Car Care / Tech

From Washed Out To WOW: Another Astonishing Transformation

We have all heard the stories of Griot’s Garage products coming to the rescue and resuscitating the dull, lifeless, and neglected paint on old barn find vehicles. The scenarios are the stuff of dreams… you catch a glimpse of a classic car… either in the backyard or covered in a crowded garage… fantasize about how you would bring its paint back from the dead and modify the car to your tastes, then approach the owner and make the deal of a lifetime.

These dreams do come true from time to time. In fact, customers have sent us examples that we have published to our blog in the past.

Ted S.’s 1984 Celica Supra Transformation

Rod J.’s 1987 Chevy Pickup Transformation

This version of the story was finding a diamond in the rough on Craigslist… a diamond that got rougher after it was listed. The car is a 1987 Toyota Corolla FX16 GTS. This hatchback was only made for two years, ’87 and ’88. It represents the Corolla’s transition from rear-wheel drive to front drive. From the famous drift king AE86 GTS and its fuel injected 4A-GE motor to a more peasant-like economy car with a wimpy carbureted engine. But Toyota couldn’t give up the ghost completely and the FX16 retained the perky 4A-GE powerplant, with the GTS model getting some snazzy body kitting, a zoomier interior, and a sport-tuned suspension.

The car had seen hard times. An attempted theft left its interior torn apart and the ignition switch in tatters. The thievery continued after the Corolla was listed for sale when its alloy wheels were stolen… one pair one night, the other pair the next night.

This particular car had a highly desirable engine swap, with a more advanced version of the 4A-GE four cylinder from 1991 to 1995 under the hood. Known as a Silvertop, this more modern 4A-GE featured a 20-valve cylinder head versus a 16-valve setup in the previous iteration. The 5-valve-per-cylinder version bumped output from 108 to 157 horsepower. I cleaned and dressed the engine bay and repainted the motor, but that’s a different story.

When I came upon it the Toyota was at a used tire shop and the body cladding was hanging off. I had shown interest but after seeing the condition could not make an offer considering the price that was being asked. Weeks later, since I was the only interested party and the alternative was donation or the junkyard, a deal was struck. I ordered the ignition switch and broke out my detailing arsenal. This era of Toyota features a single-stage paint and the red, code 3E6, has developed a reputation as being supremely savable.

I had used Rinseless Wash & Wax and Brilliant Finish™ Synthetic Clay on the Toyota while waiting for the tow truck. I addressed everything save the front fender which I wanted to do a photo progression of the process on.

My weapons of choice were the G9 Random Orbital Polisher, BOSS™ Correcting Cream, and a bunch of BOSS Fast Correcting Foam Pads. If you’re contemplating a paint revival of this magnitude be sure you have a big supply of pads. I stocked up and still had to wash my pads part way through the procedure… the amount and speed in which the single-stage paint clogged up the pores of the pads was stunning… so were the results.

I was impressed with both the power and maneuverability of the G8 Mini Random Orbital Polisher. The jump in output from 240 watts in the previous machine to 700 watts was immediately noticeable. It was easy to get substantial pad rotation on tight areas like the A-pillars, the edge of the roof, fender flares, and most of all the license plate surround.

You will need a lot of pads because even using a Foam Pad Conditioning Brush didn’t do much to diminish the residue buildup. I employed the usual cross-hatch polishing pattern but there was more pad cleaning involved. I found that making a good, solid pass, wiping down the surface, cleaning the pad, and making a second pass was the best process. I think the extra play time during the second pass made a big difference in the final outcome. The pad pictured above was white when I started polishing. Holy crud!

With the high contrast between polished and unpolished surfaces, it was easy to see where I had been working and where I hadn’t reached yet. I then addressed missed spots, tight spaces, and extra oxidized areas of the section I was polishing until a uniform look was achieved.

From this point the plan was to follow up and do a final wipe down with some paint prep and use our new Ceramic 3-in-1 Wax as the car’s basecoat of protection. The driving force here was to see what was possible. And considering the car went from nearly orange to a deep red speaks volumes. It also whispers that almost any paint finish can be helped if you employ the right products and the right amount of patience.



  1. Mercado Brittany says:

    I’ve read some of your works already but this one is simply
    brilliant. There aren’t a lot of materials I would recommend for everyone.

    The last time it had been And that I will certainly want all my friends to see your work
    too. Thanks a whole lot, it turned into a
    true joy.

  2. waisindye Noah says:

    i neen a toyota 6000

  3. Please check out Deputy K-9 Arlo. They use your products on their cruiser. He posted a tiktok showing him using the products. Could you check it out. Support the blue. Thanks

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