BURBANK, California – Our 2017 Honda Civic Type R is beloved by the staff—and for good reason. The manual-only hot hatch scooped up a 2018 Automobile All-Stars award with a unanimous vote, so it isn’t hyperbole to say that everybody loves this car.
The Type R never sits in the garage overnight, as it would be irresponsible to leave such a great driver’s car standing still. All this affection means our speedy Civic gets dirty and regular car washes and vacuuming are not always enough to keep the big-winged Honda factory fresh.
We brought the Type R to Jay Leno’s garage to give it the tender love and care it deserves. Leno has a team of detailers that keep his collection of over 150 cars and 75 motorcycles looking ready to drive. They use an arsenal of products that they develop, manufacture, and sell for public use.
Chris Walters and Jeremy Porrazzo started detailing Jay Leno’s collection seven years ago and eventually pitched the idea of starting a line of products under the “Jay Leno’s Garage” brand. Now, Jay Leno’s Garage Advanced Vehicle Care offers “all-inclusive cleaning supplies to detail a car, motorcycle, plane, or anything that rolls, explodes, or makes noise,” as Walters likes to put it.
Any detail job the team does starts with a thorough assessment of the vehicle in question. The pair figures out if they need to do a full-blown wash with a foaming spray or “if it’s something that can be done quickly with a detail spray and waterless wash,” says Walters.
Typically, Walters and Porazzo start on the outside and work their way into the cabin, but nonstop rain over Leno’s compound in Burbank meant the duo had to switch up the order. We pulled the Type R into the service bay of Leno’s compound, where Walters used an air hose to drip dry our long-termer.
He then got to work vacuuming out the interior and pulled the floor mats so those could be treated as well. Walters dedicated a lot of care to cleaning the seats, first with the vacuum and then with an arsenal of products. “Seats are where you spend the most time in the car,” he said. “That’s usually what gets dirtiest.”
Walters finished the job by applying a compound to the dash, doorsills and windows. Once every corner of the interior was polished and the rain cleared, we pulled the Civic back into the open air so that Walters and Porrazzo could get to work on the exterior.
The team uses a Nissan N2000 van equipped with generators, pumps, and hoses so they can provide a full service on the go. Leno’s facility also has a system that removes minerals from the water so there won’t be any residue left on the vehicle if the water dries too early. There’s also a drain system to receive the chemical-imbued runoff.
Our Civic first received an all-water rinse to prep it for cleaning. Leno’s Garage uses their own soap spray as well, which coats the car in a foamy layer. Once the suds covered the whole vehicle, Walters and Porrazzo scrubbed it down to lift all the grime. There’s one final rinse before the team uses a combination of micro fiber towels and an air hose to dry it all off.
The finishing touches come in the form of waxing and shining agents. One formula is applied to the paint and another to the wheels. Initially, we thought the rain did a pretty good job of cleaning the Type R on the drive over, but the Championship White paint looked even more stunning after the car received a thorough working over.
Walters said he started detailing as a teenager and has since learned about the depth and complexity of this craft. He says the products he and Porrazzo have created were designed to be easy to use while still offering top-tier results.
Dirt, grime, and coffee crust banished, we left the garage with our long-term Type R looking better than it did the day it arrived in our fleet. Expect our editors to be more eager than ever to clamor for the keys.
Looking to give your own car the star treatment? You can get your hands on Jay Leno’s Garage Advanced Vehicle Care products right here.