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Detailing Brings Cars Back To Showroom Condition On Jay Leno’s Garage

A freshly restored vehicle is a thing of beauty, but unless that shine is taken care of properly, it’s only a matter of time before it disappears.

Jay Leno‘s latest Restoration Blog takes a departure from the normal show-and-tell around the shop to showcase how he keeps his cars looking showroom fresh with his own cleaning products.

Jay’s entrance into the cleaning product market was spurred by an incident with his 1915 Hispano Suiza. He was polishing the metal when he noticed that there were swirl marks being left behind by abrasives in the cleaning compound. Dissatisfied, Jay decided to phone friends Chris Walters and Jeremy Porrazzo to help create a better product. After all, scratching the chrome on a $1 million-plus vehicle is a mistake that could happen, but when your fleet is over 200 strong, it’s not something that you want to perpetuate.

Bare Metal

To remove stains and bring back the shine of soft metal such as brass or aluminum, Walters applies a small amount of the compound to a microfiber cloth, and lightly pushes it along the surface of the metal in a tight swirling motion. Obviously to do an entire car in bare metal would take a long time, but not a lot of vehicles are sans paint.


Oxidized and faded paint is a common sight on restoration projects that have been left outside in the sun, but not every vehicle will require a respray. Jeremy Porrazzo showcases how to remove oxidation, correct imperfections, and then polish the paint with a three-step process. Be careful not to put too much pressure on the surface, or spend too much time on raised edges.


Cleaning leather is similar to washing your hair: there’s a shampoo and a conditioner. Walters first applies the shampoo to try and lightly lift the dirt off of the leather seats until they have a natural-looking shine, but not a mirror finish. Then, a conditioner is applied to make the leather remain supple and protect it from future dirt.

Another important tip is that the abrasion comes from the towel, not the compound, therefore you should never use a paper towel on anything other than glass.

Leno finishes the video by showcasing his 1966 Ford Galaxie 7-liter which looks like it was restored yesterday, but in reality, the restoration is over 10 years old. Once again, the old adage is true: “If you want something done right, you have to do it yourself.”


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