Paint replacement is usually marketed for high-end new cars like Aston Martins and Porsches. There’s nothing wrong with that. Adding a custom touch to an expensive vehicle can generate great profits.
But there’s another potentially lucrative market in restoring older cars. Our man Mike Akard exemplifies this. Mike updated his classic 1966 Mustang with a paint replacement wrap that makes it look a thousand times better.
If you’d like to target this market, or if you have an older car of your own that needs a paint upgrade, you may be interested in how he did it and what materials he used.
Here’s the story of Mike’s Mustang makeover.
Get Expert Training
Not being an experienced wrap installer, Mike started by expanding his knowledge. He audited the MUTOH-Avery Wrap Academy we held here at SignWarehouse in April. The class was taught by world-renowned wrap installer Justin Pate, whose innovative techniques combine speed and quality. The hands on training gave Mike the insight and confidence he needed. If you’d like to take advantage of Justin’s wisdom, check our Events Calendar web page to register for the next scheduled Wrap Academy.
To further cement his understanding of Justin Pate’s “speed wrap” techniques, Mike viewed Justin’s Vehicle Graphics Installation training DVD. Having been schooled in the ins and outs of vehicle wrapping and paint replacement, Mike was ready to test his skills on a pet project: his white 1966 Ford Mustang. He’d been working on it for about five years and had made substantial upgrades to the engine and wheels, but it still looked like an old used car in need of restoration. (Fig1)
Suitable Wrap Vinyls
Part of knowing how to install professional quality wraps and paint replacement is knowing what tools and materials to use. For paint replacement, you need a high performance cast vinyl with excellent conformability and ease of application. An air egress liner can be a life saver, especially if you’re installing it yourself. There are several options to use. Avery’s Supercast, ultra conformable Supreme Wrapping Film is designed especially for this application, and includes a 1.2mil clear coat so it doesn’t have to be laminated. ORACAL fans can opt for 970RA wrapping cast which also features an air egress and a 1.2mil clear coat. Mike chose Avery UC900 Dark Red cast vinyl laminated with DOL 1060 cast overlaminate and found it very easy to apply and reposition.
How difficult is it?
How hard is it to do a complete paint replacement wrap singlehandedly? Not very, if you use the right techniques and materials. Mike says of the process, “After taking Justin Pate’s class, it was a lot easier than anything I’d attempted to do with vinyl before. In terms of difficulty on a scale of one to ten, I’d say it was a four, because I was utilizing his techniques.”
Working alone, the process took an entire weekend. Mike spent about ten hours the first day and seven the second day removing extraneous body hardware and applying the vinyl. That was followed by a few hours the next weekend reinstalling body parts like door handles and headlight bezels. The time and effort were definitely worthwhile. What used to look like a used car in need of help now looks like a restored classic. “I can’t make it out of an auto parts store without five or six people stopping m.” Mike told us. “They’re really surprised when I tell them it’s not paint.” Everyone here at SignWarehouse is now even more envious of Mike’s pony car project. (Fig 2: )
So if you have an older vehicle that needs sprucing up, consider applying a paint replacement wrap. And if you’ve been thinking about adding paint replacement to your sign business product offering, don’t limit yourself to the exotic car market. There are a lot more Mike Akards out there with classic cars in need of restoration. If they plan to sell it at auction for a gazillion dollars, vinyl may not be the first choice. But if they want to keep it, drive it and make it look new, paint replacement film is a sensible alternative.