Why polish?

Five moments of reflected glory that make it all worthwhile

Reflected Glory Polished Car
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If you've been following our little series on polishing, you may be wondering 'Why bother spending all that time shining your car up?'. It’s only going to get dirty, after all. And, from a distance, it looks pretty good, right? And who cares what it looks like if it still drives great and sounds good when you floor it. After all, it can be hard to keep your car looking tip top all the time, what with the weather, and the salt and grime on the roads. Every few weeks should be OK for a quick clean, right?


Why? Because we were all twelve years old once.

If you’re a true car guy, or car girl, there will have been a few key moments in your life that made you think differently about cars. Something, or a number of events, changed the view from one where cars are tools and transportation devices to the thought that cars are art. Cars are living, breathing things that say something about their owners. Cars have curves and angles that need appreciating.

There will have been moments in your formative years that will have taught you that. Perhaps it was moustachioed Uncle George, your raffish, unmarried relative who ‘did something in finance’, who would sweep in in his old Porsche, telling tales of travels to far flung places and the kind of behaviour it seemed that your parents disapproved of, only to roar off again, after a cup of tea, in a waft of four star petrol and expensive cologne.

Perhaps it was old Mr Beezer down the road, who washed and waxed his classic Lancia, every Sunday - which was more than he drove it - until it gleamed. He’d let you help sometimes - and you’d get to sit behind the wheel and smell the leather of the interior, holding the beautiful steering wheel and pretending to go through the gears on a distance, hairpinned alpine road.

Was it the new car showroom in town, where the space-age cars of the future would appear? Showroom-fresh cars like the Sierra or Cavalier, or the mighty Capri, that might be retro-chic now, but which were nose-pressed-to-the-glass incredible at the time. You’d swap notes with your friends about the wonders of electronic fuel injection, auto-reverse cassette players and three way electric seats. It even had you annoying the salesman for a printed brochure, though he knew you’d never be back with your dad like you said you would.

Maybe it was the car show up at the racecourse. As you arrived on your bicycle, those big, beautiful American cars were starting to roll in, all fins and chrome and whitewall tyres. With dashboards wider than you were tall, those throbbing V8 motors shaking the body as they revved in place, the pastel-painted panels washed and waxed until they looked wet to the touch.

You’d follow those lines with your eyes, from nose to tail; the grace of those 1950s Chevy fenders, the powerful haunches of those whale-tail Porsches, or the sweeping, confident curves of the E-Types and you thought, ‘One day, I’m going to have a car that beautiful, that desirable, that awe-inspiring.’ And your life was ever-changed.

And now you do own a car as amazing as you ever dreamed of. So, you owe it to your twelve year old self to appreciate what you have and to keep it as awesome-looking as possible, don’t you? You have twelve year olds to impress, remember?

Polished Paint Work Red Jag

by Chipps Chippendale at 20 Apr 2018, 00:00 AM