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11-20-06, 04:21 #1
Revisiting An Old Friend With Klasse
Time flies as they say, and it seem like only a few years have passed since I first discovered Klasse car wax products. I never used the original Klasse formula, which many old-timers may remember as having a strong chemical smell. When I first found Klasse on the shelf at my local Porsche dealer in Rockville, Maryland, it was 1986 and the company was making a big deal out of the new formulation and a better container. What I remember most was trying it for the first time and deciding to throw everything else I had in the trash. Nothing else compared.
Since 1986, I have recommended Klasse to thousands of car owners and professional detailers. With very few exceptions, everyone who has tried the product from my recommendation reported back with the same conclusion: Klasse simply works better than the polish and wax products they've been using. Now, I'm not one to say "never", but in my testing Klasse continues to out-perform all but the most expensive or labor intensive products available. Before you pummel me with "have you tried this or that..." hate mail, let me say that I've tried every product I can get my hands on from A to Z. This is simply the product I like best.
Not familiar with Klasse? That's not so surprising. For the past two decades the Klasse product line has been lightly distributed by Bob Faragasso from his small Klasse USA warehouse in San Francisco, California. Bob, who is passionate about Klasse products, is the sole distributor of the line in the USA and works directly with the importer. Bob is not interested in mass distribution of Klasse, he simply wants to make sure it get to the true enthusiasts. The primary channel continues to be luxury car (Porsche, Mercedes-Benz, BMW, etc) dealerships throughout the United States, automotive paint and body suppliers, and select internet resellers.
What is Klasse?
Klasse is a synthetic wax. To my knowledge, Klasse is the original two-step paint sealant system. The first formulation was released in 1969. It was a breakthrough admixing polyethylen carnauba wax replacement system. Through the years, Klasse has evolved with many improvements. The first major change came in 1986, when Klasse was modified from its original formula to use the latest polyethylene-acry compound technology. Between 1991 and 1996, the chemists made incremental changes to improve durability by more than 30% and U.V. protection by 100%.
The benefits of Klasse over traditional carnauba waxes are many, and include: easier application, longer lasting, and a brighter, more radiant shine. Plus, unlike a carnauba wax, Klasse offers true U.V. protection that lasts for several months. Likewise, most of the polymer-based synthetic systems (Klasse is an acrylic resin) have a hard time performing at the same level as Klasse. Only the very best polymer systems, like Zaino Show Car Polish, offer the same level of protection and finish results as Klasse, and the Klasse system is 35 years old. Pretty impressive, don't you think?
There are two products in the Klasse system. Klasse All-In-One is a combination cleaner and sealant in one, whereas Klasse Sealant Glaze is a pure sealant (no cleaning or polishing properties). Klasse All-In-One is intended to be used as a seasonal cleaner-wax, and as a pre-step to using Klasse Sealant Glaze. If your paint is in new or like-new condition, Klasse All-In-One will help you keep it that way. Klasse Sealant Glaze provides additional sealant protection and a deeper, high gloss finish. As a pure sealant, multiple coats of Klasse Sealant Glaze can be applied to improve the final finish.
Interestingly, while most wax makers have developed car wash shampoos, detailing clay and detailing sprays to work in conjunction with their wax products, Klasse has not. They continue to focus solely on the wax itself. To fill this void, a relatively new product line has emerged from Sonus. The Sonus line includes detailing sprays, polishes, car wash shampoos, detailing clay, and a booster spray wax, all specifically designed to work with Klasse.
For me, the benefit of Klasse has always been the ease-of-use of the Klasse All-In-One (AIO) product and the gloss enhancing beauty of Sealant Glaze (SG). When I first started using Klasse, we did not have paint detailing clays, quality car wash shampoos, microfiber towels and detailing sprays that are widely available today. A good 100% terry cloth buffing towel and applicator were the order of the day. The new array of support products make Klasse so much easier to use, and the final results are far superior.
Preparing Your Paintwork for Klasse
If you wash regularly and garage your car, applying Klasse All-In-One (AIO) twice a year is sufficient to maintain good paint health. Klasse AIO's cleaning ability is mostly chemical, not abrasive. The polishing ability of Klasse AIO is very slight, but it will remove fine swirl marks, stains and moderate oxidation.
Rather than rub your arm off trying to clean your paint perfectly with Klasse AIO, I suggest starting with a washing (Sonus Gloss Shampoo was made specifically for use with Klasse) followed by detailing clay. This will safely and effectively remove all contamination. I like the Sonus brand clay, as it is very gentle and easy to mold. All it takes is three or four light passes over your paint and it will be squeaky clean and smooth. Rinse frequently so the soapy water does not dry and create streaks. If my car is already washed, and I want to work in the garage, I use my quick detailing spray as the clay lubricant.
Removing Swirl Marks, Water Spots and Blemishes
Although popular internet myth may have you believe that multiple coats of Klasse Sealant Glaze (SG) can magically remove swirl marks, the unfortunate truth is it only hides minor swirls (emphasis on "minor"). Klasse SG is an excellent top coat, but it's not a substitute for polishing. All paint finishes require occasional polishing to remove blemishes, oxidation, water spots and swirl marks. You can mask and hide these problems for a while, but not forever.
A quick word about polishing. Internet myths would have many car owners believe that polishing is bad for your paint because it reduces clear coat thickness. This statement is true if you're using a rubbing compound or heavy cutting polish, but is not correct when talking about fine pre-wax polishes and gloss enhancing polishes. Fine polishes serve to keep paint healthy by removing microscopic surface oxidation. They also round over the edges of swirl marks to reduce or eliminate their visibility. To prove this to be true, I polished a single panel on my car every day for 30 days using P21S Paintwork Cleanser. At the end of the month I could not detect a reduction in paint thickness using an electronic paint thickness meter. The swirl remover, gloss enhancing polish I use most with Klasse is Sonus SFX-2 Enhance. If you have minor scratches that need removing, try Meguiars ScratchX. For more information about polishing, see How-to Polish Paint and How-to Use The Porter Cable 7424.
Proper Klasse application requires a proper applicator. Ask any Klasse-phile and they will tell you "thinner is better". Klasse AIO is not very particular about application, but Klasse SG must be applied as a very thin coating or it will be difficult to remove. The proper film application for Klasse SG is best described as a "whisper". There should be very little film to remove when properly applied.
For Klasse AIO application, I recommend the Handi-Grip foam applicator. If your paint needs a little extra cleaning power, use the Sonus Der Wunder Applicator, which has more polishing power than foam. The handle on Handi-Grip allows you to put a little more power into the polishing with very little effort. Work on a single panel at a time. I recommend applying a 1-inch size dab of Klasse AIO to your applicator and work it in well to a single panel at a time. Allow Klasse AIO to haze for a minute or less and buff off with a Sonus Der Wunder Polishing Towel. The Sonus Der Wunder Polish Towel has just the right texture to make Klasse AIO removal a cinch.
To properly apply Klasse SG, use a 100% cotton terry cloth applicator, or my favorite, the Blue Perl microfiber applicator. Do not apply Klasse SG with a foam applicator. For removal of Klasse SG, look no further than the Concours Buffing Towel. It's made using the world's finest natural fiber "microfiber" terry cloth toweling . The fibers are small enough to be classified as a microfiber, but this towel does not contain a bit of polyester or polyamide. Manufactured in the USA to my demanding specifications, a finer towel does not exist. My second choice towel is the new Sonus Der Wunder Buffing Towel.
Quick Detailing Your Klasse Finish
Sonus Acrylic Spritz is the only detailing spray made specifically for use with Klasse. Use it between washes to remove light dust, finger prints, bugs and other light contamination. Use it after washing to remove water spots and restore gloss. For best results, use a quality microfiber detailing towel with a thick nap. A plush nap will help protect your paint when removing dust and other contamination. The Sonus Der Wunder Buffing Towel has a dual nap that's very plush on one side for quick detailing and tight on the other for high-gloss polishing.
If you like keeping your car neatly detailed between washes, I'd like to recommend the OXO Car Duster. This is the safest car duster available. I thought you'd have to pry my California Car Duster from my cold, dead, lifeless fingers, then I tried the OXO duster. The difference is night and day. The OXO duster is lighter, yet the mop head has more surface area. The OXO duster has a safe, rubber coated handle (ergonomic, mind you!), whereas the California Car Duster is wood or plastic (depending on the model you choose). Finally, the OXO duster uses a lighter paraffin wax on the mop head so more dust is released when you shake it. I used the OXO duster on my black Porsche 911 for six months and never saw a swirl mark or streak from the OXO duster. I sold the 911 a while back, but I kept the duster!
Extending Your Klasse Finish
Do you want the secret to keeping your Klasse finish looking like it was "just applied" wash after wash? The paint care experts at Sonus created a "Klasse Booster Wax" called Acrylic Glanz. Acrylic Glanz is basically Klasse Sealant Glaze in a spray-and-wipe formula. You can treat your car after every wash in less than five minutes. Your paint will emerge looking like you applied a fresh coat of Klasse Sealant Glaze, and full protection will be restored.
I've used dozens of different toweling materials with Sonus Acrylic Glanz, but have come to the conclusion that the Concours Buffing Towel works the best. The reason is that the Concours Buffing Towel material does not have a strong rate of absorption. This is just one of the qualities that make it a great buffing towel. The Concours Buffing Towel gives you time to wipe Sonus Acrylic Glanz across a complete body panel before it wipes it away. You'll use less Sonus Acrylic Glanz and get better application results with the Concours Buffing Towel.
Washing & Drying Tips
You've spent hours creating the perfect finish, don't ruin it with bad wash and dry tools or strip your Klasse protection using a harsh detergent or cheap car wash. Make sure your wash mitt is soft, plush and is free rinsing. Use two buckets to wash (one for soapy water and another rinse your wash mitt) so that your wash mitt and wash water remains clean. I highly recommend a genuine wool wash mitt over a sponge or cotton wash mitt. They are soft and release dirt quickly and thoroughly. I also recommend the gentle, gloss restoring wash provided by Sonus Gloss Shampoo.
For drying, I recommend the newest generation of microfiber waffle weave drying towels. The Sonus Der Wunder Drying Towel is soft, has a scratch-free edging, absorbs seven times its weight in water, and is light enough that you can wring it out when it becomes saturated. The fabric in other waffle weave towels is so heavy and thick that they are impossible to wring out, making them totally useless when they become saturated. The Sonus Der Wunder Drying Towel will not scratch and it leaves a spot-free finish.
Can Klasse Be Applied By Machine?
If you have a Porter Cable 7424 dual-action polisher, you're in luck! Using the 7424 polisher, you can easily polish with Klasse All-In-One and finish with Klasse Sealant Glaze and not break a sweat. The trick is to use a polishing pad with Klasse AIO and a microfiber bonnet to apply Klasse Sealant Glaze. Lightly mist your pad with Sonus Acrylic Spritz (one or two light shots) before starting to buff. Apply the Klasse products in a thin plus sign across the pad. Buff with the speed dial set between 3.5 and 4.5. Apply more Klasse to the pad when you see it's no longer applying a fine, uniform film. As described above, apply Klasse AIO to a single panel at a time and buff off with a Sonus Der Wunder Polishing Towel. You can also remove the dry Klasse AIO film with a Sonus Bonnet. Apply Klasse SG to the entire car finish then buff with a Concours Buffing Towel to remove the remaining polish film. Click this link to read a full tutorial on the Porter Cable.
The Future of Klasse
Very few car care products survive a decade, let alone three or more decades. In fact, the list is very short, and includes such products as Liquid Glass, Autoglym Super Resin Polish and a few Meguiar's products. Klasse's 35 year product run is a tribute to the product and the enthusiastic following by people who love to detail their cars.
Are there any changes coming? Not according to Bob Faragasso, who says, "Sales continue to grow from word-of-mouth in all car enthusiast circles." After 18 years of faithful service, this is one car enthusiast looking forward to many more years with Klasse.Too Many ads? Becoming a member of Autopia has its privileges. Sign up here .
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