Detailing a Classic: Turning a Fully-Restored 1972 BMW 2002 Into a Time Capsule
The detailing industry has made exponential leaps and strides over the past decade. Now, it’s not uncommon for most vehicle owners to have ceramic coatings or paint protection film on their vehicles to some capacity. Thanks to new tech advances, we can now accommodate a wide variety of vehicles and growing demand thanks to improved efficiency and workflows. We have access to technology that will guarantee perfect chemical mixtures, and, more notably, waste has been dramatically cut down thanks to CAD software that helps our ppf crew minimize excess while fitting each section of film. We take pride in our experience with paint protection film, and when we received a pristine 1972 BMW 2002 - it was a worthwhile challenge that reminded us that what makes our work stand out isn’t throughput or technology - but rather passion, patience and dedication. Unlike most of the high tech modern luxury and sports cars we get every week, you won’t find any digital files for paint protection film or window tint cut outs on an early-70s BMW 2002. And even if you did, they wouldn’t be correct - because from just looking at it, one can immediately tell that this is not a stock example. That’s because this one was professionally restored by VSR restoration - a small company in Ohio that specializes in service and restoration for both BMW and Porsche vehicles. From the swelled custom wheel arches to the donated M3 engine engine underneath, this 2002 had been restored and modernized to represent a track-ready take on a retro classic. Our crew had to be extra careful so as to not damage any of the parts or lose any screws, because parts like these aren’t widely available, and as such, can hit the wallet if replacements are needed.
We started by getting the application surfaces as clean as possible with our two-bucket hand-wash. We spent time up close and personal with the 2002, as it had plenty of small crevices and bends in the metal that often required a thorough hand-brush to ensure that all contaminants were completely removed. Paint protection film would be going on the front end of the 2002, and then the entire vehicle would be ceramic coated with Modesta BC-04 coating. After a thorough wash, we brought the 2002 into our clean room where disassembly began. We started by removing the grill and trim pieces, and then worked our way to the custom wheel arches, carefully removing each one one small screw at a time. Once all pieces were removed from the vehicle, we started compounding and correcting the orange paint finish, ensuring that any and all paint scratches, swirls, and other inconsistencies were ironed out to prep it for paint protection film. Once done, a final sun check and wash got the 2002 ready for its XPEL paint protection film application. This is where most of the challenges would be faced.
As mentioned, the database we use to cut paint protection film pieces is full of hundreds of makes and models of cars, which allows for our plotter to quickly and precisely cut the film to spec, which in turn helps our ppf crew fit each section with less difficulty. Without the existence of a file for a completely custom-restored BMW 2002, that meant that our crew would have to become one with the blade. Of all of the pieces that we cut and fit, the most difficult piece to get right was the hood. Thanks to its unique shape, it took a few tries to get the application right - going back and hand-cutting each piece for every new attempt because of small air bubbles that would emerge near body creases and folds.
It may sound like a waste, but any air that gets trapped under the paint protection film will always present subsequent issues not too far down the road with either peeling or gradual separation of the film from the painted surface of the vehicle. This is why we also removed all badging and trim, rather than working around them - so as to keep each ppf section solid with no cut outs or holes which would increase the possibilities of post-application defects. Once the ppf was applied, we then prepared it for the final step: a ceramic coating for the full car using Modesta BC-04. If you haven’t already, check out our Youtube Channel for videos on what ceramic coatings are and how they can benefit your vehicle.
Basically, a ceramic coating is a liquid that is applied to the vehicle’s finished paint surfaces. Once applied, it is cured with a heat lamp. During this step, the coating hardens into a tough clear “shell” that acts as a barrier to the paint from the elements. Additionally, a ceramic coating makes washing your car a breeze, since waxing is no longer required. It was a process that departed from the way we regularly do things here at Chicago Auto Pros, and it was one that required an extreme amount of patience, dedication, and above all else, passion to complete successfully. No corners were cut here, and no step of the process ever involved sacrificing quality for the sake of time. The 1972 BMW 2002 project was a labor of love, and ranks among the most notable cars we’ve had here at the shop.