The ultimate car valet? Supercar detailing on an old Golf

Published: 12 October 2011

Ever wondered how to spruce up an old car? Vehicles have a nasty habit of ageing badly, scratches, rust and scrapes multiplying like spots on a teenager. We know - because Andy Franklin's old 2001 Golf 1.9 TDI has racked up 140,000 miles and as many stubborn stains. This car has lain dormant for two years, yet sailed through its MOT with just new discs and pads. Time now to see if an ace clean by specialist PerfectionValet could turn our 10-year-old Golf into something looking fresh and young as Wolfsburg intended!

Our 2001 Golf's had a tough 140,000 miles. Can PerfectionValet make it like new?

They start with a power wash. Those mucky sills are sprayed with emulsifier degreaser, allowing it to penetrate the grease but also be cleaned by water. Scroll on to see the results...

Some of the special polishes and soaps inside PerfectionValet's van. That tub in the middle alone costs £3000! The van is packed with different types of waxes for different types of vehicles. Did you know that Italian paint is different to German paint? I didn't, but his gadgets can tell exactly how thick paint is around the car. Zymol have different waxes made for this. This is hyper nerdy car cleaning!

It's a specifically modified van with a water tank plumbed in

Hinges, parcel shelfs. Dirt is left no hiding place! 

A special putty - that blue bar - is applied all over the bodywork to remove all imperfections, tar, dirt and overspray on paintwork

 This is going to be a thorough valet. Perfection strip the car where possible. Even the gearlever gaitor is peeled back to hoover a decade of crumbs

So who are PerfectionValet? Richard Tipper has 22 years experience in the valeting business and started out cleaning cars for his dad's fleet cars. His father worked for Lotus and Richard ended up focusing on the higher end of the market. He's built quite a reputation and is also a complete car enthusiast. He's got some great stories to tell and you can see some eye-popping pictures telling his story on Twitter. Follow him @perfectionvalet 


PerfectionValet start by washing the car, including the engine. They spent an hour cleaning the sills and rubber seals alone, just to get rid of all that green mildew

That special putty works wonders. A normal wash just won't have the same effect. In the old days it used to be a solvent that would damage the lacquer

It's all in the preparations - hence why it takes PerfectionValet a full day to go over our Golf. All the seats are pulled back, headrests off, to get in those awkward nooks and crannies. They even jet wash the parcel shelf

Polish is applied, won't be machined as it will be too harsh on the paintwork. And the value of our Golf doesn't make that form of detailing cost effective. Polish used on glass but not windscreen, as it's dangerous and creates smears with the wipers in use

I was genuinely shocked at the difference this valet made. Imagine getting to 40 and having a facelift that made you look 20 again. PerfectionValet turned up at 8.30am and left at 3.00pm. The look on their faces when they saw the challenge wasn't horror - as I'd expected - but excitement. Perhaps a cruddy Golf is a nice change from the Porsches and rare cars he nowadays specialises in. I'm amazed at the difference afterwards - and remember he can sometimes spend a week on top-end exotica

The attention to detail is almost stupidly good. The carpets and upholstery have stripes hoovered in like a wicket at Lords. But has it increased in value? Undoubtedly. Getting our Golf MOT'ed took it from £400 to around £800, but a few quotes suggest in this pristine condition we might fetch as much as £2k. Advertised at £1600, we should shift it no problems.

That's a rough doubling in value after a major valet. Normally he charges around £475 for a machine-polished prestige car valet, but our Golf would cost around £225. More than your local eastern-European drop-in centre - but you'd be unlikely to see your value soar fourfold with a more basic clean.

Richard's been doing this for 22 years now and gets some strange valeting requests. The owner of an old Ford GT40 covered with exhaust fumes and soot at the rear wanted to detail the car, but keep the vogueish smoke fumes at the back to show it was loved and used. Not the sort of request he gets when he details the car's at Porsche's Silverstone Experience Centre.

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