Lexus Lives… is a new series that focuses on individuals and companies that enjoy a special enthusiasm for the Lexus brand. During our interviews we will discover how Lexus philosophies have influenced their choices and experiences in life, as well as learn about the vehicles that have faithfully accompanied them on this journey.
Our series begins with professional detailer and paint correction specialist Ross Campbell of Blackbeard’s Detailing in Lanarkshire, Scotland. Ross owns an unusual three-car cross-section of Lexus models: hatchback, SUV and convertible, equipped with four-, six- and eight-cylinder engines respectively. We wanted to discover what prompted Blackbeard to gravitate toward Lexus and what his professional assessment is of the build and paint quality found on all Lexus models.
How did you get into car detailing and how long have you been in this line of business?
Ross: “My father always liked to keep his cars immaculately clean, so as soon as I bought my first car I copied his example. My friends were all petrolheads, too, and working on their cars broadened my experience in cleaning almost every kind of exterior and interior surface.
“I loved the work so much that I launched my own business in April 2014 with a focus on high-end detailing. I’ve put my heart and soul into the business and although the hours are long and the work can be tiring, it’s all worth it when you see each car looking its absolute best.”
Work clearly puts you into close contact with many different cars, yet why did you personally gravitate towards Lexus?
Ross: “I think it all began after seeing a Lexus TV commercial about parents who went away on holiday and left their son to look after the car, only to come back and find him more chilled-out than usual. I’m not sure what it says about my teen dreams but I liked the ethos of the Lexus brand and the idea of feeling more relaxed as a result of owning one.
“A little later I was bought Chester Dawson’s book Lexus: The Relentless Pursuit and read it from cover to cover, fascinated to learn about the launch of the brand and the engineering that went into models like the first-generation LS.”
Your collection of Lexus models now consists of a CT, RX and SC. Why did you choose these three specific models?
Ross: “To be honest, I initially had my heart set on a GS 450h. But during my visit to Lexus Glasgow to test-drive one the sales executive wisely asked me why I was thinking about buying a saloon when I also had a dog. This prompted me to think more carefully about aligning my choice of car with my lifestyle, which, apart from the dog, also included a love of hillwalking and camping. So I ended up buying the more practical CT 200h – a choice that was much more affordable given that my detailing career was still in its infancy.
“Fast-forwarding a few years found us in the situation where my family and number of dogs had grown beyond the space available in the CT. So we went on the lookout for a more spacious model that could comfortably take us all on holiday. The RX 450h fitted the bill as the perfect family car and remains something that really suits our lifestyle.
“As for the SC… well, it’s the treat that I’d always promised myself. I remember seeing the convertible in the movie Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines and thinking that it was very cool. I know Jeremy Clarkson has an infamous dislike for the car but his comment actually did me a favour as it made the SC 430 more affordable.
“I cannot praise the SC 430 enough: it’s rare, it feels special, and it’s so much fun to drive. Although I do like the quiet and refinement of my Lexus hybrids and their seamless transitions between petrol and electric, the V8 in the SC is simply superb. No other car I’ve ever owned has drawn as many compliments; people stop me in the street and just start talking to me about it. And that’s really nice because I don’t buy many things for myself and it feels like a just reward for the really long work hours I put in.”
How would you rate your Lexus models in terms of their build and paint quality?
Ross: “I’d have to say that their build quality is second to none. I’ve owned the CT for nine years now and all it’s ever needed is routine maintenance. It’s been a similar story with the RX. The SC, on the other hand, was bought as a project, so I knew it needed some attention here and there, but this has been minimal.
“I’ve also found that their paint quality has been superb: soft to medium in hardness, which responds very well to machine correction and ceramic coating. In comparison to that of other brands, the metal flake count is also really high and as a result the paintwork looks incredibly luxurious in sunlight. The CT and RX are both painted in Matador Red, which is a beautiful colour that appears to change from being purple to red to orange as the mica particles reflect light differently during the course of the day.”
What are your plans for the future with these three models?
Ross: “My wife adores the CT and uses it more than any of the others but it’s the RX that has become our go-to family car, so we’ll definitely be keeping that one for the foreseeable future as it’s just so comfortable and spacious. As for the SC project, my plan is to use it as the star of a new series of YouTube video blogs about detailing.
“But if the CT has to go I’m considering changing it up for an RC F Track Edition. Just as owning the SC was a dream come true, I’m hoping it will be a similar story with the RC F. Currently it’s an idea with a small beginning – I’ve got a scale model of one displayed in my work unit. But you never know, one day it may become a full-size model.”
Lexus UK was in conversation with Ross Campbell of Blackbeard’s Detailing. Look out for further Lexus Lives interviews soon.