Foil wrap your car for a head-turning fancy finish

By DPA | 22 July 2019


BERLIN: Drivers who want to update the appearance of their cars do not have a whole load of options. The choice is between a respray, which is usually expensive, or getting the car wrapped using vinyl which can be cheaper and more versatile.

The wrap method allows almost any colour or design to be applied to your vehicle, simply by having it printed onto vinyl or wrapping film and then affixed to the contours of the car.

It also takes much less time to have your car wrapped than to have it professionally repainted. The wrap keeps the original paint intact so you can even change your mind once you get tired of the look.

Wrapped cars tend to be head-turners even if the glances are not always admiring. This is hardly surprising since car colours have got a lot duller over the years.

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Although the RAL catalogue of car colours, a standard work in industry, contains 213 basic hues, most private cars on the roads are finished in boring shades of black, mid-grey and off-white.

Figures in car-mad Germany show that three-quarters of all cars registered in the land in 2019 were painted white, black or grey. Exotic shades like yellow and green accounted for a mere 1.2 per cent.

It seems that 50 shades of greys and blacks satisfy most customers and since a full respray in a vibrant colour is so expensive and more or less irreversible, individualists are turning to wraps.

Drivers who choose wild designs or matt shades familiar from the military would normally find it hard to sell on the car.

But a wrap is just like a second skin which can be shuffled off when the time comes to part, leaving the original paint finish beneath in pristine condition.

A wrap can even enhance the resale value since the buyer knows that the colour underneath has not been exposed to the elements or bombarded by stones and road grit. This makes the original paint more durable.

So what does it cost? A good, all-over wrap will cost between around US$2,500 and US$4,000 (RM10,300 to RM16,500) for the average car. Labour accounts for most of the cost since applying the foil can take two workers up to 24 hours to complete.

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Doing the job yourself is possible but not recommended. Experts warn of the need to work with great care in order to avoid leaving ugly blisters and warpage on the bodywork surface.

Most of the foil wraps are available from after-market suppliers but several car firms are jumping on this bandwagon. Porsche has set up an online configurator which allows customers to virtually drape a model with a foil-wrap of their choice.

Porsche calls the new service Second Skin and prices start at around US$4,500 (RM18,500). Porsche promises that its experts will wrap a Porsche with the utmost skill and the range includes some notable racing colours along with arty designs for those fed up with looking at a standard 911 in whatever colour they ordered it. The service is aimed at Porsche owners, but other cars can be so treated at the request of a customer.

Whether an owner opts for a risky do-it-yourself job or a professional foil application, it is worth noting that even in this flamboyant world there are limits.

Shiny foil in gold or silver is not usually tolerated by local police for road safety reasons and owners of such shiny, blinged-out cars may find them being impounded for road safety reasons.

A man who drove around the German city of Hamburg in a Porsche Panamera wrapped with reflective gold foil, was recently told to remove the finish since it might blind other drivers and cause a traffic hazard.

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