I regularly visit five detailing sites: Meguiars Online, AutoGeek, Autopia, Detailing World, and Detailing Bliss. At each, one or two Last Step Products seem to predominate wax/sealant discussions and detailing presentations. In a way, these LSPs have come to iconically represent these forums. This is partially accounted for by the fact that the sponsors of the forums have commercial interests in promoting specific products--but only partially. So I thought I would ruminate a bit about my favorite five sites and their LSPs. Please feel free to correct or add to my reflections. This article is not intended to be controversial or critical, just whimsical banter which I hope will engender smiles and a few chuckles, good-hearted repartee, and perhaps even a little constructive dialogue. I hope you will not fail to see the many times when I have written with tongue humorously and firmly placed in cheek. No negative comments about anybody's products or any detailing website, please!
Meguiar's: NXT Generation Tech Wax
No surprise here. Though some prefer M26 and believe it to be, for the money, one of the best carnauba-hybrid waxes on the market, MOL members overwhelmingly prefer NXT or its professional incarnation, M21. They love its look and ease of use and generally do not care that it may not be quite as durable as some other synthetic sealants. They are happy to re-apply it as often as necessary: they enjoy and love their NXT. Even if it could be scientifically demonstrated that a single coat of NXT will last half a year under normal conditions, they would still wax their cars once a month, every month, until Zaino hell freezes over.
Some of the older Meguiarites, however, still hold a torch for the wax that was stolen from them--M16. They fondly remember the all-day Saturday sessions where they all so carefully, following instructions passed down from father-to-son over many generations, applied a very, very thin coat of #16 to their jalopies. And so they arrange to have #16 clandestinely smuggled into the States from that foreign land to the north. For this dangerous work they have enlisted a number of courageous Megs runners, who brave Mounties, customs agents, and wax security forces to accomplish their most worthy goal. But it must be stated clearly and unambiguously, NXT represents the bright future of Meguiars. There will be no return to the good ole days of hard paste waxes.
AutoGeek: Pinnacle Souveran
AutoGeek simply is Souveran (inexplicably pronounced "SOV-er-an"). Many other LSPs are sold by AutoGeek, but few engage the passions as does the darling of Pinnacle. AG members love it for its wet, deep look, extol its easy WOWO application and removal, and believe it competes well against any of the elite waxes. And they especially love Souveran BOGO. No matter when announced, every Souveran BOGO is a new Christmas morning, generating giddiness, excitement, and elation. I suspect that AutoGeeks are hoarding hundreds of thousands of Souveran tubs, stacking them one on top of the other in their closets, in preparation for the coming economic collapse. AG members often top Souveran over a sealant of their choice. They may vigorously debate which sealant should serve as the foundation, but all agree--okay, perhaps not all but certainly most agree--that Souveran must be the topper.
Detailing World: DoDo Juice Supernatural and Collinite 876s
British detailing upstart Dodo Juice is a sponsor of Detailing World, so perhaps it is not surprising that their Supernatural is the preferred choice of this largely British detailing community. Just as AutoGeek members believe that Souveran stands well against the more expensive elite waxes, so DW members believe that Supernatural truly is as good as, if not superior to, any comparable wax sold by Zymol or Swissvax or whoever--and at half ... or three-quarters ... or tenth the price! All kinds of waxes and sealants are enthusiastically promoted on the forum by DW members, but Supernatural ... well, it's Supernatural.
Detailing World, however, also loves the economical Yankee import, Collinite 476s. A goodly number of DW members believe that the differences between the waxes are so subtle as to be irrelevant; hence they also look for waxes that bead brilliantly--Worlders always carry their cameras with them, just in case it rains and they can catch the coveted beading on their bonnets--but, most importantly, they look for waxes and sealants that demonstrate durability and longevity. 476s embodies both characteristics in spades. It may on occasion be a difficult wax to work with--at least so some testify--but that does not deter enthusiasm for 476s one whit.
Detailing Bliss: Zymol Vintage and Swissvax Mystery
Detailing Bliss attracts a number of detailers who specialize in expensive cars, and they dress these cars in the two waxes that bespeak sumptuousness, style, and wealth: Vintage and Mystery. These two waxes may not be the most expensive waxes available within their respective lines--though they are certainly incredibly more expensive than anybody else's wax in the universe--but they belong to what must be classified as the elite tier of auto paint protectants. DB detailers, however, do not choose Vintage and Mystery simply for marketing and commercial reasons. They love them in an almost mystical and sensual way. They delight in applying them with their bare hands to their clients' Ferraris and Porsches and are utterly convinced that no other product can replicate the beauty that these waxes bestow. When speaking of Vintage and Mystery, speak in hushed tones. Prostrate and adore the holy carnauba ... long period of silence ... arise.
Autopia: P21S and Zaino
This was a very difficult choice. As far as I can tell, no single wax or sealant predominates discussion at the Autopia site. Autopia members are eclectic and more concerned about the art of polishing than with any Last Step Product. After all, polishing contributes 95%, nay 98%, to the final appearance of a newly detailed car. Autopians love to try many different waxes and sealants, in an infinite variety of combinations. (And don't forget to use a 50/50 Isopropyl/water solution to remove all polishing oils before applying the LSP!!!) Each brand has its enthusiastic supporters and equally enthusiastic detractors. Layering contests abound, though it must be said that some of the more experienced detailers have begun to question whether anything more than seventeen coats really contributes to either look or durability. I have chosen P21S as a representative wax because it has been well reviewed on the Autopia site for the past couple of years. Autopians like the look it brings to a car and believe it is an excellent wax at a very reasonable price.
I have also chosen Zaino as a representative LSP. Many Autopians demonstrate strong support for Zaino products, which might seem surprising, given that Autopia does not commercially support the Zaino line; but the performance of these products has won their respect and zeal. Whereas many enthusiasts like to use a synthetic sealant, topping it with a carnauba wax, lovers of Zaino typically prefer the look provided by the Zaino system; and they rejoice in its proven durability. Yet even here, eclecticism wins out. Autopians will not be bound to the dictates of any system.
MOL, AutoGeek, DW, DB, Autopia--I love all of you guys. Keep up the good work!