“You’ve got to be kidding,” said my husband when I mentioned I was writing about a $1,000 car wash. “I wouldn’t pay that much to paint the car.” Ah yes, but what we’re talking about is an interior and exterior hand-wash and -detailing by High Marques, an “auto salon” in White Plains.
Launched last year at The Westchester, High Marques’ $1,000 (Diamond Level) and $750 (Titanium Level) services, says founder Stephen Field, a self-professed car fanatic, are geared toward high-end collectors.
“If you’re spending half a million dollars on a car like a Rolls Royce, Ferrari, or Bentley,” says Field, whose own collection includes a Maserati and four Mercedes, “this is a necessary expense to clean and protect your investment.”
If taking your car to a regular old car wash—where your vehicle is slapped by long-hanging pieces of skeevy industrial toweling—is like rinsing it off in the communal shower at the Y, entrusting it to High Marques is like checking it into an ultra-luxe day spa, where it will undergo a 15-step procedure, including tire “dressing,” bug and tar removal, and complete engine cleaning and detailing.
Detailing specialists use the exclusive Swissvax line of products, like its car “bath,” carnauba wax, leather milk, and wood polish. Imported from Switzerland, one little jar of Swissvax wax can cost more than $365.
To test-drive the Titanium Level treatment, I offered up our 2008 Toyota RAV4, driven almost exclusively by my son and often used for transporting our two big, shedding, and usually muddy dogs. In five years, it has never seen an interior cleaning, although I do throw out the occasional moldy bagel and smelly gym sock. In other words, it was a filthy, hair-filled, sticky mess, inside and out.
When it was returned, all I could say was “wow!” While it hadn’t morphed into a just-off-the-lot Jag, it did look amazing—seriously, the inside looked like it belonged in a brand-new Beemer.
Not tooling around in a classic Rolls? High Marques welcomes “any and every kind of vehicle,” says Field, with services starting at $35 for an interior and exterior cleaning. Most sedan owners choose options priced from $179 to $250, with pick-up and delivery available; see highmarques.net.