Auto detailing: The extreme clean

There is a man in my neighborhood who takes the wheels off his car once a month when he cleans his BMW. He washes his car every Saturday, but the wheels are his first-weekend-in-the-month activity. I thought this was the definition of extreme car care, but I was wrong.

I was thinking of Guy Who Takes the Wheels Off His Car the other day when I saw this thread on the Detailing World message boards. Featured on the page is Clark’s story of the four-day cleaning job he did on a Lamborghini Gallardo. Words cannot describe the sense of awe for this ne plus ultra.


I don’t know what to say except that you MUST click on this link and see this self-proclaimed “polished bliss.” If I had a Lamborghini, I would ask Clark to detail it for me.

Images from the Detailing World website.

32 Comments for “Auto detailing: The extreme clean”

  1. posted by STL Mom on

    Oh. My. God.
    Okay, if this doesn’t inspire me to at LEAST vacuum the pretzels out of my minivan, nothing will.
    Erin, do you spend a lot of time on the Detailing World forums?

  2. posted by Dorothy on

    The bizarre and useless things on which some people spend time and money and over which they obsess never ceases to amaze me. I wonder how much Clark chared for this job?

    And, yes, I’m sure some of my interests would seem bizarre and useless to Clark and his client! 😎

  3. posted by Ksenia on

    I am no car expert, but this seems to be an example of “task clutter” — doing/paying for tasks that are time-wasting and pointless. Unless it’s some sort of zen-ish hobby for the practitioner? ::shrugging shoulders::

  4. posted by Beverly on

    If I had a Lamborghini . . . the wheels would never need to be cleaned. I can’t drive a stick shift!

  5. posted by Adrian on

    A truly colossal waste of time, energy and human ingenuity.

    Give the car a once-over with a soapy sponge and deal with the reality that your car, like you, isn’t immortal.

  6. posted by Sandy on

    And it will probably rain tomorrow…….

  7. posted by delphine on

    I haven’t washed my car since it came to me last November… But I did finally clean all the bird poop off the windshield last week

  8. posted by J Harrell on

    I do agree that that was a lot of time and effort, but I doubt it was a waste. The whole point of detailing a car is to remove those fine scratches before they can become large and rusty. It is also to renew the clear coat that all modern cars have, to continue the car looking nice. I have gotten my car detailed once before (much prefer paying someone to do it while I do chores around the house, plus they have the tools and equipment that I don’t feel the need to shell out for) and really need to get it done again before winter hits.

  9. posted by Molly on

    It’s a little disappointing to see comments so critical of these cars and the effort that goes into the detailing process. My own lifestyle is grounded heavily in minimalism and these cars aren’t really my thing, but I certainly have a huge appreciation of their incredible engineering; each one truly is a work of art both in terms of style and performance. That said, I couldn’t possibly afford a Lambo in this lifetime and, if I could, I’m not sure my money would be spent on something like this. For me, it’s the same with all art. Yes, I appreciate a trip to the MoMA, but I’m not running out to bid on a painting that costs several million dollars.

    Still, though, if someone offered me the chance to control gorgeous 520 Italian horses? I wouldn’t even have to give it a second thought. And what a great job to spend all day cleaning! I’m sure Clark raked in a good chunk of cash for walking in endless circles around a pretty car. Must be rough.

  10. posted by Harris on

    The unclutterer post about keeping our car clean and uncluttered was great. This one, while the lamborghini is beautiful, seems out of place on unclutterer.
    Maybe I’m just jealous….

  11. posted by Lia on

    Wow. I read the whole thing and I’m still in awe. This man can spend days on end cleaning one car, but I can’t get my BF to get the dirty laundry in the hamper? I guess there is hope out there!

  12. posted by dougR on

    Here’s the thing: this is a guy who is a virtuoso of cleaning products and a zen master of cleaning processes. Reading through the rigamarole he went through was jaw-dropping for me. The stuff he notices! The pains he takes! As obsessive as Roger Federer is about his serve, this guy is obsessive about detailing, right down to using a device to measure how many MICRONS of paint he removes in a polishing process!

    I’m sorry, but whatever this guy charged his customer, he more than earned (and I hope he charged was a LOT). His customer, of course, may well have “earned” his Lambo by buying, then bankrupting, companies, or chasing ambulances, or sending domestic jobs overseas, or selling land mines, or …. whatever. But to me the headline of the story is, “detailing virtuoso gets paid like a rockstar, because he DESERVES it.”

  13. posted by Anne on

    i would love to see a poll of the uncluterr people if whose messy or do people who clutter have clean cars?…
    I look to my own life and friends (the other declutter fiends) and there are science projects waiting to be examined in our vehicles…wonder about this too much

  14. posted by Daniel on

    I love the look of a clean car, but I find some routines to be time clutter, even if it’s cheaper.
    I no longer use wand washes, because I waste so much time drying the car, and using detailing spray to make it look clean.
    I find automated car washes with a power dryer gets the car cleaner, faster, without needing to always use detailing spray, and without wasting so much time to dry the car manually.
    Worth the extra cost IMO.

  15. posted by Vee on

    jesus, he must suffer from severe OCD.

    the state of my blue, peeling, scratched up, stained 12 year old car would send this man into multiple m.i.’s. the car isn’t woth $800, I’m not paying for anyone to clean it up.

  16. posted by Vee on

    whooops! *worth

  17. posted by Elkcip on

    Just as interesting as reading the thread was reading the comments afterwards. My own car care skills are close to nonexistent, so I felt like a rubbernecker as I spent close to 20 minutes reading and gaping at the pictures. It was just another example to reinforce: (1)know your products, (2)use the right tools, (3)have a plan for tackling the job, and (4)develop routines. Now, the rest of the day, I am going to daydream about a person who comes and cleans my house like that…

  18. posted by Nancy on

    That is just out of control. However, that being said, I wouldn’t mind if someone wanted to come clean my house for me in that same manner ;).

  19. posted by LBell on

    WOW. I SOOO need to clean my car now…it still has bug splatter from a long drive two weeks ago.

    If it weren’t for the obvious care this guy shows in doing this work, and the fact that I, a person who hasn’t always paid this kind of cleaning attention to every nook and cranny of her house, am starting to pay attention more, I too would probably be thinking, “What a waste of time and energy!”

    As it is, though, add me to the list of those wanting a housecleaner clone of that guy.

  20. posted by Sheryl on

    Count me as another person that would pay somebody to clean my house like that (if I could afford it!;-) )

  21. posted by Clean Simple on

    Bizarre? I don’t think so. I’ve had my car detailed a couple of times and if I could afford it, I’d have it done once a month! It’s a great feeling, so drive a really clean car.

  22. posted by leslie on

    Thanks for sharing, but I’ll keep on taking my Prius to discount day at the local carwash. I can read the newspaper while I wait and soon be on my way. I’m a college prof and teach 100% online now–much more time consuming than f2f, so I’ve got MUCH better things to do with my time.

  23. posted by [email protected] Awareness * Connection on

    Leslie above caught the spirit of what I see at Unclutterer that I’m drawn to.

    And for me Adrian captured something important quite well:

    “…deal with the reality that your car, like you, isn’t immortal.”

    As a practitioner of psychotherapy, I do think we have a tendency on a less-than-conscious level to believe that if we take painstakingly good enough care of our things and ourselves we can avoid the inevitable big ending. “When I own a precision machine like this, this meticulously cared for, yearned for by all those below me, how could someone like me be a mere mortal?”

    Getting a little deep for a post on car detailing, but I really do think that dynamic is at play here…along with the more obvious huge number status points one gets for having the time and money to blow on activities like this. “You couldn’t spend this much time and money on your entire home. Look at what I do, without a second thought, for one of my six collectable cars.”

    That’s my take anyway.

  24. posted by Fiddydos on

    This is close to the ultimate expression of “treasure what you love” is it not? If part of uncluttering is making sure the things you truly love are appropriately displayed, and cared for, I don’t see why so many find this so objectionable.

  25. posted by [email protected] Awareness * Connection on

    @Fiddydos I hear what you’re saying.

    I think part of this is audience related. This post seems to be quite different that the usual here on the Unclutterer. Themes are often how to simplify, use what you need, streamline cleaning and organizing processes. Though the cleaning and taking care of things are in line with the usual themes that people seem to be here for; the blowing of huge amounts of time and money for something as trivial as getting something 8 times cleaner than anyone would notice just seems excessive and out of line with the themes that are usually discussed here. I can think of several other audiences that would find this a wonderful use of time and resources.

  26. posted by Erin Doland on

    I think many of you need to re-read the post. The tone of it is obviously, “Holy crap! This is insane! But, woah! This is cool, too!”

  27. posted by Nick on

    Leslie, your comment makes no sense and smacks of the arrogance of a typical college professor.

    You say you have “better things to do with your time”, but then say that you have to spend it doing your JOB, which is teaching. Pray tell how that is somehow a “better thing to do” than this gentleman doing HIS JOB, which is extreme detailing of high end automobiles. He obviously takes great pride in his job and enjoys doing it; and based on his clientele, he probably makes substantially more money doing it than many of us do at our white collar jobs.

  28. posted by Karyn on

    That is a beautiful thing. I don’t have the time or patience to do that kind of cleaning on my car, but I do love it when I’ve cleaned out the Goldfish cracker crumbs, the board books, trash, and vacuumed it.

    If he loves that job, and is good at it, more power to him!

  29. posted by Jackson on

    Most of these cars are detailed just prior to an exhibition. So there’s a financial incentive for the owner as well (that and it’s an ego thing).

  30. posted by Anna on

    This is beyond awesome. I do get why it would seem excessive to some, but it doesn’t seem any different to me than any other art. My aunt is happy with boxed cake mixes, my cousin just picks one up from the bakery, but it makes me happy to make it myself, even if it takes me seven sheets of paper to try to write down the recipe for someone else. It’s my job, but it’s also what I love to do, and I guess this guy probably feels the same way.

  31. posted by Sammy on

    You know, a few years ago I was reading a book in which someone was recalling a meeting he had with the Dalai Lama. (I can’t remember the name, or I’d cite it here. Sorry!) He was actually riding in a car with him, probably on the way to some speaking engagement, when they noted a large number of bikers on the road next to them. The Dalai Lama spent a few moments studying them, and said with a smile, “they really love their bikes!”

    I think a Lamborghini Gallardo is a frivolous waste of money that could have been better spent, say, a few hundred people in a third world nation for a year. On the other hand, being of an engineery type of mind, I can also see why people love them. And I’ve spent more hours than I care to admit practicing the same damn Bach partita on the violin… anyway. I’m just saying, sometimes activities like this can carry their own sort of Zen purity.

  32. posted by Leslie in Canada on

    As someone who likes to clean his car but thinks three hours of work every few months is more than sufficient, I was impressd with the attention to detail and the skill employed. This is a car that retails for up to $224,000 and I see nothing wrong with someone protecting their investment by paying an expert to return it to like-new condition for, what, $2000. Taking out scratches and repairing paint chips is preventive maintenance, but here at a much higher level. Unlike my Mazda, this car is indeed the equivalent of “immortal, and will surely go to another owner eventually and be pampered forever (although a fair number of these cars seemed to get crashed by their drivers!).

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