View Full Version : 1956 Cadillac Eldorado Show Car Makeover

Mike Phillips
Mar 28th, 2008, 10:17 AM
1956 Cadillac Eldorado Show Car Makeover (http://meguiarsonline.com/forums/showthread.php?t=22875)

1956 Cadillac Show Car Makeover
This 1956 Cadillac gleams like a polished diamond and is a first class representation of the Cadillac marque, however upon close inspection of the finish you can see random, isolated deeper scratches, (RIDS), throughout the paint that really need to be removed in order to give this car the finish it truly deserves for show or display.

At the Marconi Museum




Again, the above photos show that the Cadillac has a real shiny finish on it already but what you can't see are all the swirls and scratches that have built-up in the finish over the years. Our goal is to remove as many of these as we safely are able to.

One of the hardest things there is to do is to take a show car finish to a higher level, it's pretty easy to show a dramatic difference to a neglected finish but to start with something that already looks great and take it to a higher level, well that requires quality product and quality people to apply them and remove them using proper technique.


The Caddy has just arrived!
She just barely fits inside Meguiar's Garage!

Okay... we're off to a great start... first a couple of shots to kind of show you how big of a car this is...




Just barely fits... :D


Anytime we have class or event like this and especially when part of a car is sticking outside the garage door we have a safety plate that covers the garage door opener buttons to prevent the garage door from being closed onto the car.



Mike Phillips
Mar 28th, 2008, 10:44 AM
Up till Tuesday morning we didn't know what type of paint the Cadillac had on it, so before we began working we decided to do a simple test to check for either a single stage paint or a basecoat/clearcoat finish. This question comes up from time to time and is one of the question is Meguiar's FAQ here...

FAQ: General Questions about Paint (http://forumarchive.meguiars.com/forums/thread/19282.aspx)
3. How can I tell if I have a clear coat finish?

To determine whether you have a clear coat or a single-stage finish perform this simple test.

Find an inconspicuous area to test, such as the lower rear quarter panel of your car's fender or inside the door jamb.
Clean this area first with car wash and water or Meguiar's Quik Detailer. You don't want any dirt or grime to interfere with your test.
Using a small piece of white cotton, such as a piece of terry cloth towel, rub a little paint cleaner or Cleaner/Wax into the paint of this inconspicuous area.

After rubbing for a few moments, turn your cloth toward you and look to see if there is any color from your paint on the cloth. If you have a red car and you now have red paint residue on your cloth, this is a pretty good indicator that you have a single stage finish. If you have a red car and you don't see any red paint residue on your cloth, this is a pretty good indicator that you have a clear coat.

To be 100% sure, you should test in a couple of different areas.

Note: If you have a white, or very light colored car you should use a dark piece of cotton cloth and look for the color of your car's finish on it after rubbing some paint cleaner or Cleaner/Wax into the finish for a few moments.

Since we had to test this car's paint before working on it we took the liberty to capture how to do this using pictures...

To test a car to find out if it has a clear coat finish or a single stage finish you want to use a paint cleaner and a white cloth of some type, if you're working on a white car then you'll want to use a dark colored cloth because if the car is in fact a single stage paint then you won't be able to see the white pigment you're removing on white cloth, so use a dark colored cloth.
For this example we're going to use Deep Crystal Paint Cleaner (http://www.meguiars.com/?auto-paint-cleaners/Deep-Crystal-System-Paint-Cleaner) with one of our Even Coat Microfiber Applicator Pads (http://www.meguiars.com/?specialized-tools-applicators/Even-Coat-Microfiber-Applicator-Pads). You could also use ScratchX (http://www.meguiars.com/?auto-paint-cleaners/ScratchX) as both ScratchX and Deep Crystal Paint Cleaner are both white in color and work very well for checking for a clear coat paint or a pigmented or single stage paint.

It' also important to check for paint type on a number of different panels, and if you want to be 100% sure then check all the panels. It's possible to have one type of paint on one panel and another type of paint on a different panel. You can see we checked multiple panels when we did the Show Car Makeover on the 1956 Cadillac Eldorado Convertible (http://meguiarsonline.com/forums/post/30350.aspx).

Since we had to test this car's paint before working on it we took the liberty to capture how to do this using pictures...

For this example we're going to use Deep Crystal Paint Cleaner (http://www.meguiars.com/?auto-paint-cleaners/Deep-Crystal-System-Paint-Cleaner) with one of our Even Coat Microfiber Applicator Pads (http://www.meguiars.com/?specialized-tools-applicators/Even-Coat-Microfiber-Applicator-Pads). You could also use ScratchX (http://www.meguiars.com/?auto-paint-cleaners/ScratchX) as both ScratchX and Deep Crystal Paint Cleaner are both white in color and work very well for checking for a clear coat paint or a pigmented or single stage paint.


Apply some of the Deep Crystal Paint Cleaner to the face of the pad.


Next you'll want to rub the paint cleaner to a number of places on the car to check and make sure the entire car is using the same type of paint system. It is possible to have a car in which some panels are clear coated and some panels have a single stage paint depending upon whether or not it's been repaired and how it was repaired. Yes, it is possible in this day and age for some body shops to spray a repaired panel using a different paint system than the rest of the car, for this reason you need to inspect or test a few different panels to get a good idea of what you're working on, in some cases you may want to check each panel on the car.


After rubbing the paint cleaner against the paint turn the pad over and inspect it. If you find color on the pad this is an indicator that the paint you're working on is a single stage finish and the color you're seeing is the pigment transferring from the paint to your applicator pad.





As you can see from the test, this 1956 Cadillac does in fact have a red, single stage paint finish.


Over the summer we buffed out a 1956 Rolls Royce Silver Cloud and upon checking the panels we discovered all of the car to be clearcoated EXCEPT the Trunk Lid which was painted with a single stage white paint.

1956 Rolls Royce Silver Cloud - Clearcoat finish except the Trunk Lid which has single stage paint.
(Photo taken in front of Bob Hopes first house in Palm Springs, California)




So whenever you're working on something important, to either you or your customer, and you're unsure of the paint type, take a few minutes to do the above simple test.

Mike Phillips
Mar 28th, 2008, 11:03 AM
Claying the massive 1956 Cadillac Eldorado

After establishing the type of paint the next thing we did was to clay the car. Now this car is almost always parked inside a museum except when driven to car shows and other events for display, so even though it's inside most of the time we still inspected the finish using our sense of touch for above surface bonded contaminants and yes, the finish felt like it had tiny little bumps on it, so we when a head and clayed the entire painted portions of the car using Meguiar's Smooth Surface Clay Kit (http://www.meguiars.com/?auto-detailing-clay/Smooth-Surface-Clay-Kit).


Here's Joe aka OCSpeedJunkie claying the inside portion of the massive Cadillac fins.


The below picture was taken after only claying just the trunk lid on this car. The clay patty on the left is a brand new, unused piece of clay to show contrast as compared to the piece of clay on the right that was used on the trunk lid. As you can see there was quite a bit of built up contaminants on this museum kept Cadillac.


Mike Phillips
Mar 28th, 2008, 11:04 AM
Classic luxury cars like this 1956 Cadillac have a lot of bright work, that is lots of chrome, stainless steel and polished aluminum, so some of our members accepted the challenge to remove oxidation, staining and normal wear and tear dirt build-up using Meguiar's new Hot Rims Mag & Aluminum Polish (http://www.meguiars.com/?chrome-aluminum-care/Hot-Rims-Mag-Aluminum-Polish).

To start with we'll need some pieces of terry cloth to apply the polish, while we could use some of the applicators we offer for applying waxes and other dressings, often times they are too large for the surfaces that need to be polished and they pretty much get ruined after use, so for this project we're going to cut up a terry cloth towel to get the small pieces we need for this job.





Now that we have some pieces of terry cloth ready to go... here's our first job... restore clarity and brilliance to the right hand corner of the rear bumper. The rest of the rear bumper is actually pretty nice but this quarter section is very, very dull and flat looking.


No reflectivity at all.

Here's Dan the Metal Polishing Man!

After Dan puts a little passion behind the pad...

Now we're talking...
By the way, the term for highly polished metals is "Brilliance"

And here's our camera's reflection in the newly restored finish!

Ryan and Simon tackled the gargantuan chrome front-end on this classic behemoth...

Here's Simon and Ryan giving the humongous chrome bullet bumperettes a good going over...



Mike Phillips
Mar 28th, 2008, 11:06 AM
And on to the paint polishing portion of this Show Car Makeover...

Here's what it looks like when you turn 7 guys loose with polishers on a 1956 Cadillac!

Our Machine Team consists of,

Steve aka SteveC
Jonathan aka DieToRemain
Dan aka dhmagicman
Ryan aka lilblkblt
Joe aka OCSpeedJunkie
Simon aka SRDetailing
Chris aka chris54We did a test spot using the least aggressive product first which was Deep Crystal Paint Cleaner, it removed a lot of dirty looking paint and restored clarity but wasn't quite strong enough for what we wanted out of our results so we tried M80 Speed Glaze and this appeared to provide good cleaning and polishing for a rich, glossy red finish.


After the Test Spot everyone grabbed their dual action polisher and went to town...




Here's Joe cleaning his pad on the fly... (http://meguiarsonline.com/forums/showthread.php?t=21413)


Ryan tackles the panels on the fins...

Focusing intently on the task at hand...


Steve works on some of the lower panels, note how he's lowered
himself so he can look directly at the paint he's working on.


Here's Jonathon working on the hood around the hood ornaments...

Plenty 'O Paint to Polish Out!

Mike Phillips
Mar 28th, 2008, 11:18 AM
And here's the final results...




The Extreme Makeover Team minus Ryan and Simon who had to head home...

And the parting shot...

A big thank you to everyone who helped out with this show car makeover!

:bigups :bigups :bigups

J. A. Michaels
Mar 28th, 2008, 03:27 PM
Woooow. That caddie looks fantastic. You guys did a excellant job. That is really museum quality. Way to go guys.

Mike is this the same caddy that you guys did a year or so ago? I remember a thread were the caddy was to big for the garage.

Mike Phillips
Mar 28th, 2008, 03:30 PM
Same car, we just moved the original thread over here from the old CS forum. (Had to hand code it and move the pictures to this forum's gallery).


Mar 28th, 2008, 06:07 PM
It's hard to believe the size of those cars from the 50's. My first car was a 56 Buick Special, so I know first hand about the "largeness" and driveability of the cars.

I wasn't into detailing back then, but I sure wish I had that Buick today so I could "Meguiarize" it.

Nice job you guy's. She's a beauty. :xyxthumbs

Mar 28th, 2008, 09:01 PM
So Mike all that was needed was a clay and M80 to get such a deep shine?
The car looks awsome. You guys did a fantastic job. I love red cars.
As far as the size goes, ya I just did my first 57 Chev (black and white) and was amazed at how big those old cars are.

Andy M.
Mar 29th, 2008, 09:29 AM
Hey Guys!!!!!

Awesome Job!party: If only I didn't live 3000 miles away!:(


Apr 7th, 2008, 03:13 PM
Hey everyone, winter is over (kind of) and school is ending, so now it's time for detailing and other various summer jobs ;). A lot has happened that's for sure, but I just HAD to see the Extreme Makeover section first-it is my favourite part of the forum!

Excellent work, I almost forgot how good Meguiar's looks on cars (silly salted roads).