Keeping luxury vehicles showroom-shiny is everyday stuff for Matt Williams. Cleaning and restoring the first Air Force One? That'll go in the scrapbook for sure.
In July, Williams and 29 other auto detailers spent a week refurbishing the Boeing 707 that carried Dwight Eisenhower, John Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon, not to mention U.S.S.R. Premier Nikita Khrushchev and U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger.
Replaced as Air Force One in 1962 by a newer Boeing, the plane known as SAM 970 continued to ferry vice presidents and other VIPs until 1996. It's now on display at Seattle's Museum of Flight.
Williams was selected from a pool of graduates of California-based Attention to Details, a master-level detailing training facility run by Renny Doyle. In addition to SAM 970, the detailers refurbished the exterior of a World War II B-29 bomber known as "T-Square 54."
Detailing brightwork--a plane's polished metal exterior--required different materials and tools than for cars. Williams says the before-and-after, especially for the B-29, which had sat virtually untouched for decades, was dramatic: from "like, white, chalky to, ‘It looks like a mirror.' It's incredible, the change we can achieve."
Williams' Marysville-based mobile detailing business, Silver Lining Detail, offers everything from a 90-minute wash and wax ($80 to $100) to a multiday, show-quality "Signature Detail" ($1,200 to $1,500 or more) for automobiles, motorcycles, RVs and boats.
How much would it cost to have your 707 shined up? Says Williams, "To be honest with you, I have no idea. I think there were 1,500 or 1,600 [volunteer] man-hours dedicated to this project."
Reprinted from the September 2011 issue of Columbus C.E.O. Copyright © Columbus C.E.O.