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Jeff Berk

Vinyl Wrap Anyone?

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I'm considering a vinyl wrap as an alternative to a repaint due to cost and a lack of a paint booth. Has anyone wrapped their vehicle and can offer suggestions on amount of wrap needed and any problem areas that I might encounter on a Series 1 Z?

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17 hours ago, psdenno said:

Here's a link to one being wrapped over on Hybridz:

https://tinyurl.com/y884g3q2

Dennis

I don't visit Hybrid-Z very often, but that's a good post.  The author makes a point of emphasizing the challenges and things to watch out for, rather than just posting a fluff piece about how easy it was.  I hope we'll see more write-ups on wraps because I think they may be the path forward for automotive finishes. 

In fact, it's going to be really interesting to see whether vehicle manufacturers will transition from paint to vinyl wrap in the near future.  Production-scale paint facilities are extremely expensive for them to build, operate and maintain.  And then there are the environmental issues (even with water-borne paints), the electrical power consumption costs, the cost of the paint, and the QC/QA challenges.  I don't think that 3M got into the automotive wrap business line because of the customizer aftermarket.  I think they may have their eyes on the larger prize.

As for those of us who occupy the DIY sector of the old car hobby, I have to wonder how long paint can be justified over a professionally-done wrap.  It seems that a garden-variety paint job by a body-and-paint shop starts at about $5,000 these days (unless you have a relative who runs a shop), while a pro wrap looks like about $1500.  That price difference may start to resonate if/when word gets out within the hobby that a professional wrap can compete with paint for both appearance and durability.

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1 hour ago, Namerow said:

That price difference may start to resonate if/when word gets out within the hobby that a professional wrap can compete with paint for both appearance and durability.

I'd be interested in hearing more about wrap durability - how it takes door dings & scrapes, ability to color match if a repair is needed, fading, harsh weather resistance,

Dennis

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The wraps that we've seen here in Phoenix just don't last.  I don't quite get why not (i mean other than the harsh climate...).  There's obviously a difference in material - my wife bought a G35 Sedan in 2007 and had a "clear-bra" product applied by the dealership (or contracted by the dealership) to the front end and other common "chip" points.  It's held up remarkably well to our desert southwest conditions.  But, we had an RX-7 in the shop last year.  The owner had it wrapped a few years prior to avoid repainting.  It scratched easily and our Arizona sun was really hard on it.  It stuck well - some of the underlying paint was pulled off the car when they removed it...  All of the wrapped cars I've seen here have very obvious surface scratches.  We see a lot of kids here going to ASU driving wrapped GTR's.  A few corvette's.  The only really nice wrap I've seen was on a McClaren that pulled into the Pavillion's one Saturday night.  I'm sure there was a LOT of money in that wrap - it was clear, and it was perfect.  I guess I'd want to protect the paint on the McClaren too, it was awesome...  Which brings me back to scratching my head about my wifes 11 year old "clear-bra" that still looks very good... 

It's probably just like paint - you get what you pay for.

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that Hybridz post was excellent. I'm hoping to get a few more hints from him. It will be interesting to see how well the headlight buckets turn out.

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I've wrapped interior panels and other bits and pieces, with varying levels of success. General comments from my experiences:

It's harder to apply than you probably think.

Paint and vinyl probably have a similar margin for error.

Vinyl won't last anywhere near as long as paint.

Vinyl allows for some more interesting finish options (if you're into that), but a good paint job will always have a cleaner application (e.g. no seams or cut lines) than vinyl.

Vinyl is thin, and therefore only marginally more forgiving than paint. The panels still need to be straight.

A good vinyl install isn't likely to be cheap , but if you're looking for something different or non-permanent, it's a nice option.

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I was thinking about putting a wrap on my Z but realized, after doing a paint adhesion test, that the paint needed to come off and be redone.  The respray before I bought the car was poorly done.  Life of the warp also seems somewhat limited, more $$$ material will last longer, less $ gives you a few years at best. I decided if I was doing all the work to get to a good starting surface for the vinyl I might as well do it correctly and paint it.

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In my case, I think I'm going to go with the wrap. The last time my car was painted was in the 1980's but was very well done. The finish, however, is faded so I cannot touch up the paint without it sticking out like a sore thumb. The fade was also uneven so I cannot even get the paint "shot" to try and match. The car is garage stored and never goes out in the rain so I should be able to get reasonable life out of the wrap. I'm a few months away from attempting this so I'll keep you up to date on the progress.

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