It was a busy summer for me in terms of writing work, motorsports, and travel. In between trips to the track, time spent summoning words from the ether for clients and taking some time to get away from it all, I managed to replace my daily driver with something a little more modern. While I still love my E34, my partner needed a more reliable vehicle so that she could get to and from work without any hassles. I had also grown somewhat bored with driving the BMW – it had been my daily ride for four years, which is longer than I have ever owned any other vehicle.
In the end, I was able to solve both problems by picking up a 2004 Cadillac CTS-V. I had been enamored of this four-door hot rod ever since they first hit the market, and when the chance to take possession of a black on black model for a great price fell into my lap – after 18 months of searching – I jumped on it.
The car had spent its entire life in Florida – which is apparently the rock chip capital of the universe – because while most of the paint on Cadillac was in great shape, the front bumper, hood and quarter panels were a pastiche of chips and small scratches. Highway miles will do this to any vehicle, but on a black car this kind of paint damage is particularly visible. I was of the mind that a complete repaint would be necessary, but then I remembered a product that a member of the BMW CCA had mentioned to me in an email the year before that he said had worked wonders for the chips on his 3 Series.
That product was called Dr. ColorChip, and upon re-visiting the company’s website I discovered that for a very reasonable $60 or so I could get a kit that would do the entire front end of my car. The kit came with three different types of paint brushes, the Dr. ColorChip removal solution, a microfiber towel, a nitrile glove and a bottle of paint custom mixed to match my factory paint code.
It took me more than a month to find the time to try out the Dr. ColorChip “magic,” but one afternoon I finally set out to see if it could live up to the hype. After washing the front of my car with dish detergent in order to remove the wax from both the finish and the inside any of the chips where it might have built up, I got ready to apply the Dr. ColorChip paint.
There are two methods for using the product. The first involves applying it to each individual chip with a brush and then smearing it with a gloved hand so that it is flat across the paint. The second is to use a cloth to smear the paint directly across a wider segment of a panel, which is most useful for cases of severe road rash – in other words, exactly what I was facing. After allowing the paint to dry for at least 2 minutes, the next step is to soak some of the removal solution onto a microfiber cloth and wipe the paint completely off of the panel. The Dr. ColorChip paint will not stick to a clear coat finish – nor will it adhere to plastic or headlights, as I found out – but it will remain behind in the crevices and cracks in your car’s paint.
I dabbed a microfiber cloth of my own into the paint and then smeared it across the lower half of my front bumper. I decided to try it out on an area that would be inconspicuous first, just in case some horrific chemical reaction occurred that would scar my paint beyond all recognition. Truthfully, however, the paint smeared on easily and came off with only a little bit of elbow grease. In fact, for the first 20 minutes or so, I wasn’t even sure it was working all that well. The appearance of the paint chips was somewhat attenuated, but they weren’t completely ‘gone’ – as in, they looked different, but not entirely filled.
The right side has had the Dr. ColorChip system applied – the left side has not. The difference is astounding.
It wasn’t until I did some of the vertical panels flanking my Cadillac’s grille and then took a step back that I discovered the real benefit of the Dr. ColorChip system. Comparing the right side of the car to the untreated left side revealed that 99 percent of the white chips in the paint were gone. After applying and removing the Dr. ColorChip paint, all of the white flecks and chips hadn’t been filled back to factory paint depth and finish but rather dyed my car’s exact hue. As a result, even when viewed from close up the effect of the product is to create a surface appearance that looks like an even coat of paint.
A closer look at what my paint looked like after Dr. ColorChip.
The final result of using Dr. ColorChip on my car’s front end. Note – the hood has not been retouched yet.
It’s not perfect – but it’s 10 times better than what I was dealing with beforehand. Factoring in the $60 price tag – and the fact that I would have had enough to do the entire hood if I hadn’t spilled one quarter of the paint on the ground due to an errant knee – and I am overall very impressed with what Dr. ColorChip did for my car.