Factory Original Cloth Top
This 1966 Ferrari 275 GTS boasts its original factory rag top, which clearly shows its age. As I write this article on December 28th, 2020, the canvas top is 54 years old. In just three days, it will be 55 years old.
The Car Washing Dilemma
As a professional detailer, I adhere to the “Professional Detailer’s Oath”: do no harm when detailing a car. Washing a car typically involves a water hose, bucket, and wash mitt, which works well for new or modern cars. However, for classic cars, especially those susceptible to rust, I avoid using running water. This precaution is a professional courtesy to both the current and future owners. Instead, I teach the use of the waterless wash approach, specifically utilizing SONAX Glass Cleaner as my preferred waterless wash method.
Prep Wash Only
To avoid confusion, let me clarify the difference between a prep wash and a maintenance wash. A prep wash is for cleaning a neglected car before detailing, including paint correction. On the other hand, a maintenance wash is for caring for a car after detailing. During a prep wash, I use SONAX Glass Cleaner, while my go-to car wash soap for maintenance washes is the Wolfgang Uber SiO2 Coating Wash.
The Autogeek Cover-up Towel
In the past, I used bed sheets and beach towels to cover and protect surfaces during detailing projects. However, after receiving a few curious inquiries about my choice of a pirate beach towel, I transitioned to using the Autogeek Cover-up Towel. This microfiber towel serves the same purpose as a beach towel but offers a softer touch, ideal for safeguarding shiny surfaces. For this particular car, I used the AG Cover-up Towels to shield the paint from any RaggTopp Fabric Protectant overspray.
The RaggTopp Fabric Protectant
Before proceeding, it’s important to note that the RaggTopp Fabric Protectant is harmless. While it’s not necessary to cover surrounding body panels or glass, I prefer to do so to avoid any overspray cleanup. However, if you don’t mind wiping off overspray from paint and glass, you can skip the covering step.
Let’s Take a Look at the Top
The cloth top of this Ferrari appears dull, lifeless, and worn out. Considering its condition, most people would choose to replace it. However, I see value in preserving its originality, especially since this car was previously owned by George Harrison, a member of the Beatles and a renowned collector of fine automobiles.
How to Clean a Cloth Top without Water
The process starts with dry extraction, using a vacuum to remove any dust. Next, I utilize the Tornador Blow Out Gun to eliminate any remaining dirt and debris. These two steps, in line with the Professional Detailer’s Oath, provide the best possible cleaning for the top.
Draining a Couple of Cans of RaggTopp
The thirsty cloth top requires two full cans of RaggTopp Fabric Protectant, with a third can partially used. This level of dryness highlights the top’s poor condition. Nevertheless, with time, patience, care, and RaggTopp, we can bring it back to life.
My Own Technique
While the directions on the can suggest spraying and letting it dry, I prefer to work the RaggTopp Fabric Protectant into the fabric. After saturating the top and stitching with the protectant, I put on a pair of heavy-duty orange nitrile gloves and massage the product into the fibers. This method ensures the protectant is absorbed, rather than merely sitting on the surface.
Second Can Going On…
To achieve optimal results, each application requires the previous one to be completely dry. I set up a fan to circulate air, expediting the drying process. On warm sunny days, moving the car outside would achieve the same effect.
Working the Protectant into the Fabric
Boom! There It Is!
After some time, multiple applications, and a gentle touch, the top comes back to life. It appears darker, crisper, and overall better. This successful restoration allows me to continue with the next step of the project: machine buffing the paint, glass, and brightwork.
Another Top Saved by RaggTopp!
The Final Results
Finally, after a thorough interior and exterior detail, the car showcases its rejuvenated top, along with a layer of machine-applied wax on its body panels.
RaggTopp products deliver excellent results. To achieve the best outcome, it is crucial to think through your project and follow the instructions on the can. I have shared some tips and techniques in this article, but for more detailed information, check out my in-depth guide on cleaning and protecting a convertible top. Remember, it’s advisable to be proactive and start using the RaggTopp system when your car’s cloth top is still in pristine condition. By doing so, you can ensure not only its waterproofing but also its lasting beauty.
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Note: All images courtesy of Ratingperson.