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Zen and the Art of Auto Detailing

- by Glenn Champagne

For those of us who seek an inner peace, a balance of yin and yang, in harmony with the natural and spiritual world, many practice yoga, meditation, Tai Chi, or martial arts such as Aikido and Hapkido. Those of us who take a more western path, may choose the solitude of a mountain top, serenity of a forest, lake, stream, or the peace and tranquility of island beaches.

Even some professionals seek an inner peace in preparation of their work. Some chefs enjoy the preparation of their “mis en place”. Some of you weekend warrior mechanics may clear the garage or work area of all that is unnecessary to perform the task. Tools organized by type and size, separated on individual towels or mats, placed in close proximity, to effectuate focus.

Then, there are the auto detailers.

For these folks, it is as much about the journey as it is the destination.

It turns out that there are hundreds of videos on auto detailing. Google “auto detailing” and count the pages. Some videos run for nearly an hour. How many of you spend one hour cleaning your car?

Some of you are really into this. I know some members who truly find detailing to be a great way to clear the head, relieve stress, and almost as a byproduct, get the car looking great.

What brought me to write a column on this subject? The Zone 1 Concours.

Here it is, the Zone 1 Concours event, cars coming in from as far away as New Jersey and Pennsylvania to compete. But what happens on the day of judging? It rains. How do you run a Concours in the rain? You move it inside! Much kudos to Bill Seymour and Tom Tate for the outstanding parking garage backup plan.

But what really caught my eye was the passion of those dedicated souls working in adverse conditions. Washing a car in the rain – that’s dedication. One of these brave rain car washers told me that he really wanted to win and just enjoys detailing the car. In his case, a beautiful 911 GTS. He doesn’t track, autocross, rarely attends social events, just loves detailing and car shows.

About 10 years ago, I asked a Zone 1 winner, “how many hours did you spend cleaning your car?” His answer – 40. That’s when I learned Concours was not for me. My quest for inner peace will take another path. One that has roads.

As always, check the Events page on Porschenet.com for the most current information on all club events!

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