Sole rustproofing specialist since 1987. Specialising mainly in Land Rovers and Motor Caravans since year 2000.
Good reputation with Jaguar owners
The business was started in London 1987 as a mobile business for greater London and the home counties , with equipment installed in a Luton van, mainly to rustproof the Jaguars of that era (XJ6, XJS, Mark 2 etc) which tended to corrode badly. Waxoyl was the rustproofing material of choice for Jaguar owners at that time because they had found the Waxoyl slogan: “kills existing rust and prevents further rust” to be true. But diy waxoyling is not for the faint hearted and waxoyl vapour in a body shop will ruin all paint spray operations. So I had spotted a gap in the market.
Rustproofing Jim Will's car in South London 1998 Urchin: "How did you get it up that like mister?" Me: "I went Shazam"
2 months serious research at the Science Library.In 1997 I borrowed £10,000 under the government loan guarantee scheme of the time to research and produce my own rustproofing materials. I spent two months researching at the British Science Library also known as the Patent Office. I looked up many patents and spoke to dozens of suppliers of “intermediate chemicals” and got a firm understanding of corrosion and the corrosion prevention industry. I also did many tests. I rented premises in Hackney to produce my materials. Jaguar owners of a certain age may dimly recall (I only dimly recall it myself!) my “Gold Service” where I would mix pigmented rustproofing wax to match the body colour of the car to produce “colour matched wheel arches” and a wax with a “laminar” aluminium pigment to inject into the cavities and spray the underbody. A folder of endoscope photos of the sills was handed over to the customer. The colour matched wheel arches were a big hit with owners. Here are some comments from a 1998 customer survey:
From Phil Perrett, Mk 1, work carried out on 7.11.98:
"I am very satisfied with the work carried out on the MK1 Jaguar. The colour matching on the wheelarches is particularly pleasing. The colour match is spot on, it adds an extra dimension to the car".
From Steven Bailey, XJS, work carried out on 15.12.98.
"Very impressed with end result which included colour co-ordinated wheelarches".
but the actual production side made it more trouble than it was worth so I discontinued the gold service and reverted to the bread and butter business of waxoyling cars. Interestingly, around 10 or more years later I re-rustproofed some of the gold service cars and noted that the rustproofing wax had held up really well, particularly in the wheel arches and that gave me the idea to use it many years later (2015) as part of my CR coating.
The move to premises in Newbury
By 1999 I had built up a good reputation with Jaguar owners and had a full diary. So I took my courage in both hands and moved into premises in Newbury, Berkshire. (A huge, derelict old hangar for the boilers that had been used to keep American long range bombers toasty warm in their hangars on Newbury common airbase - just in case we needed to nuke the Soviet Union). From 2000 onwards I specialised more and more in Land Rovers with some motor homes.
KLEENtect coating introduced in 2001
In 2002 (again, informed by my time in the British Science Library) I introduced KLEENtect, a very tough, anti-corrosive, non-stick paint finish for Land Rover underbodies. This consisted of two coatings. The first was a very tough anti corrosive coating (used on bridges with a guaranteed lifespan of at least 15 years). The final coat was a clearcoat, containing PTFE. PTFE is “hydrophobic” (resists water), so the clearcoat was a further belt and braces anti-corrosion coating and also gave the coated surface mud repelling and self-cleaning properties. This was a big hit with owners of the target market of new Land Rover Defenders and around 150 KLEENtect jobs were done between 2002 and 2009 when I had to discontinue because no longer able to get the materials due to EU regulations. Not one guarantee claim! Recently one of my KLEENtect customers drove all the way from Gibraltar (well he did visit his daughter in London on the way), to show me his still mint KLEENtect “colours” Defender. The KLEENtect looked as good as the day it was done 10 years ago in 2007.
Joe Serra and his Kleentected 90.
Underneath looks like the day it was done 10 years ago. (Can you spot the Gibraltarian snail clinging on for dear life)
New Focus on Land Rovers – New equipment needed
While in Newbury I gradually built up the equipment needed to strip off the huge amounts of mud and rust on some Land Rovers, particularly Defenders. Unable to find anything to buy that was powerful enough to meet my needs, I custom built my own hugely powerful “beast” of a pressure washer which can strip off mud and rust in double quick time. So called “experts” in the pressure washer trade still say it can't be done. Well I've done it and it's worked fine for the past 15 years. In 2002 I felt confident enough that my treatment would last 5 years and so I gave a five year guarantee. “If you see any rust coming through the coating within 5 years, bring it back and have it re-treated free of charge. Initially, I was not so confident that it would last this long on very rusty vehicles so to some customers I had to say: “I'm sorry, I can't give you the guarantee – it's too rusty. But it should last 3 years and maybe even 5. Keep an eye on it and bring it back for re-treatment (at full price of course) if it needs it”. In 2002, based on my research in the British Science Museum, I introduced KLEENtect.
The move to Rugby
In 2007 my landlords, the Greenham Common Trust in Newbury decided to knock down the old eyesore that was my premises in order to make a car park. (Neighbouring businesses complaints about the noise made by my pressure washer probably hastened the decision!)
Great attractions for customers in Warwickshire
So in January 2008 I packed everything into 3 shipping containers or on to the back of an artic and moved to my present premises on a farm near the Midlands town of Rugby which is much more central. This has worked out very well because while there were some great attractions around Newbury for customers to visit in my courtesy car, the number and quality of easily reached attractions in Warwickshire is really outstanding. (I researched on the net and wrote most of the stuff in my printed information pack while still in Newbury.)
Anti-abrasion additive added to waxoyl in 2008
In 2008, again drawing on knowledge gleaned from my research period in London, I put an anti-abrasion additive into the standard waxoyl to make “Before 'n' After improved waxoyl”. This has proved to be very successful. (See Gary Webb testimonial). Ordinary waxoyl does not resist abrasion and so can wear off, even with the thickness of a Before 'n' After application. (The so- called “washing off” effect that diyers talk about on forums). The additive I put in at 2% really makes a difference. Not only does the coating resist pressure washing off the mud (abrasive effect), I have noticed that it prevents the waxoyl from oxidising and thinning. In 2015 with ever increasing competition from some of the Land Rover specialists who have started to do rustproofing, and recent, copycat, so called rustproofing specialists, I needed to draw again on the “London Research” period to innovate and differentiate myself from the herd of “me-toos”.
In 2015 the CR coating introduced
So I formulated the CR, a waxoyl type coating using the 2% anti-abrasive additive and including some of the materials that I had used for the “Gold Service” 20 years earlier and which had stood up so well. With my unique equipment for stripping off mud and rust and the ability to spray on a very thick coating which had proven to far outlast those of would be competitors, with the new CR coating I was confident that I could now give a 10 year guarantee. “If you see any rust coming through the coating within 10 years, bring it back and have it re-treated free of charge”.
Now, (at the end of 2017), I have some problems which I need to solve and I hope this brand new, “responsive” coded website will do that for me. Here are the problems I needed to solve and how I hope this brand new (spring 2018), responsive website will be the solution to these problems.
Outdated website. The old website was first done in 1999 using “frames” (not sure what that means but apparently it's an outdated no-no.) Many bits have been added on over the years by different developers and the whole thing was a bit of a mess. 60% of people now access the internet with mobile phones and that figure will probably grow even more. Lots of the old website, particularly the home page, was impossible to read on a mobile phone. So I have been losing lots of business I'm sure. This new, “responsive” website will, I hope, solve that problem.
My Unique equipment to blast off heavy rust - a boon or a problem? - a The ability to rustproof very rusty vehicles that no-one else would touch and even to be able to give 5 year and now 10 year guarantees has always been a bit of a two edged sword I have now come to realise. I've always thought of it as a competitive advantage but being the only guy who can treat very rusty vehicles has given me a bit of an image problem. I would rather be known as the go-to guy for shiny new Pumas. Plus, very rusty vehicles are very hard, physically tiring work and some of the owners can't really afford my services and have over high expectations. Many of the vehicles are so rusty that they will need re-treating under the guarantee. With many of them, my pressure washer discovers extensive rot. Sometimes the rot is so bad that the owner has to take the vehicle away and get welding done before I can finish the job. So with many of these vehicles it ends up as a two day or even three day job in the end. I use around £80 to £100 of materials and I have overheads of around £350 a day so you can see that not only am I working for nothing on these cars, I am actually losing money! So the new, Customer Record Page and new classification system is designed to help with this problem. Classification d) very rusty maybe with some rot and e) 2 or more rot holes will now have to pay an £100 extra on the day and £200 for re-treatment under the guarantee. I can foresee lots of arguments about where the line is drawn between classification c) ten years or older but fairly clean and classification d) very rusty, but I am going to be strict but fair. Photos posted on Customer Record Pages will show the difference between the various classifications.