With this customized tool kit, Tim McNair perfects the world’s most exclusive concours cars
I’m a detailer and a tool nerd. My services can take a 94-point car and make it a 98 for the ogling eyes of judges and spectators. But I don’t simply detail clients’ cars. I provide mild restorations, so I need a variety of specialized tools. Sometimes the best ones come from outside the detailing industry. I scour the aisles of hobby stores, shop online, and borrow tools from my model-building workbench. Whatever it takes. I can perform my light restorations anywhere: museums, garages, hotel parking lots, concours greens. Day or night. In any given week, I might be working on three cars in three different states, so I need an easy and safe way to transport my tools. I’ve spent years developing my portable workstation, which consists of seven Tanos boxes lined with Kaizen foam. When I arrive at a job site, I stack my layers on top of one another and roll the tower around on a cart that doubles as a vacuum.
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STICK TO IT
This layer contains a pullout drawer with pliers, scissors, J-B Weld, glues, bamboo sticks, bits, wedges, microbrushes, cotton swabs, and sanding pads. The bamboo sticks are my trademark. Plucked from the grocery store, these shrimp skewers clean around badges and remove old wax better than anything else available. My other sticks and wedges work well, wrapped in cloth, to clean between wheel spokes. The top part of this layer contains goops and creams. Different paints and finishes require different sprays, waxes, and creams, but I bring Griot’s Best of Show Paste Wax and BOSS Correcting and Perfecting Cream to most jobs.
ALL THE SMALL THINGS
I carry manufacturer-specific hardware and decals. I have inventory for makes such as Porsche, BMW, and Ferrari. I usually visit the client and the cars before detailing, assess what is necessary, and pack the appropriate bins. Installing the proper metric interior screw or applying the correct reproduction decal could be the slight advantage needed to win best in show.
RUBBER AND METAL PREP
Griot’s Rubber Prep, Black Satin Tire Coating, and Black Shine Trim Restorer bring the life back to any rubber, from moldings to tires. Nuvite II, originally used to polish WWII bombers, works wonders on aluminum. And Renaissance wax, manufactured for preserving fine art and furniture, polishes and protects bare metal. Whether I’m at my workbench assembling models or at Pebble Beach detailing a collection, Tamiya Lacquer Thinner is by my side. It’s a last line of defense for removing stubborn gunk like old glue and paint overspray and is good for a final wipe on whitewalls. Another one of my secret sauces is Pro Honda Spray Cleaner & Polish. For five bucks a can, this motorcycle polish is perfect for a car’s rocker panels and chrome, and it leaves behind a coat of protective wax.
DAY OR NIGHT
I always pack my Snap-on cordless rechargeable LED floodlights and two rechargeable LED work lights. My total kit weighs 75 to 85 pounds and, with all the contents, costs about $4500. There are more than 20 chemicals, 30 towels, 13 electric tools, 8 foam pads, 20 brushes, 50 pieces of hardware, and 5 touch-up paints. But there’s only one goal: Detail your collection.