Car owners discover a love for vinyl - Metro US

Car owners discover a love for vinyl

Vinyl siding for a house is probably a good product, just not too mind bending.

Vinyl for vehicles is a whole other story. The possibilities are positively mind blowing if you’re ready to cover parts, or your entire car, with a vinyl wrap.

Vinyl wraps started showing up about 15 years ago, mostly as a cheaper and more graphic alternative to painting for decking out vehicles for promotional and marketing purposes.

Eventually they made their way to personal cars, particularly luxury and sports car owners looking for that “gangsta” look — no chrome, all black matte “stealth bomber.”

Brian Spiteri’s firm, Big Picture Imaging of Campbellville, Ontario, has done its share of these full-matte, full-wrap projects, including a recent one that was so wondrous that even the R8 owner’s teenage son had to concede his father “may have crossed the line over to cool.”

Spiteri’s latest project was on his own hobby car — a 1981 Porsche Targa SC. One of the major vinyl wrap suppliers, Germany’s Oracal, recently came out with product particularly suited as a “paint replacement.” Spiteri was ready to change the colour of his car, but was leery about covering up the Porsche’s original paint — a much-coveted aspect of a collector car and one that can considerably juice up its future value. This new wrap sounded like the perfect solution.

“Wraps actually protect original paint from oxidation and fading,” says Spiteri. “But wraps also give you the opportunity to have some fun, by letting your personality shine. And, as you know, our personalities change from day to day, month to month, year to year. Today I might want Ferrari red. Tomorrow I might want to be army green. Wraps give you a tons of flexibility.”

In the end he opted for Metallic Azure Blue with a high gloss finish. A few years from now, when he’s not feeling quite so blue, he’ll just peel off the wrap (carefully), and presto! — back to original paint, or on to Ferrari Red.

Applying vinyl wrap isn’t quite as easy putting up wallpaper. Spiteri says it’s a job best left to the professionals. You think? Contemplating a home project soon has me picturing myself on the garage floor, crazily wrapped in vinyl, trying to wiggle, armlessly, over to the phone, to peck out 911 — with my nose.

Spiteri says his team of experienced installers “have become one with the vinyl.” A full wrap, executed by the pros at Big Picture Imaging, would start at around $3,000.

Full wraps aren’t cheap, concedes Lione Ole, a well-known photographer, specializing in newborns. When he relocated from Montreal to the GTA area last year, one of the first things he did was buy a black VW GT1 and send it over to Spiteri’s shop for a wild wrap.

He considers the outlay to be a worthwhile investment in marketing. Anyone who has seen the finished product would have to agree. Because a huge picture of a screaming baby on a hood of a car, is just something that seems to stick.

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