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Thinking about giving your classic a whole new look? You don’t have to blow your budget on a whole new paint job, as car wraps are becoming a popular way to give classic cars a custom look and feel. Wrapping is the easier, cheaper and faster alternative to traditional paint, and there’s no shortage of creative possibilities you can bring to life with a vinyl wrap. Read on to learn how to use a vinyl wrap to customize your ride.

What is a vehicle wrap?

In simplest terms, a vehicle wrap is like a second skin for a vehicle. A wrap is a thin vinyl material with adhesive backing, and it can be printed with a limitless variety of graphics and designs. You can cover all the painted surfaces of your car with a wrap, or you can spot-wrap smaller portions wherever you want to add graphics. There are even special perforated wraps made from see-through materials, which means you can even cover your windows with a wrap featuring the graphics of your choice.

In terms of the vinyl material itself, there are two main options to choose from—calendared vinyl and cast vinyl. Calendared vinyl lasts between 6 months to 2 years, depending on where you drive the vehicle. It doesn’t conform to channels or around compound curves like cast vinyl does. Cast vinyl is often recommended as the best choice for vehicle wraps. It not only conforms well to the unique contours of classic cars, but it also provides dimensional stability. Cast vinyl wraps have a typical lifespan of 5 years, especially if the wrap is covered with a clear laminate with UV protection. Keep in mind that if you live and drive in a sunny environment, the wrap will degrade faster.

Choose your color or create your design

Want to add unique graphics like flames or even a 3D “animal skin” to your ride? Whether you want your classic car to look playful, menacing or anything else, it’s easy with a vinyl wrap. A full wrap makes the boldest statement—transforming the look of your entire car, but you can also add graphics to some portions of the car, like the roof or below the beltline.

After you decide on the general design you want, work with a professional digital artist to create the layers of your design on a computer. You’ll get a chance to see what the wrap will look like on your car and make any adjustments to colors, textures and graphics.

Preparing your classic car for wrap installation

Once you’ve settled on a design, you’ll get your ride ready for installation. Make sure your vehicle’s body is in excellent condition before wrapping it, so you’ll need to fix any body damage to your car first. You also need to give your classic a deep cleaning before the wrap—although vinyl adheres to both primed or polished surfaces, they need to be completely clean and free of dirt, grease and wax.

This is also a good opportunity to see what kind of condition your paint is in. If it’s older, or original to the car, it might need additional attention or prep work before a vinyl wrap can be applied.

Applying the vinyl wrap

If you’re wrapping a car for the first time, start with smaller, flatter sections of the car. Wearing cotton gloves, lay the vinyl wrap over car panels, leaving extra material around the edges so you can manipulate the wrap to cover the right portion of the car. As you apply the wrap, use a squeegee to press out air bubbles and wrinkles and apply heat to secure the vinyl in place. Wrapping a vehicle the DIY way usually requires the help of a friend, so call a buddy to get an extra set of hands for the project.

Caring for a wrapped vehicle

As you might expect, there are some care considerations to keep in mind if you decide to wrap your classic car. After wrapping, you can’t just take your car to the car wash for a quick rinse, as pressure washing can lift the edges of the vinyl. Instead, clean your car using a spray detailing product. Vinyl doesn’t need to be waxed—it will preserve its shine for several years.

Getting the job done right with wrap ramps

Have you decided to give your classic car a whole new look with a vehicle wrap? Wrap ramps are a must if you want to get the job done right. Race Ramps has the perfect solution for you, with products designed specifically to ease the working strain of wrapping a car by elevating it. Need help finding the right ramp for you? Give our team a call today and we’ll help you get your project off the ground!

Looking for inspiration? Check out these professional wrap jobs from Palmer Signs in Roseville, CA: