You know Jay Leno, right? Funny guy, big chin, even bigger car collection? Yeah, that guy. It seems he’s getting into the car detailing business these days with an entire line of professional-grade products for both detailers and DIYers. The latest is unimaginatively called “Evaporate” but it’s designed to prevent scratches, remove streaks, and create a high-gloss finish without water spots. That’s a good thing, I suppose.
One time, long ago, I was at the vintage races in Seattle with the local Miata club. When I got there, two of the more anal retentive members were talking about, and I’m not making this up, the direction to wipe water off their cars. I walked by, sauntered through the paddock for a brief survey of who was already there, wandered back to my car about 20 minutes later, and these two guys were still talking about the best direction of the drying motion to be used. People like that worry me.
This is a level of car detailing and cleanliness that usually bothers me. Look, I appreciate a clean car as much as the next gearhead, but there has to be some limits. And I’m not even really applying this to Leno. The guy has a fantastic car collection replete with very rare and impressive stuff like Auburns and Cords and Duesenbergs and steam cars from more than a century ago. Those are cars you are obligated, both mechanically and morally, to Take Very Good Care Of. Just think of the time and hassle and money that goes into repainting a V-12 Packard? You don’t want to scrimp on the wax.
Two Towel Approach
Enter Evaporate. And, as the name implies, it is a “drying aid.” What Evaporate aims to do is help prevent swirl marks and towel scratches by lubricating the vehicle’s surface during the towel-drying process of a car wash. Laudable goals, to be sure. Nobody likes swirl marks and scratches. It also helps prevent water spots and leaves behind a high-gloss finish. Evaporate was created by a team of chemists and Jay’s professional detailers (and how would you like that job?).
Applying Evaporate is easy. It’s a spray-on product that you squirt over a wet area of the vehicle before you dry it. First you spray on the Evaporate, wipe it down with a damp towel, then buff to a glossy finish with a second, dry towel. Leno, or at least Leno’s press release, says the “easy-to-follow steps create a vastly improved finish over conventional methods with little extra work,” and I have a tendency to agree. Effectively, all this does is add one intermediate step with little hassle.
Evaporate is the latest in a line of stuff called Jay Leno’s Garage Advanced Vehicle Care. And, like all of his Advanced Vehicle Care products, Evaporate is made and bottled in the United States, natch, since Jay is nicely patriotic in that way. They say the entire line was designed by Jay and his team to clean and protect even the most delicate finishes with professional-grade formulations. I’m not going to argue with that, given the cars Jay has to maintain. I’ve seen more than one on the lawn at Pebble Beach myself.
Tony Borroz has spent his entire life racing antique and sports cars. He is the author of Bricks & Bones: The Endearing Legacy and Nitty-Gritty Phenomenon of The Indy 500, available in paperback or Kindle format.