There is a bit of office banter within DR about my obsession with detailing. Those of you familiar with Chemical Guys, Zymol, Microfibre towels and the Two-Bucket Method will know what I mean, however I have learned over the years that if you enjoy driving cars and keeping them shiny, then the only sensible choice is to protect those more vulnerable parts with a paint protection film (PPF).
There are several products available including X-Pel, VentureTape and 3M Scotchgard, but you need to choose your installer carefully since it is a skilled job to fit.
I have been a satisfied customer of two of the main UK-based installers having had their protection film fitted to previous cars, so this time I decided to try one that I had heard about but not yet experienced.
A quick email to Nick Phelps of A.M.I. Paint Protection and my X6 was booked in for fitment of a full frontal kit. Given how new the X6 is, I had to leave it with Nick’s brother Tim for a full 4 days, whilst the kit was designed and then fitted. This gave me time for a tour of Nick’s establishment to understand what it is that makes him a popular choice for many discerning car owners.
A.M.I. Paint Protection are actually just a small part of the Curvature Group, a group of companies formed around the core skill of 3D model making, and Nick led me on a fascinating tour of each business. The core business, A.M.I. Modelmakers, use CNC, CAD and other prototyping tools to create 3-dimensional forms ranging from mobile communication devices right up to full size mock-ups of trains, planes and automobiles. Space Models produce anything from scale models of private jets to full-size aircraft and missiles for airshow displays. Whilst Morpheus contains a team of highly experienced sculptors and modelmakers, realising designs for some of the UK’s best selling toy makers. The common theme between these businesses is their skill and attention to detail, combined with a commitment to customer service.
Nick entered the paint protection business through his own personal interest in cars, and the lack of full bonnet protection kits available in the market four years ago. He focuses on full frontal protection and can even undertake paint rectification on-site before applying the protective film.
I was glad to find that my own concerns were already alleviated in Nick’s choice of Ventureshield. Given the large expanse of bonnet on the X6 and its rich Vermilion Red paint finish, I was concerned that a full covering of protective film would spoil its appearance. Some film products have quite an orange-peel finish to their surface, which is fine in a small area but can be quite noticeable on larger panels. Take a look at the pictures above and I trust you’ll see how shiny the surface remains after Nick’s installation.
The protected panels really look identical to the painted factory finish, which makes this the most inconspicuous fitment I have seen, and I can imagine that over time I will soon forget which panels have been protected.
So, with 1000 miles on the clock I can now begin to enjoy my X6. Unlike its more utilitarian sibling the X6 looks large but friendly on the road, and I’ve lost count of the number of people that have stopped to ask me what it is. Best of all, after years of running V8s I am achieving an average of 29mpg in varied use with this 35d engine, so in this current climate I am looking forward to less frequent visits to the pumps.