Californian cleaning might meets Detroit motoring muscle in this face-off between a Pro Am Pontiac Firebird and some Surf City Garage Gear.
And because it had been sitting in the soil the lighter coloured lower panels had been repeatedly splattered with mud from heavy rainfall, so while it may not have been the muckiest motor out there it was still definitely dirty enough to put the Surf City Garage Gear to the test.
Now although I don’t really do reviews or endorsements of stuff sent to me anymore I had agreed to give these a whirl many moons ago so being a man of my word I decided this was the perfect (albeit slightly overdue) opportunity to mate Californian cleaning might with Detroit motoring muscle.
With the car in its current dusty state I decided to start out with Surf City Garage’s ‘Speed Demon Wax Detailer’ as I felt it would have been pretty pointless testing it out on clean paintwork after all the other products had been used.
And while it was probably a little too dusty to safely use a product like this, I still went ahead and treated a few contaminated panels with the detailer, spritzing it onto the surface and wiping over with the plush side of a soft microfibre towel before lightly buffing it off with the other.
Despite the unwashed state of the surface the wax detailer still left a nice glossy finish behind without apparently adding to the existing swirls and so I’d expect it to do quite well on a regularly maintained car sporting only a light layer of dust.
With the initial few test panels complete, it was onto the ‘Code Red’ active wheel cleaner which changes colour from green to red to let you know how heavily contaminated your rims are.
These American Racing items had recently been refurbished so I knew the product probably wasn’t going to fully kick in here, however after being left to sit on the surface for a good few minutes following an initial liberal application, it did begin to lightly bleed in a few select areas proving that it does actually work.
You could I suppose work it in with a soft brush if you liked but because these wheels were pretty clean to begin with I just thoroughly rinsed the cleaner off and aside from a quick towel dry later on, left it at that!
Next up was the super concentrated Pacific Blue Wash & Wax which apparently leaves the surface “clean enough to eat off of”, not sure I’d be trying that but point taken!
My trusty ten year old black Meguiars buckets and grit guards, that in a world of trendy transparent items seem to generate plenty of disapproval, were filled with a nice sudsy solution of the shampoo but before they were put to good use contact washing the car, I thought I’d try it out in the snow foam lance first to see what it could muster up.
I probably decanted a quarter of a bottle’s worth into the lance itself but still, for a non-snow foam shampoo it produced some seriously thick suds that definitely helped to loosen the dust and dirt on the surface.
I think if you invested in a gallon of this stuff you certainly wouldn’t need to fork out for a separate snow foam product and instead could afford to use this as a pre-wash and a shampoo.
After letting the non-foaming foam sit in the sun for minute or so it was methodically pressure rinsed off from top to bottom to get the purple panels as contaminant free as possible before they were touched.
Impromptu pre-clean complete, the Pontiac was then gently washed with the same Pacific Blue product using a soft synthetic mitt to gently dislodge any remaining dirt. The bubblegum-scented shampoo felt super-slick on the surface and produced the kind of thick, luxurious lather that I love to wash with.
Surf City claims that the shampoo’s formula isolates dirt particles so that you can “wash without scratching” – a bold claim for sure and one that obviously I couldn’t verify here, however if it’s true that’s great news for us wash-a-holics, and if it’s a little white lie designed to sell more suds then no big deal as it’s still a pretty decent product in my opinion.
Despite stocking them Surf City didn’t send over any microfibre towels or applicators, so I didn’t bother properly filming the drying process as there was nothing to review.
Once dried properly off camera, the ‘Beyond Black’ Tire Pro dressing was then employed to restore the chunky Pirelli P-Zero’s back to, well – beyond black.
With its thin consistency the product looked to be water based which to be honest I wasn’t expecting but after a bit of research this seems to be an intentional move from Surf City in an attempt to reduce sling, so fair enough.
I cracked on undeterred, working it into the tyre wall with a generic old foam applicator pad until a glossy finish that I think a conspicuous car like this can pull off was achieved.
Being water based I did wonder about the durability, however Surf City promises it lasts for weeks and with plenty of time to cure in the sun it definitely had a good shot at sticking around.
The last Surf City Garage product I had to put to the test was the Barrier Reef ‘hand blended’ Carnauba wax.
The liquid protectant was applied to the soft side of a tri-foam applicator pad before being spread over the surface in circular motions as the instructions advised (as well as a few light linear ones thrown in for good measure).
Because this is a last step product it doesn’t need to be worked in with any considerable elbow grease but it’s still important to ensure all areas receive adequate coverage by applying it in a mindful and methodical manner.
It seemed to go on and buff off with relative ease and although there were some light caking issues, I won’t hold that against the Barrier Reef as I’m sure any other product would’ve had problems being used in this kind of direct heat too.
Obviously it would have been nice to cleanse or polish the paintwork with something like their ‘Beyond Clay’ product prior to protecting, however Surf City’s liquid carnauba wax seemed to be doing a relatively decent job at sprucing up the Pontiac’s purple and silver panels without the aid of a dedicated restorative product.
Once I’d got all the footage I needed for the video, I then spent another hour or so off camera ensuring everything had been brought up to an acceptable standard before recording some shiny after shots for the final conclusion.
I’ll admit this isn’t a brand I would have gone for myself but I was pleasantly surprised at the product’s ease of use as well as the results they gave in somewhat extreme conditions. That being said I’d take the baking sun over the pissing rain any day of the week!
As I said a little earlier, a polish would have been nice to further clean and enhance the paintwork prior to protecting as it just feels a bit wrong waxing an older car straight after washing but hey-ho, the Barrier Reef seemed to do a decent enough job on its own.
While the Firebird still needed some attention in other areas, these products proved great at providing a general spruce up which to be honest is exactly what they’re designed for as Surf City Garage itself classifies them as ‘enthusiast’ grade and not professional.
If you want truly top-spec results then its probably best you keep looking, however if you’re after some simple yet decent quality products that are easy to use and give realistic results, then I’d consider giving them a go!