range for many years and has built his business off the back of Autoglym’s constantly evolving formulas.  Over the years he has found intense pride in detailing so many of the competition cars that appear on TV week in, week out. He’s truly become part of the furniture of the BTCC championship after attending his first race at Rockingham around a decade ago, then voluteering to help out around the paddock, before landing a gig on the hospitality side of things. Eventually though, his talent for keeping all vehicles looking pristine shone through and the people in the upper echelons of BTCC racing started asking him to detail their own personal cars.

As a result, Chris is now responsible for keeping on top of the Medical staff vehicles – including the Porsche Panamera of the head Doctor, and the VIP, grid-leading Porsche Panamera belonging to race championship director, Alan Gow.  “Mr Gow is a very discerning customer.” Chris tells us.  “He likes to have an exceptionally clean car for every parade lap, so it needs constant attention throughout most race meets to look A+ all of the time. I love it really.”  Chris is also responsible for fuelling the car, so he’s truly access all areas.

Indeed, Chris set to the Sapphire Blue Porsche of Mr Gow almost as soon as we arrived at Silverstone that morning.  He began the process with a swift coat of Polar Blast Snow Foam to loosen the worst of the dirt, backed that up with an application of UHD Shampoo and then dried the bodywork with an Autoglym drying towel along with some help from wife, Pippa.

Having applied a coat of UHD Wax the day prior to the racing, Mr Gow’s Porsche was already exceptionally well protected, so a swift once over with some Rapid Detailer was enough to reinforce the shine and top up the protection for ultimate beading and hydrophobic behaviour.

Thanks to Autoglym’s close association and sponsorship of the BRM Subaru team and also the Shredded Wheat Ford Focus’ team,  we were lucky enough to get to walk amongst the pit lane and experience the grid walk as well – truly a bucket list moment for many race fans.

 

Chris’s arsenal of Autoglym products was truly massive though, all stored in his MCV VW T5 Transporter company vehicle.  Being fully mobile means he keeps an exceptional selection of both trade and retail products on board, but when quizzed his top five must have products for the newcomer to detailing are:   Super Resin Polish,  UHD Shampoo,  Rapid Detailer,  Active Insect Remover and Polar Blast snow foam.   He also favours some of the trade only Multiwash TFR for the removal of traffic film and dirt from all vehicle surfaces, also handy for applying to interior surfaces and wiping over with a damp chamois to remove any ingrained dirt.

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Retired your New Year’s resolution ambitions already? Fret not, for now the pressure of Dry January, Veganuary and the like is off and you can make life better via the all-consuming power of car cleaning.

Why set a resolution that can’t be kept anyway? Keep things simple. Make your number one resolution something that makes both you and your car happier each and every week.  By cleaning your car properly on a regular basis it’s possible to drastically reduce the chances of scratching your paintwork, marring the lacquer, or even allowing the chemicals in bird droppings and industrial fallouts from really bedding in and causing damage to the finish of one’s vehicle.   Alternatively, you could always visit one of those Gymnasium’s, as we believe they might be called, but where’s the fun in that?

Autoglym Polar Blast - Snow Foam - YouTube

A simple, weekly pressure washer Polar Blast could be all that’s required to keep on top of the grime that easily collects at this time of year. If you want to take things a stage further, it’s entirely possible to wash and wax in record time thanks to Autoglym’s new Polar Series. Pre-wash with Polar Blast, wash with Polar Wash, and finally protect with Polar Seal. So, you may be asking, how can you tell if your car’s paintwork already has wax or protection on it?  Simply spray water on to any panel, particularly onto a bonnet, and if the water sheets off without beading, it’s safe to assume there’s no protection already in place. We’ll come back to that in a moment – first, the wash process.

Even following a week of battling the UK road network at this moment in time (the heart of a UK winter) it’s surprising how much dirt can collect in muddy, wet, often sub-zero conditions.  If a New Year’s resolution of, “I must keep my car clean” is on anyone’s to do list, here’s how to achieve it both quickly and with minimal effort.

If you’re limited for time, why not chose this simple 20-minute pre-wash, wash and protect regime. A pressure washer, ideally with a foam gun attachment, allows for Polar Blast snow foam to be loaded on to your vehicle, and will get to work dragging and loosening the majority of the stubborn dirt from any paint finish.

Follow this up with a dose of Polar Wash, also applied with your pressure washer. Using this safe but powerful shampoo and a wash mitt will remove any particularly stubborn deposits without dragging those larger bits over your bodywork. The larger particles are hoovered up by the pre-wash, reducing any potential to cause swirl marks when you’re agitating in the wash phase.  Hose off the remaining suds and then as the panels are still wet you can use your pressure washer again to spray on Polar Seal and rinse off, before drying. Hey presto! Your car will be looking as good as new and your panels will be protected with beading ability par excellence for up to three months.

The New Year, New You campaign might seem like a million miles away and totally unachievable, but you can achieve some absolutely sparkling results without having to invest hours and hours of elbow grease. Some may even say that a regular car washing routine counts as valuable exercise, so it’s entirely possible to kill two birds with one stone with Autoglym’s New Year’s resolution. Once you get into a Polar regime, you’ll be surprised how quickly you can work off those stubborn Christmas excesses before the Spring arrives.

Keep those harsh road conditions at bay, keep on top of the unsightly grime and ensure that your car is in tip top condition with a true sense of pride in its appearance.

Have no fear that you’ll compromise existing products either, Polar Seal tops up any current protection and enhances both the glossiness and water beading ability of any wax that’s already in place.  All that remains is to wait for it to rain so you can stand back and admire your surprisingly labour free Polar Programme.  Same time next week, yes?

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I first polished my Mark II Golf GTi in about 1993. I discovered this smooth finish that appeared after some work on a sunny afternoon before I took the car to a hill climb; I’m sure it went faster on the way there but probably not. Over the years I always gave my cars a spring and a winter ‘coat’ of polish to protect it from the dirt and crud of the countryside lanes around home. I even found that the left hand side of the car got more of a hammering because of the water collecting on the edge of the lanes mixed in with horse muck, dirt and stones, so I’d give that extra coats of polish in the winter.

But what of the next level? I’d had a go with wax about ten years ago but couldn’t understand how the hell you’d rub the stuff off. It was all swirly and sticky…so I parked it on the garage shelf and threw it all away a couple of years ago.

Then Autoglym came into view. ‘Try this’. they said. Hmmmm. “I’m not a fan of wax as that experience all those years ago was terrible, and besides, I don’t have an electric polisher and I haven’t got arms like Popeye.”

How brilliantly wrong I was.

The guys at Autoglym asked if I could bring my M3 to the Academy at HQ I didn’t know what else I could do to the car to make it better looking. It isn’t a 10/10 garage queen that’s taken to concours on a trailer, but moreover a car I use and has a bit of wear and tear on it. One thing I’ve struggled to get out of the bonnet is a bit of dusty red that happens with red cars. It wasn’t quite an unloved Post Office van, but it was a bit swirly and no matter what I did I couldn’t get it ‘right’. I’d given the car a good polish and wax in the early summer and I thought it pretty tidy to the point of nearly backing out a couple of weeks before the big day. “What can you do to an already tidy car?” I asked. “Just bring it along. You’ll be surprised.”

Ryan was on the case at the Autoglym Academy with all his tips and tricks, and used some Super Resin Polish before the UHD Wax went on top. It was a mid-October day that I scooted over to Hertfordshire with a sunny morning but a terrible afternoon and evening forecast. Nooo! All that tidying up and the car was going to get dirty again before I even got home so my eyes were always flickering to the skies to see what was in store. In the end I don’t know what gods I bought night long beer for in a previous life, but I got home only for the rain to start as the garage door was locked.

It was a day where I learnt car care products aren’t as frightening as they may seem to be from the outside. The engine cleaner did just that with a few paint brushes to apply with and correct microfibre cloths to clean up with, but as Ryan said, “I have all sorts of tools and nick-nack gadgets I use to get into the corners here and there. My most bizarre are little plastic toy swords out of crackers…” (We don’t know what he used them for as we were laughing at this point.)

It was a day where I learnt car care products aren’t as frightening as they may seem to be from the outside. The engine cleaner did just that with a few paint brushes to apply with and correct microfibre cloths to clean up with, but as Ryan said, “I have all sorts of tools and nick-nack gadgets I use to get into the corners here and there. My most bizarre are little plastic toy swords out of crackers…” (We don’t know what he used them for as we were laughing to much at this point.)

I now use UHD wax on my everyday car regularly with the near comedy moments coming when I clean a filthy car only for the water to bead off as if it was new  when I am rinsing all the bubbles off. Just how does it stay on the car after weeks and weeks of British winter weather? How? Clever Autoglym boffins they are…

UHD Wax has truly transformed my level of car cleaning with its ease of application that is exactly like the videos on line. There is no cheating on the videos…it just goes on with the applicator and wipes off that easily.

Thank you Autoglym for teaching me to overcome my bad memories of ridiculously old 90s rubbish to bring me scorching into the 21st century with the proper stuff. I think the best compliment I gained was when I’d UHD Waxed my everyday car only for a friend to ask how much the car detailer had charged to do it.

Mission accomplished I thought.

Thanks go to Toby Moody for the above blog, sent in to us after his visit to HQ. For more info on Toby’s amazing involvement in motorsport, click here https://www.tobymoody.com

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