Tuesday, July 23, 2024
HomeAudiSaleen XP8 Explorer 98-027 Restoration Half 1 – Nick's Automobile Weblog

Saleen XP8 Explorer 98-027 Restoration Half 1 – Nick’s Automobile Weblog


After years (actually) of looking for the elusive Saleen Explorer XP8, I lastly discovered one on the market and was capable of buy it for a good worth. With solely about 120-150 ever constructed, it has not been straightforward to search out one…and when one lastly did pop up, I knew it might want some work to revive it again to its former glory.

Only a few folks know these vehicles even exist given the low manufacturing quantity, and people who bought the vehicles new usually used them as each day drivers and tow rigs, so only a few have been properly preserved regardless of the low manufacturing quantity…so the survivors are few and much between, with too many examples within the unofficial Saleen XP8 registry being totaled, rusted out, or in any other case past restore.

The start line: tough across the edges however multi functional piece and fortunately no rust!

I used to be excited that this explicit truck, Saleen XP8 98-027, was owned by an fanatic who actually cared concerning the automotive. He had two different Explorers from this similar period – one constructed for offroad, and one pretty inventory – so he knew the platform very properly. He had owned for 8+ years and was very hooked up to it, however it had been sitting exterior within the Southern California solar and was beginning to present its age from not getting used fairly often in the previous couple of years so he reluctantly determined to half methods. The tires have been rotted out so he needed to be trailered all the way down to me to finish the sale.

Upon arriving to me I instantly did a list of the automotive to determine what wanted fastened. Mechanically the automotive was in good situation and had been correctly maintained – I took it to a mechanic and there have been just a few odds and ends that wanted sorted (fluid flush, new brakes, new tires), however nothing pressing.

The beauty situation was one other story with years of solar injury and exhausting water spots consuming away the paint…so my first cease was to my good mates at Elite End to get her again as much as par. They’d labored magic on my Audi R8 so I used to be excited to see what they may do on this Explorer, however this is able to be a a lot larger problem given each the scale of the car and the poor situation it was ranging from (versus the R8 that had a significantly better baseline to begin from).

To provide you an concept how pale the paint was, right here is the rear tail gate with the vinyl eliminated

Kevin and the workforce at Elite End tore into this automotive over the span of about 2 months and completely knocked it out the park! There have been various actually tough components to this restoration that have been significantly spectacular that they may pull off together with:

Wheels repainted and coated!

Wheel Refinishing – the wheels are made out of magnesium and due to this fact will be very tough to work with and refinish. They’re additionally extremely uncommon and tough to exchange, in order that they needed to be dealt with with excessive care. Elite End labored in tandem with a physique store to sand out all curb rash and imperfections then paint them Oxford White to match the outside after which mount new Bridgestone tires. Subsequent they ceramic coated them utilizing a particular mix and a number of layers of coatings in order that it is going to be straightforward to maintain the white wheels clear. Over 15 hours went into the wheels alone, and so they look unimaginable!

Take a look at the sunshine replicate within the home windows as soon as once more, and the tint too!

Tint & Glass – the automotive should have been parked close to a garden sprinkler and the glass was tough to see via. The tint had bubbled up in just a few locations and the glass regarded horrible. Elite End retinted the whole automotive which regarded nice, after which went a six-stage course of to revive the glass which included an preliminary cleansing, clay bar, razor blade removing of deposits, slicing with 3D Eraser, second slicing spherical utilizing CarPro ultracut, then a ultimate ending polish utilizing CarPro essence. The top result’s so dramatic it’s exhausting to imagine it was the identical automotive! In addition they wrapped the B pillars in black vinyl to match the tint for the reason that pillar was so pale that it couldn’t be restored, giving it an excellent slick look!

One among many levels of the paint correction & sprucing course of!

Paint Correction – Elite End was capable of restore the paint on each single panel besides the entrance & rear bumpers and grille, which have been lacking large chunks of paint and due to this fact not save-able. They labored with a physique store to have the bumpers repainted to a precise match, then polished all the pieces to perfection and ceramic coated it. On panels that weren’t repainted, additionally they utilized touch-up paint to chips and made the automotive look 20 years newer, actually. I’m blown away at how good the paint seems to be and was pretty satisfied after I dropped it off that the automotive would wish completely repainted or wrapped so as to look pretty much as good because it does now.

New graphics put in on prime of the freshly polished paint

Graphics – the Saleen graphics have been past pale, in order that they have been capable of take away the outdated graphics, restore the paint beneath, then set up new graphics in the very same spot. I made a decision to change the graphics from gray to black to present the automotive a bit extra distinction, and was capable of supply the OEM Saleen recordsdata to have the graphics reproduced by Golden State Stripes for this undertaking.

Take a look at that shine!

Ceramic Coating – lastly as soon as all the pieces was accomplished, Elite End utilized their particular sauce which is a multi-step ceramic coating the place they layer just a few completely different coatings to make sure most sturdiness and shine. I’m an enormous fan of ceramic coatings and have accomplished a number of DIY installations, however based mostly on my expertise with the R8 there’s a huge distinction between the DIY coatings and a professionally put in coating utilizing skilled grade merchandise. Within the final 12 months I’ve solely washed my R8 as soon as with water, the coating is so good {that a} spray detailer (I exploit Elite End’s WashMist) is all that’s wanted to wipe any mud/grime away very simply. It’s unreal!

Earlier than and after – rear bumper!

The wait was all price it, and the automotive debuted on the San Diego Automobiles & Espresso subsequent to a Bronco and TJ Hunt’s twin turbo’d Huracan, which additionally occurred to be my first time seeing it with all the work accomplished. That have was unreal, seeing my highschool dream automotive totally restored and entrance and middle at a automotive present with 800+ vehicles in attendance and will probably be a reminiscence I cherish ceaselessly.

Debuting on the San Diego Automobiles & Espresso to a packed crowd

I can’t thank the whole Elite End workforce sufficient…it was an uncommon undertaking and I’m certain in worse form than 99% of the vehicles they work on (that are usually exotics & luxurious vehicles) and so they actually stepped up and confirmed they’ll work their magic on any automotive, from any place to begin.

When you have any detailing, PPF, tint, or restoration wants within the San Diego space, I extremely suggest them – and this isn’t a paid/sponsored put up, I paid a standard charge like everybody else and it was price each penny (after which some) to make an automotive dream come true.

Whereas I can’t say for 100% certain, I’m fairly assured that my Saleen Explorer is now the nicest XP8 left in existence from a beauty perspective. It is going to stay storage stored and solely pushed on weekends, so I count on that to proceed to be the case if not proceed to enhance as I proceed to work on small particulars to make it much more interval appropriate and totally restored (e.g. I discovered a set of the Saleen pedals that mine was lacking and will probably be putting in quickly).

A particular because of: Kevin Nielsen at Elite End (managing the restoration), Huge White Ford Explorer & wheelsxp8 (advising on Saleen components/historical past/accuracy), Brittany Renee Pictures for the superb footage, and naturally my spouse for placing up with me obsessing over restoring a 25 12 months outdated Ford SUV.

Keep tuned for Half 2 of the restoration (inside & mechanical) in addition to a put up going into the historical past and specs of the Saleen XP8 usually, however many of us have been asking on Instagram and IRL about how the Saleen is coming alongside so right here you go!



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