It takes a special kind of boldness to look at Aston's flagship Vanquish and say: 'nah, we'll make it our way'. And, well, the Zagato guys did. But then it requires no less nerve to provide such a car with a deserved enhancement. That's where the Topaz team stepped in and said: 'bring it on'.
So here we are, admiring the Vanquish Zagato at one of Topaz Detailing facilities. Firstly, the car itself. Initially presented as a one-off at Concorso d'Eleganza Villa d'Este in 2016, the Concept met with what Aston Martin calls 'unprecedented customer interest'. Soon enough, a limited production run of 99 units was confirmed.
Vanquish is the fifth production model in the companies' decades-long relationship, following the DB4, the 80s V8 Vantage, the DB7 Vantage and the V12 Vantage Zagato creations. Last year the Z-designers rolled up their sleeves once again and left the automotive world in awe with the Italian interpretation of Britain's finest modern-day grand tourer. It corresponds to the Milano-based studio design code, including the trademark "double-bubble' roof, while remaining a true Aston Martin in both style and propotions.
Something halfway between a perfectly usable vehicle and a piece of art requires high-end treatment by a state-of-the-art detailing company. We are told that this is already the fourth Vanquish Zagato Topaz have worked on so far and there is more of them coming. Quite an impressive contribution. Especially when you realize that a few are still being built over in Gaydon.
But there is more, so much more to take in when at Topaz during the team's usual working day. In general, the headquarters houses a car wash, detailing studio rooms and the PPF (Paint Protection Film) installation area.
Following multiple phase interior and exterior cleaning the cars go through in-depth inspections and individual paint measurements. Afterwards, the actual enhancement service begins. Depending on the level of works opted by the customer, the paintwork is treated to the correction process to remove various imperfections such as swirl marks and scratches. Later on, top sort wax is applied. Imporantly, as the works proceed, every single vehicle is checked multiple times by a number of team's experts. In case of any imperfection detected, the car instantly goes back for adequate treatment. That's how you ensure best possible quality.
Pursuing absolute perfection, Topaz Detailing offer the Signature Detail option. Focusing on factory paint finish improvement, the service guarantees a hundred per cent correction factor by removing the 'orange peel' distortions found even on newly delivered premium cars. The process includes levelling the clear coat layer to ensure mirror-like lacquer finish. Sure enough, a Porsche 991.2 Turbo S that has just recieved the Signature treatment, literally glitters with its superb black paint.
Now, to the PPF area. Similar to numerous other modern-day inventions, paint protection film was originally designed for military use. In the automotive world, the film protects possible impact areas as well as the paintwork itself.
At Topaz, prior to the installation, the cars are measured in-house, digitised and have their tailor-made covers designed. Evaluation fits are carried by the most skilled installers until they meet the exact CAD specification. Multiple tests ensure a near-invisible look combined with complete protection. Furthermore, TopazSkin includes a 'self-healing', surface-levelling layer that eliminates its own scuffs when exposed to even minor heat.
Asked about the most demanding car Topaz ever work on, Nabil Naamo, co-founder of Topaz Detailing, replies with no hesitation: 'It's always the Zondas. They are all hand-built, you know, so when it comes to the PPF design, from our point of view they are not even symmetrical! Then there are all the curves and edges, spoilers and winglets, vents and fins, especially on the 760s...'
Nabil is proud to mention his most challenging projects, including a concours-winning Ferrari 250 GTO preparation, but he also appreciates the everyday variety of the cars at Topaz HQ. As we stroll around the facilities, we pass outstanding hypercars and noble classics, striking tracktoys and affordable roadsters, gorgeous grand tourers and practical hot hatches. And at the end of the day, it's not the car's price tag that matters, but the drivers satisfaction from having his pride and joy in perfect condition.
Paweł Zieliński Michał Grabowski