From factory Mazda did a really great job with the design work on the Gen 3, but unfortunately I’m not a huge lover of chrome. The original plan was to vinyl wrap the exterior chrome trims, then I was going to use a gloss Plastidip but that isn’t permenant enough. I then came across a can of Graffiti paint I had used on a previous car (I painted a '92 MX5 with the stuff and surprisingly it came out pretty good). So I headed over to their website to discover they no longer sell individual cans
A quick google search and I came across Graff-City who supply a Gloss, fast drying and durable finish paint, happy days! The paint arrived and I got the trims removed and prepped. The trims received only 2 coats of paint, the coverage is incredible! The ‘fast drying’ part is good enough for applying another coat, but the small print on the cans says it needs 24-48hrs to cure fully. Despite the extended drying time the finish is great and covered the trims very well, this paint could come in handy for other things in the future?
Another job to do while the front bumper was in pieces was to fit a debadged grille. Originally I was going to make my own, but all the photos I had come across it didn’t look great all in honesty. AutoExe do a single bar grille with the factory emblem, but shipping from Japan + import charges would have made it quite expensive (especially as I found a carbon fibre version too). In the end I went for the MV-Tuning grille, but opted for their insert only and for me to use my original base. They can supply a grille base too but that added another £130 to the price, besides I like messing around with stuff and felt more than confident in doing it.
I browsed eBay for a used grille, I managed to pick up a brand new genuine item for £50 posted. That arrived before the insert so I had some time to cut it and prep it ready. The new insert was extremely easy to fit, included are 3 covers for the main bars/slats which can be painted/colour coded. I decided against it as the plastic matches the lower grille in the bumper and looks more OEM
Another package from eBay was some yellow light tint film to do the front fog lamps. I did this to my Gen 2 and love the look. It made sense to do this while the bumper was off.
Another change was fitting some 13x6.5 import size plates. The OEM plate surround left 2x 6.5mm holes, I used some ‘fir tree trim clips’ to plug the holes.
The rear end received the same treatment, the chrome trim was painted in the same paint and the number plate swapped for an import one. I also removed the MAZDA6 and Skyactiv badges and gave the Mazda emblem a coat of gloss black paint too. The garage couldn’t have been bothered to remove the original dealer plates (that were stuck on with sticky pads) so they decided to drill through their plate and the current one making two new holes in the bootlid. I removed both in a matter of minutes, they could have used the original holes Mazda provided, I wouldn’t be left with two ugly plugs but nevermind!
The side window chrome trims will probably have to be vinyl wrapped because I can’t find anywhere inside to be able to paint them, especially if I have to leave it 48hrs to dry. This will probably come later on unless circumstances change.