Detailing tips from a pro who cleans cars for the Pebble Beach Concours


Long before you can see the reflection of your seersucker suit in a car’s fender on the lawn at Pebble Beach, expert hands spent hours prepping the car for the show. Judges sweat every last detail at a major concours, so unraveling a garden hose and that old bottle of car-wash soap the night before the show isn’t remotely going to cut it. Extreme focus and vigilance are necessary to make sure a car is ready for the concours lawn. More than that, however, is that time and effort applied in the right places to make a car pop out from the rest of the pack and catch the judges’ eyes.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://www.hagerty.com/articles-videos/articles/2018/08/28/tips-from-pebble-beach-concours-car-detailer


So, let’s review:

  1. Don’t wash the car.
  2. Wipe the car with Griot’s Best of Show detailer using microfiber towels.
  3. Don’t use olive oil on the wheel arches.
  4. Use glass cleaner on the gold in your engine bay.
  5. Use Wesley’s Bleche-White or Groit’s Rubber Prep on the tires.

I had no idea detailing a car was so simple!


Agreed michalewj, only difference is he probably gets $1K per car to make his magic seem so simple! Great article Hagerty!


Hagerty…you’ve had some awesome articles. “THIS”, is not one of them. I am disappointed. I was expecting a lot more details and tips. For some reason it seemed more like as ad for Groit’s products.
I guess maybe some of the commenters might want to throw in some personal tips.


Well, if he is getting paid big money for this, it is his intellectual capital and telling everyone all his secrets would be counterproductive. Actually, he did:

“Trial and error, and keeping himself humble and open to the constant improvement that comes from learning.”

He also gave a nice tip about microfiber cloths. If you want a “how-to” tutorial from him, call him and offer to pay him for his time and experience. Not sure what YOUR talent is, but if it is your livelihood and contains years of experience and “secrets,” would you give it all away in an article? I think not.


I’m having a whitewall tire problem. The tires were recently installed, and they are the narrow whitewall, but they were 6 years old. They had never been on a car and still had the blue covering over the whitewall. I can’t get the yellow out. I’ve tried Westley’s Bleach White, Brillo Pads, Ajax - everything I could think of.

Anybody have any suggestions on how to get this tires white?


He mentioned MY PERSONAL favorite all-purpose chemical in the article: LACQUER THINNER.

“For whitewalls I personally use a towel with some lacquer thinner, but I wouldn’t necessarily suggest that for beginners, who are better off with Westley’s Bleche-White tire cleaner.”

I use it (very carefully) on ALMOST every part of every car I restore. Try a very small amount on a rag and try a tiny space on the blue to see if it helps. Given that it has been on the tire so long, it may take a bit of elbow grease to get it off. Should that spot work, wait a while to see if anything adverse occurs–yellowing, etc

If not, I think he found you an answer that might work for your situation.


The blue is no longer there - that went away the first time I tried to clean them. But . . . I’ll give the lacquer thinner a try on a small spot on the yellowed whitewall. He scared me away when he said he wouldn’t necessarily suggest it for beginners.

Darwin Carmichael


I hear you…it is a VERY corrosive chemical on some parts, so you are wise to be very careful. Let us know how it works out!


I have good results using the Magic Sponge on white walls. Also this sponge is really great on getting rid of surface scratches on plastics and actually make chrome pieces (not pitted yet) smooth.


I was pleased about his reference to glass cleaner on chrome. I have used the cheapest Walmart blue glass cleaner on my under hood chrome and my chrome rally wheels for years as pre-show prep and it always seems to work well. Mostly, it doesn’t leave spots from any overspray. I usually use two rags, one to remove the glass cleaner and crud and the other, a microfiber rag, to buff the parts.


try Spray 9, apply to a dry tire, and use a wet scrubbing brush. If you can locate an old fashioned powder cleaner like Comet sprinkle some on the brush. I’ve used this for over 50 years on ww tires and white convertible tops, but if you are doing a convertible top keep rinsing the painted surfaces while you work. Rinse well after doing this, making certain all the soap is removed.


I have a '58 vette with 2.75" white walls and at cruise nights and car shows I usually get asked about my secret for getting them so white. Since new, I have only cleaned my tires and wheels and wheel covers with soap and water first. Once clean and still wet, I grab my common fingernail brush, with curves at both ends (can only get 3 of my fat fingers in it), I wet it and apply GOJO hand cleaner to the bristles and go to work on the white walls.
It does not hurt the black rubber, in fact I clean my entire tire with it. It takes ALL marks and discoloring away from the white wall with little elbow grease and then just rinse and dry. This keeps them looking like new and no worries about chemical streaking. Try it, but use GOJO because it works, I have not tried any other products because this works. I actually keep in my trunk so I can show it to all who ask me about my white walls!


I mix in a small bowl. Clorox Bathroom Cleaner with Bleach and 409. I spray the area with hot water the dip a blue Scotch Brite sponge and use the scrub part and begin scrubbing. When done spray with hot water and wipe with a cotton towel. This also works well with cleaning the white rubber parts of tennis shoes. Try it and see if it works. I always use disposable gloves when using these two products.


Thanks - I’ll give it a try!



It sure would have been nice if he told us how to get that scratch out, rather than just tell us he knows how…sure maybe he repainted it…LOL

in reference to “giving away his secrets” we’re all just car guys here, it doesn’t cut into his business to offer some real advice, i just have a couple muscle cars, not some concours Ferrarri, the guy with the concours Ferrari wouldn’t touch a microfibre cloth anyways, he would pay this guy to do it for him.


Just to clarify things. What I do everyday isn’t for everyone. Yes my clients are wealthy, but I don’t take advantage or overcharge. In regards to the products in the article, I use products that are consistently excellent quality. With that being said, I do use Meguiars, Menzerna and other brands depending on the job.
One of my favorite products is used to clean range hoods in restaurants! It is one of the best degreasers on the market. Spartan SD20 is sold online and can also be one of the best rubber and whitewall cleaner.
I have no secret formulas and am willing to share any tips. If you have any detailing related questions just ask. I’ll be more than happy to reply.
Thanks for allowing me to show you a glimpse of Monterey Week. That interview was done the day before the show and I was hustling to get my cars prepped.
Tim McNair, Grand Prix Concours Prep


Funny story actually. I left my “go to” compound in the trailer 5 miles away. So now what?
I polished the deep scratch out using 3000 sandpaper and Nuvite metal polish. Finish with Meguiars 205 and Best of Show paste wax.
It took longer than anticipated, but it worked!


Thank You Very Much!



Happy to help, if you have any questions I’ll be glad to answer them.
I hope to have more DIY - hands on articles and videos with Hagerty soon!