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My 1969 Dodge Charger's paint is, well, paint. It's an old single-stage industrial coating that's been sprayed on mostly to protect the metal beneath, with color being a secondary concern. I know, that's the idea of all paint jobs, but most people with appearance cars like a '69 Charger care most about the shine and color for one reason or another. But this car is driven hard and put away wet. It's a bruiser that sees dirt roads, wintry mixes, and all the gruesome realities of being a daily driver in Northeastern Pennsylvania.
There's no sense in laying down a million-dollar paint job that'll just get chewed up anyway.
Torn-up paint is what we're here to talk about today, though. My Charger’s "fresh" paint job is already in need of some love. Aside from being an admittedly horrible body man, it's already accumulated its share of scratches, swirls, and chips out there on the road. While I am a big fan of road rash, I do think it's important to take care of your things, especially when you put as much work as I have into this machine.
And wouldn't you know, Malco Automotive recently set me up with its Epic Paint correction kit and a Flex polisher for review. It's a no-BS, straight-to-the-point setup that's designed to streamline the paint correction process as much as possible. As much as it seems like the perfect fit for something like this, I'm still going to run you through my initial impressions before getting to work.
Three Options, Not Three Steps
Malco's Epic Paint Correction kit seems a lot like any other. It comes with three different compounds of different levels of abrasives—heavy-duty, medium-duty, and finishing polish—with a total of four polishing pads to match, two of which are meant for use with the heavy-duty compound depending on the hardness of the clear coat.
The beauty of this kit is that it isn't meant to be used solely by stacking steps. Each compound can be used as a single-step system if you so choose. You pick the compound with the right level of abrasiveness to match the severity of the imperfections in your paint, you polish until the abrasives break down, wipe it, then walk away. Even with the heavy-duty compound, you have the option to just use one step to get the job done. These compounds are also water-based, which makes clean-up equally as easy.
You can follow up the heady-duty or medium-duty compounds with the finishing polish if you're after a deep shine. It's not necessary, but it does give folks the option to shine whatever they want to varying levels with very little effort, which is great. Though I need to reserve my judgment until after I use it, it's already looking like you really can't go wrong for $143.
A Polisher to Boot
Malco also sent me a Flex XC 3401 VRG polisher to aid this review. That's a super-nice touch, but it's not mandated for this kit. That said, it's a $400 polisher that the company hooked me up with, so I am going to review it at the same time.
And this thing is way nicer than the polisher I'm used to, which I'd expect it to be at eight times the cost. But let's talk specs before we let the initial impressions get the best of us.
As for the details, this is a gear-driven dual-action polisher that's pretty much everything you need it to be for taking care of anything on wheels. It can deliver rotational speeds of 160-480 RPM and orbital speeds of 3,2000-9,600 OPM. Speeds are managed with a locking paddle switch and a dial-type speed selector.
The Flex XC 3401 is a big piece of equipment, but it's made manageable with grips both at the base and above the polishing head. Without even using it, you get the sense that this is a professional piece of equipment. That’s no surprise: it’s German. So, yeah, it's expensive, but you know it's the last polisher you'll ever need to buy.
I'm no professional detailer. I'm not even close. I am, however, a guy who drives the crap out of his car, and though it's never going to be a trailer queen, I do like it to take care of it. So, take my input accordingly.
My gut tells me that this kit is intended for people just like me. I don't think it's going to work miracles and provide that void-depth-level shine you'd expect to find at one of those over-the-top Concords or auctions. It'll shine the car up nicely so that it's presentable but not so much that it's sterile and bougie. Kind of like how a callous-handed person who threw on a tux or dress to sneak into one of those aristocratic affairs would appear. And to be honest, that's just right for me.
Of course, the Charger is a test subject that'll give us a good look at how well it does on really crappy paint. However, one 60-year-old car with single-stage paint is hardly enough to gauge what the Epic paint correction kit is capable of. I'll be cleaning up a few other modern vehicles along the way for good measure. You'd better believe I'll also be comparing how the kit performs with my $50 Chicago Electric polisher versus that fine hunk of engineering I was also sent.
What do you think? Let me know what your thoughts are, what questions you've got, and any test suggestions in the comments. I'll do my best to address them in the full-length review.