One thing that we have always loved about cars here at Slowlife is that the automotive industry is forever progressive. There’s limitless ways in which we can customise or change our cars, and there are new methods and products released every single day to enhance, simplify or simply change the game in the aftermarket world. One particular innovation which has surged forward in recent years is automotive vinyl wraps – yep, wrapping your car in one big (and very cool) sticker. Imagine having the freedom to change the colour or finish of your car and for it to be completely reversible, and to keep your factory paint as well? Once upon a time; this would have sounded too good to be true. Thanks to the innovation and rapid progression of modern vehicle wraps, you can do just that.
Vuong’s WRX STI is a beloved car in our community, and when we saw his gunmetal disappear and come back in a vibrant red within less than a week; we were very impressed and surprised with the outcome. We caught up with Vuong to chat about his recent wrap by Dizzi Decalz, and had resident photographer Rapture Media capture some images of his freshly-wrapped STI with Esterina – the latest addition to the Slowlife Girls. We also spoke with Spyro, the man behind the wrap, about the process involved in performing such a rapid transformation!
Vehicle wraps are becoming increasingly common around the globe and have certainly surged into the Adelaide car community in recent years. Vinyl wraps are a cost-effective way to transform your car’s look whilst protecting your factory paint underneath; meaning that you can potentially change your car’s look whenever you please without the stress and cost of a full respray. The colours and finishes available is massive, and include gloss, metallic, pearl, colour-shift, matte and even completely customised graphics available to transform your vehicle. New additions are being introduced to vinyl manufacturers’ inventories every week, and it’s certainly an industry which has experienced somewhat of a renaissance in recent years with surges in quality, durability and variety.
Most wraps typically last around three years (dependent on a number of factors including the finish, use of paint protection, garaging and general treatment and care). If installed and removed properly and professionally; your factory paint can be completely preserved beneath the vinyl – a huge benefit to those hoping for a higher resale value later on down the track.
The application and installation of a full vehicle wrap is no easy process, and requires a high level of skill, patience and talent to master. There are even a number of schools and academies specialising in the education of vinyl wrapping, and even formal qualifications in the field! It’s recommended that you take your car/bike to a professional installer to get it done if you want the best possible finish and attention to detail. The average wrap takes three to five days for a single professional to complete to a high standard and involves numerous stages and challenges. Most cars will require 18-20 square metres of vinyl for a complete colour change (potentially more or less depending on the size of the vehicle).
The first step in this process is very similar to that of a vehicle re-spray – ensuring that the vehicle’s surface is free of contamination, corrosion, rust and body damage. If you can feel something, it’ll show up. Something as simple as a dead bug can significantly impact the finish of your wrap.
Laying the vinyl isn’t as simple as ‘smothering it on’. It’s an art, and requires knowledge, patience and skill – particularly if it’s a directional finish (colour-shifting or a consistent pattern which needs to align with different panels). The vinyl is laid over the surface and is generally held in place by magnets or tape until it is aligned. Installers may cut around some edges to ‘tailor’ the vinyl to the panel (such as trimming it around wheel arches etc). Once aligned; the backing is peeled off, and the vinyl is laid over the surface by hand, or with tools such as a plastic squeegee. A heat gun is used to stretch the vinyl around complex shapes (curvy bumpers, side mirrors, fenders etc.) and shrink it back – another technique which takes significant practice to master.
Each wrap project has its own unique set of challenges. High-end manufacturers often make it difficult to remove components such as side mirrors, door handles, bumpers and door cards to make for a clean wrap; so significant time is invested by the installer to research the assembly and disassembly of the cars in order to get the job done properly. Some vehicles have difficult lines or surfaces to cover, and it’s sometimes a challenge to establish where best to seam two sections of vinyl together without the seam being noticeable.
The removal of wrap isn’t simple, either. Rough handling or recklessly tearing it off may be quicker, but it won’t do your paint any favours… It’s advised that you take your car back to a professional installer to have it removed to ensure that the wrap is removed properly and carefully. If you insist on trying it at home – there are citrus-based adhesive removers on the market which can aid in breaking down the adhesive holding the vinyl to the paintwork.
Vuong’s STI is just one of several wrapped vehicles currently in Adelaide. The majority of wraps we see at our events are completed by our very good friends Spyro and Kimberly Polymiadis at Dizzi Decalz. Spyro comes from a 20+ year career in IT and found his passion for vinyl wrapping a couple of years ago after starting off creating small decals and stickers. We were actually there when Spyro completed his first vehicle wrap – it was on one of our own cars! Jack’s TT Quattro was wrapped in Hexis Tiffany Blue in mid-2016, and we are privileged to have been involved in this step in the Dizzi Decalz journey. On January 1st, Spyro and his loving wife Kimberly celebrate one year of operating Dizzi Decalz full-time!
Alongside full vehicle wraps; they also specialise in general signage/promotional products, branding options, wide format printing, window tinting, laser cutting/etching/engraving, trophies (can you guess where our SlowCase trophies are from?), and decals/stickers. Spyro is qualified in Hexis, Avery Dennison and 3M vinyl applications, and the inventory of the three brands is simply huge. Dizzi Decalz is our major sponsor for SlowCase 2019, and we can’t thank them enough for their support. As a family business; their service has always been nothing short of sensational, and we’re privileged to call them our friends at Slowlife.
Having your car wrapped is somewhat similar to having a suit tailored. You choose your look, and your wrapper is your tailor. It can fit any shape of car or bike and requires exceptional skill to master. Vuong’s WRX STI is a prime example of what a transformation can look like, and he’s absolutely wrapped with the result (a round of applause to us for that pun). If you’re interested in vinyl wrapping and perhaps want to try it out; Dizzi Decalz is hosting a vinyl wrapping exhibition at SlowCase 2019! There’ll be numerous vehicles on display, and we’re excited to see the fleet of SA’s wrapped cars all in one place! In the world of innovation we live in; we’re excited to see where the vehicle wrap industry takes wrapping in the future.
SLOWLIFE GIRL PROFILE
Esterina Skye (IG: esterinaskye)
Esterina is a brand-new addition to the Slowlife Girls family and fits right in with us. She loves her cars, knows the squad, and has some modelling experience under her belt as well. By day, she’s a personal trainer and loves it. She loves to keep fit and takes pride in helping her clients reach their goals and full potential.
She’s also a passionate mother and loves her daughter to bits! You’ll be able to catch Esterina around our events in the future, so don’t be shy to say hello and introduce yourself, and even have a chat with her about some PT classes (new year, new me, right?)!