I always think paint protection is a personal thing; what I feel is required, may be seen by others as either overkill or woefully inadequate. Experience has taught me, that Caterhams like to eat paint, in much the same way as they eat tyres. Therefore you can only do so much.
It helps that I am a short drive from the factory painter, who painted Caterham chassis for the factory for many years. I have often used this company, TSK (https://www.facebook.com/TSKCaterhamPaint/), to refresh paintwork on my car and return it to factory fresh. Their prices have always been reasonable, often costing less to paint than having paint protection applied by the company Caterham uses for this.
I don’t apply paint protection film, just heavy duty protection in the areas of heavy wear. For this I use 3M helicopter tape. 3M helicopter tape is clear and very strong, which makes it ideal for areas likely to be subjected to something rubbing or vibrating against it.
To apply the tape, I use the water & washing-up liquid spray method, so I can move the helicopter tape during application and squeeze the water out using a decal squeegee. Remember, only a very small amount of washing up liquid is needed, one tiny drop in a spray bottle.
On this build I applied protection to the following areas:
- Side screen corner (near the screen)
- Side screen strap (bow)
- Side screen strap (bottom of the side screen)
- Bonnet spring latch
- Hood sticks (near the roll bar diagonal mounting points)
- Nose cone (above the front upper wishbone mounting point)
I didn’t apply paint protection to my 360R on the side screen bottom because it had arm rests fitted. Also, I haven’t needed to apply paint protection for the nose cone before; I am assuming this is because this is my first carbon fibre nose cone.
The basic rule of thumb is: if there is something that can rub or vibrate on the paint, I have protected it with 3M helicopter tape.
- Decal squeegee