Meet the new 300BHP Rebel Blue Volvo C30 T5 Test Mule!
I stumbled across it when window shopping online (as you do) and although I wasn’t specifically after a new car I thought it’d make the perfect ‘Guru-mobile’ to both transport me to jobs in style as well as feature prominently on the channel, so after a few phone calls, down south I ventured to bring the beast back home.
It’s essentially been modified to give the look and feel of the 400bhp 4WD Polestar edition Volvo never released and while plenty of people might shy away from buying a heavily modified motor, the parts were actually a massive selling point for me as most of them were exactly what I would have done to a factory example myself, plus I knew I could make them work as subject matter for future videos so it was a win-win in my eyes.
Before we get to grips with any cleaning then, I’ll quickly run you through the various upgrades starting with the 19-inch BBS SR diamond cut wheels which despite not being the expensive forged FI versions featured on the Polestar are still in essence the same design. They’ve been generously wrapped in sticky Yokohama Advan Neova AD08R tyres which look the biz but more importantly help keep me and my detailing gear firmly affixed to the asphalt.
Nestling neatly behind the front wheels are a pair of colour-coded 8 pot PB brake callipers that bite onto a nice set of floating drilled & grooved discs and while the setup is perhaps a little overkill for the street, they still remain perfectly useable on it and will of course look great on camera which is justification enough for me!
To the rear we have the standard Volvo calipers which have been properly painted to match, with grooved discs and uprated pads added to help balance out the braking situation somewhat and although you can’t currently see much of them, the car is sitting on adjustable Bilstein shocks which aside from giving an aggressive stance provide a nice connected feel without an overly firm ride. Then a rear anti-sway bar from U.S. based company Elevate helps to enhance the handling even further.
A custom 3-inch de-catted stainless exhaust system which obligingly pops loudly on the overrun does an effective job of expelling gasses from the T5 lump, but it’s not all show and no go as up front we have a high flow Elevate performance intake manifold which replaces the restrictive factory plastic item, a simple K&N jobbie then gives the beast a throaty induction roar, and a thermally coated 3-inch Elevate turbo intake pipe feeds the standard blower with plenty of fresh air; all of which are more aggressively managed by a fully remapped ecu.
Lower down there’s also an uprated aluminium intercooler you can just about clock from its chunky welds and lastly, lurking unseen in the engine bay is a Forge turbo actuator and a hissing Elevate bypass valve which does a brilliant job at blowing children, small dogs and old ladies off their feet! And while I don’t currently have any paperwork to prove it, all these mods reportedly combine to push the standard output of the car from a respectable 230bhp to a more brutal 300+ which, considering it’s all going through the front wheels is more than enough if you ask me!
There’s still a few things I plan to do to make the car my own like returning the gloss black roof, spoiler and a few other bits back to their original blue finish, as well as either repainting the wing mirrors in factory satin metallic silver or replacing them with genuine carbon fibre items. Then essentially the plan is to knock-back the obvious appearance of any painted trim and shiny parts (including the wheels), by finishing it all in a more ‘stealthy’ but still smart looking satin black which should allow the Rebel Blue paintwork to really pop.
Current mods and future plans aside though, this first video, as well as introducing you to the car, is really just about giving it a good old scrub to rid it of the array of crap you can see had accumulated from the spirited 250 mile drive home across the bug infested UK motorway network, as in its current neglected state it certainly didn’t deserve to be called a ‘guru-mobile’.
First off then was a basic wheel and arch decontamination for which a citrus degreaser was used in place of a more harsh traffic film remover to strip the inner arches, wheels and brake calipers of any ingrained grime. Once that had been given sufficient time to soak it was thoroughly rinsed off with the pressure washer, before the last of the Code Red active wheel cleaner featured in my last video was employed to eat through any iron contamination created by the large discs of which there was surprisingly very little, so I’m guessing the previous owner obviously either kept them clean or practiced plenty of engine braking.
This time it was also worked in with a few different shampoo drenched detailing brushes to give a more thorough clean and get the most out of what product remained. The faces were then given my signature synthetic wash mitt once over to help neutralise any wheel cleaning chemical residue as well as allow me to kop a quick feel of the new wheels.
Once all washed, each corner was thoroughly rinsed off and although I do plan on removing them to film a more in depth clean of the callipers arches and suspension components soon, this would have to do for now.
Next up was to remove any iron contaminants from the Rebel Blue paintwork. I had intended to use Carpro Trix to simultaneously eliminate any tar spots too but couldn’t manage get hold of a bottle in time so I had to go with Autosmart’s Red 7, of which I had plenty.
Now I know some people prefer to wait until after washing to remove iron but I generally prefer to get the heavier, smellier and generally nastier chemical decontamination out of the way earlier on.
With the sun out I didn’t want to let it dry on my new prized possession so let it soak just long enough to get a good visual indicator of the level of contamination, before carefully rinsing it off from top to bottom so I could move onto the next stage of the process.
Instead of a straight up snow foam I went with the same citrus degreaser used in the pump spray earlier to give a better shot at softening up the multitude of sins currently sticking to the paintwork. While snow foam’s great for removing loose dirt its deep cleaning abilities are limited so something more powerful blanketed over the surface would hopefully provide a more effective pre-clean.
Not being a dedicated snow foam the orange juice didn’t quite foam up to the same extent but it still produced enough suds to soak on the surface for a few minutes which was really all I needed. Any more deeply ingrained areas of contamination were then gently agitated with a soft bristled detailing brush to give the degreaser a bit of a helping hand.
Getting up close and personal with a car that’s new to you like this allows you to potentially unearth any important cosmetic issues that might need tackling like stone chips, loose pieces of trim or cracked lenses for example that may otherwise be easily overlooked.
Once it had been treated to a nice sunny soak and soft agitation then it was given one final thorough pre-rinse to get it as clean as possible prior to washing.
Due to the fact the paintwork was already swirled I wasn’t going to fart around with the two bucket technique so instead just went with one, albeit still with a grit guard inserted. My aim here was simply to give the car a damn good scrub so I could see what I had to contend with, the pampering wash technique will come later once the various surfaces have been properly enhanced and protected.
The car was washed in the usual top down manner, with particular attention being payed to any areas that had previously appeared deeply ingrained.
There’s a strange sense of freedom washing with just one bucket, it’s a bit like going commando – technically it’s wrong but at the same time just feels right and while I don’t recommend it for routine maintenance washing of swirl free cars (one bucket that is, not no undies), for a first decontamination wash on a used car like this I wouldn’t worry too much about temporarily straying to the dark side.
Also, to be fair it was Rebel Blue paintwork I was cleaning so a rebellious wash technique seemed fairly appropriate.
If you’re a sad get like me then washing your new car for the first time can be a pretty exciting experience as you map uncharted territory with your suds and steadily formulate the best future plan of attack.
On some of the more heavily contaminated areas Autosmart G101, which is a diluted all purpose cleaner, was first sprayed over the panels to help the gentle shampoo product cut through the stubborn summer bugs, which overall seemed to work quite well. It’s best to do this towards the latter stages of the wash if possible though as it can ‘flatten’ the suds and render them pretty useless after a few dunks in the bucket.
Once I was satisfied everywhere had been contact washed to within an inch of its life I then systematically rinsed off all the suds to prepare the panels for their penultimate stage of decontamination, and it was only really now that I was starting to see the fruits of my labour and the true car underneath.
So, because I was too slow on the Trix front I still had to de-tar the car and sticking with the Autosmart line I grabbed a litre of Tardis for the job, which it’s got to be said is rancid smelling but pretty effective nonetheless.
I employed what I like to refer to as the ‘tar and towel technique’ here. So, with the car either wet or dry (it or doesn’t really matter) you spray down a panel with the tar remover, spritz the towel with it and then gently work it over the surface to quickly wipe away any spots instead of sitting around and waiting for them to slowly dissolve, which can be a bit of a ball-ache especially if you’ve got a camera running and the hot sun to contend with.
If you did just leave the tar remover to soak on the surface in this kind of weather it would likely dry and while in my experience that won’t necessarily damage the surface it will leave crusty tar runs that’ll look even more unsightly, so if you haven’t got time to let it sit or the conditions don’t permit then the tar and towel technique, or a simple spot clean with it over the end of your finger is probably the best way to go.
Yet another rinse down later then and it was finally time to clay the car to remove any remaining stubborn contaminants that either me or the previous products had failed to eliminate and while clay towels certainly get the job done quicker, the aggressive ones I had with me can often leave the paintwork looking like it’s been wet sanded, which is fine if you’re machine polishing straight after but I wasn’t, so to avoid cloudy clear coat syndrome I decided to go the traditional clay bar route.
The freshly wet panels were primed with a detail spray to provide some lubrication and prevent any unnecessary deep scratches being inflicted as the clay bar was worked over the C30’s surface.
Most of the upper panels felt pretty smooth already as the majority of the contamination had now either been dissolved or washed away, however you can’t really classify a car as fully decontaminated until its been properly clayed so I continued on with the process even if certain areas didn’t really feel like they needed it.
The lower areas of a car on the other hand are where a clay bar will generally do most of its work and that was no exception here as the bottom of the doors and chunky sills were still holding on to a fair bit of ingrained dirt, that if left sitting on the paintwork could jeopardise the polishing process later on.
Once I was happy all surfaces were suitably smooth and contaminant free then, the car was given it’s fifth and final rinse down to remove all cleaning and decontamination product residue so that a thorough towel dry could then take place.
Despite having repeatedly let water and products dry on the surface throughout the day due to off camera faffing and chatting, there were thankfully very few signs of water spotting or streaking but then again this is a Volvo and the old V40 proved to be indestructible in regards to detailing product abuse so I don’t know what I was worried about!
Similar to when contact washing the car I really wasn’t concerned with a pampering pat dry as that kind of mollycoddling can hold off for the post-polish maintenance washes, the goal here was to simply towel dry it off in the most efficient manner possible so I could call it a day and grab some after shots.
That being said I did still ensure I made a thorough job of it, soaking rinse water up from all the new nooks and crannies as this was going to be it for the paintwork today, so I didn’t want to be left with any unsightly drips once I’d finished up.
Although this initial decontamination job wasn’t really about enhancing and enriching, I did slap some Auto Finesse Satin Tyre Creme on to the rubber to help give the car a relatively respectable appearance, but the super stiff side walls of the Yoko Advans were a pain in the backside to dress with this product and took a good five minutes each to get them to satisfactory standard so liquid dressing and a brush next time I think!
To reiterate then, this video was really just about introducing the new car to you while getting the majority of crap off it before moving onto the next stage. I kind of wanted to give it its first wash and get to know it in private if you know what I mean but I thought it was only fair I shared the experience with you as a way of saying thanks for helping the channel reach its first major milestone of 100k subscribers.
Despite doing a relatively thorough job here, the nature of trying to do two things at once meant there were still a few areas that needed further work, so I’ll be setting aside another morning or afternoon off camera to clean the car again and get it completely contaminant free before I move onto filming any polishing work.
Considering it had essentially been stripped naked though and apart from the tyres sat completely un-enhanced, I still think it still looked pretty sharp and capturing these preliminary after shots got me quite excited for what it might look like once it’s been properly polished and protected.