How to gift wrap a top-end car

How to gift wrap a top-end car
How to gift wrap a top-end car

Peeling back the lid on wrapping

Wrapping your car in vinyl is all the rage these days, particularly for high-end cars, but it actually started thanks to taxis in Germany in the 1990s. As so seldom in life, we can actually give thanks for the colour beige.

With that customary German wit, authorities decided that all taxis had to be painted beige. This was a problem for the drivers, since they didn’t want a beige car when they stopped being a taxi and resprays were expensive. Cue vinyl wrap, in dullest beige, which could be unpeeled when the car returned to normal life.

It’s fair to say if you go to the workshops of Creative FX you’ll find a lot of rolls of vinyl but beige isn’t the dominant colour. Oddly though, there are rolls of Nardo Grey, a remarkably dull colour to our eyes, being applied to a new Audi S5. The owner wanted it, but you can only get this colour if you go for the RS 5 for some reason, so vinyl wrap it is.

More eye-catching is Sheer Luck Green, a vivid green satin wrap, which is being applied to a Mazda MX-5 RF. To wrap a whole car costs about £2500, but for that you get a job finished to perfection, using a set of skills that would be beyond most of us. Anyone who remembers applying sticky-backed plastic to their school books or to some Blue Peter project will shudder at the memory.

But this is pro level. The Mazda has lost its door handles, wing mirrors and bumpers so the wrap can get right under and into all nooks and crannies. They use knives, knifeless cutting tape, a squeegee, heat gun and surface cleaner. It can easily take three days to wrap one car, but Creative FX seems to be working seven days a week to try and keep up with demand.

It’s such a ‘thing’ now that if you wrap the entire vehicle you’re legally required to alert DVLA to the fact.

There’s plenty that can go wrong. If you’re attempting to wrap an older car with some rust and maybe some respray, some or all of that can come off when the vinyl is removed. Similarly, you need to heat the vinyl to get it in to some tight places and if you overcook it then you can burn the paintwork underneath. And lying on your back, trying to cut in to a tight spot with a very sharp knife?

Remember kiddies, don’t try this at home.

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