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  • Writer's pictureLove Ballymena

Rare supercar worth up to £1M set to dazzle in Italy with help of Co Antrim detailing team

Mark Smiley (right) founder of Total Perfection with Finn Hansvold from Norway who flew in to help him prepare the Lamborghini.

Mark Smiley (right) founder of Total Perfection with Finn Hansvold from Norway who flew in to help him prepare the Lamborghini.


A rare supercar worth up to £1 million has been transformed by a small three-man auto detailing team in County Antrim for one of the world’s most prestigious concours car shows in Italy this weekend.

Total Perfection in Cushendall, which was originally set up as a car cleaning business to fund owner Mark Smiley’s way through university, was up against a clutch of large companies in the UK to prepare the limited-edition Lamborghini Contach for the Concorsod-Eleganza in Italy.

An incredibly special limited-edition Lamborghini, it is one of just 67 right hand drives produced to mark the luxury car company’s 25th anniversary in 1990, and the only one the world finished in a distinct orange colour.

It is now set to take centre stage alongside some of the most important and beautiful cars from all over the world at the concours in Lake Como this weekend.

The car was handed over to the local team by its London based millionaire owner who is a fanatical supercar collector.

Total Perfection, a small company known for its meticulous attention to detail, collected it from the owner’s house in Chelsea in an enclosed shuttle trailer and brought it to the Glens of Antrim earlier this month.

Mark Smiley (right) founder of Total Perfection with Finn Hansvold from Norway who flew in to help him prepare the Lamborghini.

Using high end products from Japan, the local team then spent six weeks lovingly restoring every inch to a pristine condition in time for this weekends’ Italian car show.

Total Perfection founder Mark Smiley landed the contract eight weeks ago. He said:

“It has been my dream to purpose a car of this class and for a wee company like ours in the Glens of Antrim to be picked to work on it against big companies in England was absolutely amazing.


“The owner could have picked anybody to repair his car, but he chose us. We kept him informed throughout with pictures and videos of what we were doing, and he said he was blown away with the customer approach and the obsessive attention to detail.


“We have been fortunate to work on many beautiful cars around the world but this car is so rare, and considering its age and the context of the show in Italy, which is one of the top shows of its kind in the world, we had to be extra careful with everything we did to prevent damaging anything on the car.”


An incredibly special limited-edition Lamborghini

It will not be the first time that the County Antrim company has taken to the world stage.


In 2018 they picked up seven awards for their skills in detailing the world’s rarest cars when they helped prepare the Kamikaze Collection worth over $50 million dollars for the UAE Concours d’elegance in Dubai.


The company was set up in 2003 when father-of-three Mark began a car-washing business to help fund his studies at Ulster University.


He then branched into valeting and as his reputation for excellence began spreading, he found a niche in refreshing luxury cars.


This brought him to the attention of the team at global hit TV series Top Gear, and from 2006, he and his two employees spent 10 years travelling with Top Gear Live Shows preparing the supercars for presenters Jeremy Clarkson, James May and Richard Hammon.


They also toured with hit movie brand Fat and Furious Live Shows.


Mark says:

“The Top Gear guys were very professional and were very thorough about how everything looks, so there was plenty of pressure on us to make sure the cars looked their best, but we were really fortunate to be given the opportunity. It was my job to strap Clarkson into all the cars as I am the same height as him.”


Despite this glamorous work, father-of-three Mark says his latest contract eclipses anything his company has achieved to date and admits working on such a rare vehicle was nerve wrecking for his team.


“It was a big responsibility to have the car in our care,” he says.


“It was in reasonable condition considering it was made in 1990 but was nowhere near the standard needed to enter a concours event,” he explains.


“Myself and my two employees Darren Large and Jonny Murphy worked on it for 136 hours. We dry iced below itand the engine and inner arches to leave them like new and deep cleaned all the wheels.


“The interior leather was restored by Ryan Donaghy at Leather Lab who deep cleaned and recoloured it to leave it perfect.


“We also had a specialist Finn Hansvold from Norway

who flew over to help us machine polish the paintwork which took hours, removing any swirls on it and adding a gloss finish before applying Kamikaze Collection coatings to protect every inch of the car.


“It was then loaded onto our shuttle trailer on May 17 and driven by Colin Millar to the event in Italy.“

Mark Smiley (right) founder of Total Perfection with Finn Hansvold from Norway who flew in to help him prepare the Lamborghini.

The day the company landed the contract eight weeks ago proved extra special for Mark as he also welcomed his twin girls Katie and Hannah into the world. He has an older daughter Connie (3).


Now the team will fly out to Italy today (Friday) in the hope that their work will clean up at the awards ceremony this weekend.


You can follow their progress with live footage from the on Total Perfection’s Instragam, Facebook and Twitter accounts.


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