Star-Bulletin Features

Conrad Carvelo used his Tropical Splash formula Saturday to bring out the shine on his Porsche. He says the mix helps a car's finish stand up to Hawaii's harsh sun.

Kaneohe car finish
formula set for a
national splash

Look Ma, no water!

By Nadine Kam

Once you've brought your car to a high gloss, you'll probably want to keep it that way. Auto aficionados have long entrusted Conrad Carvelo, of Carvelo Auto Body Repair, with the care of their cars' finish. And Carvelo has had own secret wax formula to deal with the ravages of living in the tropics, where salt air and sunshine take their toll.

His Tropical Splash, an easy-on, easy-off white liquid, has been available only at his auto-body shop in Kaneohe and online at, but he's ready to go public as he awaits a decision on a national distribution deal.

In a textbook example of giving people what they want, Carvelo said his wax gives a water-wet shine to cars.

"Of course, you need a decent paint job to start with," he said. "I can't bring back a shine from the dead.

"I've been doing body work since I was 15; I'm 43 now, and I think when people's cars look good, they pay more attention to it and feel good about it."

He created Tropical Splash with the help of chemists, adding UV protection to halt fading, and an additive that helps to slow the oxidation process that leads to rust.

Although those who live near the ocean know all about salt damage, he says those who live in Mililani and Wahiawa are no safer.

"Salt spray travels 50 miles inland, and the island isn't even that big," he said.

The final touch is Tropical Splash's coconut scent. Carvelo, sounding more like a QVC pitchman than an auto-body guy, says, "It's pleasing to use. It takes you to a place you'd rather be rather than waxing your car."

The wax sells for $19.95 per 16-ounce bottle, and Carvelo said it should be applied every five weeks. And he says keeping your car's finish in good condition is a lot cheaper than paying $2,000 to $4,000 for a new paint job.

"People are always asking me why I'm working against myself, but I tell them I'm not. There'll always be dents."

Carvelo Auto Body Repair is at 45-620-C Kamehameha Hwy. Call 235-8222.

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