Sunday, August 24, 2008

Griot's Garage

I took a step deeper into the waters of car-enthusiast geekdom yesterday with a trip down to Fife, WA to the retail store for Griot's Garage. Griot's is an international purveyor of car-cleaning supplies that staggers the imagination in some respects. For the enthusiast who pines throughout the week for a sunny Saturday so they can spend the weekend detailing their car, Griot's is nirvana.

The actual retail area of Griot's is quite small, but their back area is a warehouse of products as well as where they manuafacture some items. They host events all year round to demonstrate using their products. Car enthusiast groups gather there for vehicle-specific demos; for example, next weekend it's BMW M-class owners.

I went down with my friend Phil Bardsley in his BMW Z4 roadster. He found Griot's through a Z4 Web group. The group is international and he kept hearing Griot's products recommended. When he went to their Web site, he was happy to learn that they're local (well, 60 miles south of me--that's local enough).

My Nissan 350z has chrome wheels, black leather seats and trim, and stainless steel and vinyl interior. I try to keep it clean, but I'm a slug when it comes to cleaning cars. Stuff happens, an espresso spill here and there...

Also, despite the fact that my cats don't ride with me in the car, their hair seems to permeate the interior. I appear to be a carrier of cat hair that suddenly expels itself from my clothing the minute I turn the key to start the car. I can accept ingesting cat hair with my food, that's to be expected, but in my car it rankles a bit.

I typically go to the Rose Hill Car Wash in Kirkland, WA. Their full works wash costs about $20.00 and includes interior cleaning. They also have detailing services available at $150.00 for full interior/exterior detail. There are also other places. The Pro Sports Club in Bellevue, WA provides car washing/detailing services that can run up to $445.00 for a small car--of course that involves Q-Tips and hours of labor, but it's still almost half a thousand dollars for what amounts to a very fancy car wash. I think I need to train myself to do it on my own.

So there's Griot's. After browsing through the small retail space and picking this and that, I spent about $140.00 on products that I have to use myself, and that's just for interior cleaning products. I haven't even begun to look at serious exterior cleaning products like buffers and waxers.

Now here it is Sunday and I haven't tried a single product yet. I can excuse myself with the weather, which, after a glorious Saturday, is now gray and rainy. Again. Also, I don't really have the driveway space to do it right. My garage is a wee space that doesn't let me fully open my doors. My driveway is a bit tight, too. I've got shrubbery on one side and, if my neighbor parks his truck in his driveway--which he does--it's a bit close on that side, too.

But I'll tough it through. I may just get a reasonable detail job done on a yearly basis, but in between, I'll need to supply my own elbow grease.


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