Crystal Series Corvette Z06 by ESOTERIC.
Featuring GYEON QUARTZ Coatings!
When the 2015 Corvette Z06 was introduced to the automotive world, there was no denying that Chevrolet was flexing its proverbial American Muscle and taking aim directly at the very high dollar supercars within the industry. The list of features and specifications read more like a sports car nearing the 7-figure price tag; not one just in the 5-figures. With 650hp and 650lb/ft. of torque, this Supercharged 6.2L monster means business!
While automotive journalists tend to focus on specifications, 0-60 times, and handling characteristics of a (super)car, we at ESOTERIC focus on the paint and the fine aesthetic details. In our opinion, the technical specifications are important, but only as long as the finish of the car matches accordingly.
So having said that, let’s dive right into the C7 series Corvette paint…
It only takes a few quick clicks on Google to find a lot of negative feedback from Corvette owners about the paint quality of their prized possessions. Granted, Corvette owners can be very particular as are any owners groups (Porsche, BMW, Ferrari, etc), however they do have some valid reasoning on their concerns. Modern automotive paint poses some serious challenges for the manufacturers, and on a high production basis, there’s only so much the manufacturer can do. Unless your car is of very limited production numbers like Rolls Royce, you’re not going to get near perfectly flat paint that reflects light like a mirror. Orange peel and texture (more on that later) are to be expected…some brands more so than others. So we shouldn’t spend a lot of time bashing the manufacturers over this…it is what it is!
If it makes Corvette owners feel any better, they should look closely at the BMW M3 / M4 series. They don’t have orange peel…they have grapefruit peel! 🙂 And while Ferrari may have less orange peel and texture than Corvettes, they suffer from bad-buffing syndrome and desperately need to be (properly) polished right out of the gate. For a perfect example, look at the video below that we did of a brand new, never touched by dealership or port of entry LaFerrari!
OK, now that you’ve enjoyed the Ferrari video, let’s get back to the Corvette Z06…
What is orange peel? What is texture?
With modern paints and paint systems, you will typically get what is referred to as orange peel. It is an uneven surface that resembles the skin of an orange (hence “orange peel”). This unevenness distorts reflections, and when it’s bad enough, it simply makes the paint look poor quality. Now texture is something completely different, and it is what really prevents the clarity from coming out in a finish. It is much finer than the orange peel itself as presented in the graphic below, and all of that fine texture and grain clouds the surface and dulls the finish.
Now that we have addressed what orange peel and texture are, let’s talk about what can be done about it.
Owners of cars that have a lot of orange peel in it want to ask a simple question: can you remove orange peel? Well, the answer isn’t as simple since it is both yes and no. Yes, it can be removed, but no, it shouldn’t be removed. Manufacturers are finding ways to significantly reduce the amount of paint and clearcoat they put on cars they’re building…less paint means less cost…simple economics. And with thinner paint, it means there’s even less material for detailers to work with. In order to flatten a surface and remove orange peel, you need to remove a significant amount of clearcoat…more than is recommended by the manufacturer over the life of the car! So when you take a vehicle with original factory paint, and remove that much material, you expose yourself to potential clearcoat failure, cracking, peeling, fading, etc. The clearcoat loses its UV protection with that much material removed, thus becoming unstable.
If you’re having a car re-painted, you can apply enough material to where you can safely sand it down to achieve a flat finish, and then polish it out without the same kind of risks that you’d experience with OEM painted finishes. So the moral of the story here is this…it is NOT advisable to sand down your OEM paint to get rid of orange peel. There are way too many risks, and the manufacturer will not issue any kinds of warranties on your paint if you do so and have problems down the road. At our Elite Detailer Academy, we teach all of our professional detailer-students from around the world about our responsibility to preserve paint, and NOT to sand down OEM finishes. If somebody offers to sand down your OEM finish to remove orange peel…say “no thank you”!!
Now that we have the safety speech behind us, let’s take a closer look at paint texture. As I previously stated, texture is much finer than orange peel, and given that, we’re able to safely remove it to restore a significant amount of clarity. On some paints, this process also slightly reduces orange peel, but (a) that’s not our main objective, and (b) the reduction will vary from vehicle to vehicle.
Crystal Series. A new level of paint correction detailing.
A little over a year ago we were approached by a large automotive manufacturer to help them with some similar paint concerns they had with their new cars. We brought all of their new media cars into our studio, and developed a system for safe texture removal, while retaining as much clearcoat as we possibly could. After spending countless hours developing and refining this process, we had the idea to call this detail the Crystal Series (given the clarity difference!), and the C7 Corvette was one of the first cars that came to mind for doing this service to. And what about those media cars we did? Well I can proudly say that the auto manufacturer we worked for was extremely pleased with the outcome, and we were thrilled to see our work on the stage when they were unveiled to the world.
When we are doing the Crystal Series level of paint correction detailing, we are painstakingly removing (safely) all of the fine texture in the paint to reveal the true clarity in the finish. It is done through a variety of compounding and polishing steps using the finest buffing machines in the industry…RUPES out of Italy. Throughout this article I will talk about products and processes used to achieve the results, but I will be purposely vague when it comes to the Crystal Series process. For one, I don’t want DIY’ers trying this at home, and secondly, I can’t reveal ALL my secrets to other detailers! 🙂
The following (simple) graphic represents a cross-section of clearcoat. The large wavy lines are orange peel, and the small jagged lines are texture. In the before and after you can see where the texture is removed, which allows for much more clear reflections.
Now when we look at this in real terms in the photos below, you can see just how much of a difference this makes. The first photo shows a close-up of the factory paint, and just how much fine texture exists. The second photo shows that exact same spot after performing our texture removal, or Crystal Series of paint correction.
BEFORE condition showing heavy texture in the factory paint: (click on photos for larger images)
Now take a look at how smooth and level the surface is after performing the Crystal Series paint correction:
Yes, it is a big difference indeed! You can pick your jaw up off of the floor now…
OK, we’ve talked about texture removal and Crystal Series, so let’s get on to the details of THIS particular Corvette Z06 in Daytona Sunrise Orange Metallic!
I’ve known the owner of this new Corvette for the better part of 15 years now. He has owned many Corvettes, he is very active in the Corvette community, and co-chairs the Corvette portion of the big Arthritis Foundation car show here in the Columbus, Ohio area (great cause…thanks to all who help!). When we started talking about detailing plans for his new Z06 when it came in, I told him that I wanted for ESOTERIC to create THE best looking Z06 in existence. Needless to say, I got his attention quickly.
I outlined the plans for the detail, which included extensive wrapping of the car in Suntek paint protection film, and protecting all of the surfaces with GYEON QUARTZ coating products. He said “let’s do it”, and we got the car in our shop as soon as the winter weather here in Ohio broke.
Crystal Series Corvette Z06: The details
The first thing we did was to fully wash and decontaminate the car to get it ready for the polishing stage. We don’t want anything on the surface to interfere with polishing, so it’s imperative that we take all of the necessary paint prep steps to ensure a clean, smooth surface that is completely free from any debris, contamination, oils, waxes, etc. that may have found their way on the surface between the factory and our shop.
Once the paint prep was finished, it was time to move on to multiple days and stages worth of machine polishing for texture removal and finish refinement using our RUPES buffers.
Here I am using the mighty Rupes LHR75 pneumatic polisher for the tight spots.
All of the carbon flash pieces polished out very nicely, and brought out a tremendous amount of gloss and clarity!
Dan is smaller, and younger…so he gets to be the contortionist inside the car!
Between compounding and polishing stages, we took the Z06 outside for wash #2. This would ensure that all of the polishing dust was out of every crack and crevice before moving on to the next polishing stages.
During our first wash, I noticed that the convertible top wasn’t showing any signs of water repellency, so we decided to apply GYEON FabricCoat. This is a very durable coating that is easy to use, and it can be used on both convertible tops, and fabric interiors (carpet, floor mats). We used this on any and all carpeted surfaces in the interior as well. Below is a photo of the top after we put it on…you can see the beading and water repellency is VERY good!
Next up we removed the wheels, fully cleaned the surfaces using Gyeon Prep (an absolute must pre-coating!), and coated the rims and calipers using Gyeon Rim. This will provide up to a year protection, and it will make cleaning much easier since brake dust and dirt won’t be able to stick to the surface as easily.
Do you spend a lot of time cleaning the exhaust tips on your Corvette? Do you want to make life easier on yourself? Since I know the answer is yes to both, I’d highly recommend coating them for durable protection. After cleaning, use Gyeon Prep to ensure they are squeaky clean, then apply a couple of coats of Gyeon Rim. It is high-temp rated so it won’t just burn off like any wax or sealant would.
Once all of the polishing was complete, it was time to install paint protection film (aka “clear bra”) to the Z06. Since we were polishing to perfection, we wanted to get as much clarity out of our film as possible. Given this, we opted for SunTek film as we have been extremely impressed with its clarity. We removed the side Z06 markers on the fenders, and the hood vent as well so we could tuck in the edges and make as clean as an install as we could. We also installed film on the rocker panels, behind the rear wheels, and on the entire trunk lid.
We had another Corvette owner stop by the shop when it was done, and the film so was clear / install was so good, that he really thought he was just looking at paint on the front end and didn’t think we had installed clear film. When another Corvette owner can’t tell, then you know it’s a very high quality film and installation.
Here’s a photo of after it was done. Combining perfection-level polishing with high quality film means that it will look good…very good!
Now that the car was at this point, it was time for all of the body and trim coating. We use these durable coatings for several reasons. 1. They last several years, not just a month or two like a wax or sealant. And speaking of durability, don’t get caught up in some of the over-promises in the industry these days of 10 years, 25 years, lifetime coatings, etc. Sorry, but that’s just marketing hype. ANY coated car will need to be re-polished and / or need to re-apply the coating after a few years. While a coating may last longer than a couple of years, it will lose its protective properties by that time. A coated car will still get scratched, swirled, stained by bugs/bird droppings, scuffed, etc. 2. They offer self cleaning properties which makes maintenance much easier. This is why you don’t use any types of waxes or sprays (other than the coating manufacturer’s recommended maintenance products like Cure from Gyeon), because if you do, you will lose the properties of the coating, and gain the properties of whatever kind of product you may have put on it last. And 3, high quality coatings like the Gyeon DuraBead we used on this Crystal Series Z06 retain their gloss!
Speaking of DuraBead, at the time of this writing, this is Gyeon’s latest and greatest coating. It offers the same tremendous protection as their other coating formulas, but offers insane hydrophobic / water beading characteristics. It is warranted for 2 years, and it will retain extreme hydrophobic properties longer than anything else out there. It is only available through Gyeon Certified Detailers, so if you don’t have one near you, you / they can still use other great coatings in their line like Mohs+, Mohs, or Prime.
Here Dan is applying the Gyeon DuraBead. It involves 2 base coats of Gyeon Mohs (at least several hours between coats for curing), then topped with a coat of Bead. Before any coating can be applied however, we fully wipe down the car with Gyeon Prep. This ensures that all polishing oils are removed, and that we get a good bond. We also apply coating right on top of the paint protection film.
With the body coating done, and the plastic trim coated with Gyeon Trim, we proceeded with adding protection to the windshield and seats. The windshield was coated with Gyeon View, and the seats were coated with Gyeon LeatherCoat.
We’ve gone over a lot of information, and I appreciate you hanging in there with me! We’re almost to the end where you can see all of the glossy photos. 🙂
Just to recap what we have done:
- Wash & decontaminate the car
- Multi-stage polishing to remove texture (Crystal Series)
- Wash the car again to remove polishing oils and dust
- Remove wheels and apply coating to rims and calipers
- Apply coating to exhaust tips, windshield, and interior
- Apply fabric coating to convertible top and carpets
- Apply paint protection film to front end, mirrors, headlights, rocker panels, behind rear wheels, and trunk lid
- Apply coating to body and trim
Now let’s go back and look at some of the “before” photos and see the level of texture in the finish.
Now we are proud to present to you, our patient readers, the Crystal Series Corvette Z06 by ESOTERIC!
Reminder…you can click on all of the photos for larger images.
And thanks to Gyeon for all of their industry-leading coatings!
When the owner picked up the car, he said it wasn’t just the best looking Z06 in existence…he said it was the best looking Corvette!
This car will be attending the National Corvette Museum Bash down in Bowling Green, Kentucky on April 23-25, 2015. For those attending, you should keep your eyes open for it.
Thanks for taking the time to read through our article on the Crystal Series Corvette Z06. While this is a very high level of detail and services (over 40 hours worth of work!), we also offer a full range of detailing at lower levels as well. If you have any questions about the products or detailing, please post them up in the comment section below. Also feel free to share this article on your favorite social media or automotive forums.
Detailing services: Esoteric Auto Detail, New Albany, Ohio
Corvette-specific detailing services page: Z06 / Z07 Corvette Detailing
Product sales: EsotericCarCare.com
Professional detailing training: Esoteric Elite Detailer Academy