Goodbye Black Plastic Trim!!!

 

 

 

 

 

My Mini Clubman Sport is a great car, but there are a few things I’d like to change. The black vinyl trim along the base of the car is one in particular that has always bothered me. If you don’t take care of it, weathering will give it a dull gray appearance.

Since I bought my Mini I’ve used a relatively expensive product from Sonax that worked well and kept my plastic looking good, but it was a time consuming chore that required lots of squatting or bending.

One alternative to the black trim is to purchase a John Cooper Works Aero Kit, which now has the option of getting the wheel skirts in the color of the car.  Despite the price (over €2000 with labor), I seriously considered this.

The aero kit’s side trim and wheel covers look great, but the JCW kit front and rear bumpers for the Clubman don’t appeal to me.  I prefer the more elegant design of the original bumpers. Of course it is a matter of taste, so a kit might be right for you.

The Aero Kit is described by BMW/Mini as more aggressive (and there is a new air vent for the front brakes). But as much as I wanted to like it — the heavy use of plastic on the bumpers is what I wanted to get away from.  So I decided to have the black plastic painted, preserving the original elegant bumper design and eliminating the black plastic.

After years of living in Germany I’ve developed great respect for the master craftsman tradition. An auto paint & body shop in a neighboring town by the name of Wegewitz has an excellent reputation, so I visited them and described what I wanted.

I turns out that painting this trim is not as simple as I had hoped.  The first problem is that the vinyl trim isn’t smooth, so the paint can’t properly adhere to the trim.  The master painter also explained that all the chemical treatments I had applied to keep the plastic looking good, would prevent the paint for taking hold.  So there is quite a bit of preparation involved in painting the trim.

First the trim needs to be removed from the car, it is then placed in a special drying room and treated to remove chemicals.  Once it is dried and free of chemicals, it is polished and smoothed.  Then a special primer for plastic is applied and dried.  Then it is painted and dried.  Afterwards a coat of clear paint is applied to protect the paint finish.  Then the trim is attached to the car again.

Before

After painting – I found this to be a particularly dramatic improvement.

The clips used to fasten the trim to the body of the car easily brake off when the trim is removed, so there is a bit of material expense in order to replace the clips. Also, the Mini Cooper S baseboard strips have to be removed to get the trim off, and there is a good chance they will also need to be replaced.

 

The underside of the trim is also painted.

I couldn’t be happier with the result. They did a fantastic job for less than half the cost of a John Cooper Works Aero Kit — and I kept my “S” bumpers!

 

 

 

 

IF YOU LIVE IN SOUTHERN BAVARIA, OR ARE PLANNING A CHIEMSEE VACATION

click to enlarge

The Firma Wegewitz has an ideal location, it is only steps away from the Bahnhof (train station) and very close to an Autobahn exit.  It’s very easy for anyone who lives in Munich or Salzburg or points in between.

So it would be easy to drop your car off on a Monday and with a Bayern Ticket take the train home, and of course the same thing when you pick your car up.  Of course the Chiemsee is also close by, so if the weather is good, you can have a day on the lake before returning home.

I took my Mini in on Monday morning and it was ready late Thursday afternoon — so you will need to leave your Mini for 4 or 5 days. Of course if you live in Munich or Salzburg, it is easy to plan.

And if you don’t live near by, it’s a great place for a vacation!

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