3M Shines at the Woodward Dream Cruise

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Chip Foose Judges the 3M hoods

3M offered attendees at the 2017 Woodward Dream Cruise a look at their latest vehicle care products along with hosting a custom hood program with 10 of the world’s top painters – judged by Chip Foose.

The Woodward Dream Cruise has become the most anticipated annual automotive event in Metro Detroit, drawing over a hundred thousand classic car owners and spectators each year. In addition to the scores of privately owned show vehicles and the large displays set up by automotive manufacturers, the Dream Cruise has become a popular event for other big names in the automotive world to show off their latest and greatest products.

Chip Foose in the 3M display

At the 2017 Woodward Dream Cruise, the folks from 3M had an elaborate display with plenty of new products and even a little star power. While there were quite a few companies with large displays, the 3M area along Woodward Avenue was one of the biggest and one of the most popular, with attendees lined up to visit the display throughout the course of the day-long cruise.

3M at the Woodward Dream Cruise
The massive 3M display at the 2017 Woodward Dream Cruise had seven key attractions, including five product stations, a collection of customized mini-hoods prepared by top custom painters from all over the world and, of course, TV’s Chip Foose. In addition to signing autographs throughout the day, Chip Foose was on hand to critique the gorgeous custom hoods and having him there definitely drew in the crowds, but in spending some time in the 3M display, I found that a great many people were there to check out the various car care products and tools.

3M freebies

The five product stations in the 3M Woodward display included a grinder display, a sanding display, a polish/paint protection display, a paint gun display and – of course – an area where a 3M product specialist was handing out various 3M products. By stopping into the 3M area, show-goers could score detailing wipes, headlight repair kits, polish and a long list of other items while waiting in line for a closer look at one of the other stations or to meet Chip Foose.

Grinding Station

3M Product specialist grinding

At the grinding station, 3M was showing off a handful of their power tools, including a pistol grip disc sander, cut-off tools and their new mini file belt sander. The product specialists allowed me to try my hand at grinding down some welds with the mini file belt sander and I was shocked at how easily the tiny sanding belt made short work of the rough metal.

3M grinding tools

Best of all, the compact design of this new mini file belt sander allows you to get into much tighter spots than do the larger grinding tools on the market.

Sanding Station

3M body prep

At the sanding station, 3M was showing off their various sandpaper and body filler products, but they also had one of the Festool vacuum systems, which was hooked up to an orbital hand sander. This system allows you to sand away body filler or anything else without worrying about dust, as the vacuum quickly pulls nearly all of the dust through a HEPA filter and into a sealed canister.

Polish Station

3M product specialist polishing metal

At the polish station, a 3M product specialist had an array of paint protection products and a large piece of sheet metal which had been painted gloss black. The product display began with the guy taking sandpaper to the black painted metal, essentially ruining the finish. He then used an orbital, the 3M 3-step polish system and a few different types of polishing pads to quickly repair the brutal damage to the paint.

3M Polish display

Really, this was one of the most popular displays, as the speed with which the 3M products completely removed any sign of the sanding damage made for a great “wow demo”. I believe that it took the specialist less than 5 minutes to go from a badly scuffed surface to show quality and he did so with three bottles of 3M polish, an orbital buffer, some buffing pads and some towels.

Paint Station

3M Accuspray system

At the paint station, 3M was showing off their Accuspray One paint gun system, which is heavy duty enough for a body shop while being designed to keep the costs down for the do-it-yourself painter. The composite spray gun comes with a variety of color coded spray nozzles, making it easy to swap from one color to another without a lengthy gun cleaning process. When the time comes to switch from red paint to blue, a tradition gun would need to be fully disassembled and cleaned, but the 3M Accuspray removable nozzle effectively takes all of the paint with it, so you only need to change the nozzle and wipe off the needle before changing to a new paint color.

3M paint display

Also, this handy paint system includes lined paint canisters which make clean up easier and since these canisters come with lids, if you finish using one color before the canister is empty, the system also includes lids for easy storage.

The Custom Hoods

3M Hood crowd 1

Finally, the main attraction of the 3M Woodward display was a spread of 10 small scale hoods, all of which had been decorated by 10 of the world’s top custom car painters.

3M hood crowd 2

TV’s Chip Foose was on hand to critique these hoods while a crowd of hundreds gathered and as you might guess – these works of art required little negative input from Foose. The 3M custom hood program doesn’t have a winner, but these items will eventually head to the SEMA Show in Las Vegas, after which they will be auctioned off for charity.

"Before I was old enough to walk, my dad was taking me to various types of racing events, from local drag racing to the Daytona 500," says Patrick Rall, a lifetime automotive expert, diehard Dodge fan, and respected auto journalist for over 10 years. "He owned a repair shop and had a variety of performance cars when I was young, but by the time I was 16, he was ready to build me my first drag car – a 1983 Dodge Mirada that ran low 12s. I spent 10 years traveling around the country, racing with my dad by my side. While we live in different areas of the country, my dad still drag races at 80 years old in the car that he built when I was 16 while I race other vehicles, including my 2017 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat and my 1972 Dodge Demon 340.

"Although I went to college for accounting, my time in my dad’s shop growing up allowed me the knowledge to spend time working as a mechanic before getting my accounting degree, at which point I worked in the office of a dealership group. While I was working in the accounting world, I continued racing and taking pictures of cars at the track. Over time, I began showing off those pictures online and that led to my writing.

"Ten years ago, I left the accounting world to become a full-time automotive writer and I am living proof that if you love what you do, you will never “work” a day in your life," adds Rall, who has clocked in time as an auto mechanic, longtime drag racer and now automotive journalist who contributes to nearly a dozen popular auto websites dedicated to fellow enthusiasts.

"I love covering the automotive industry and everything involved with the job. I was fortunate to turn my love of the automotive world into a hobby that led to an exciting career, with my past of working as a mechanic and as an accountant in the automotive world provides me with a unique perspective of the industry.

"My experience drag racing for more than 20 years coupled with a newfound interest in road racing over the past decade allows me to push performance cars to their limit, while my role as a horse stable manager gives me vast experience towing and hauling with all of the newest trucks on the market today.

"Being based on Detroit," says Rall, "I never miss the North American International Auto Show, the Woodward Dream Cruise and Roadkill Nights, along with spending plenty of time raising hell on Detroit's Woodward Avenue with the best muscle car crowd in the world.

Rall can be contacted at [email protected]

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