<< Check Out All the Latest Stuff from Hot Rods

Tech-Tease: A Bright Solution for Dull Rally Stripes

By Rotten Rodney


Here’s a short version of a long story. This one takes place in the paint shop, and wouldn’t ya know it—in this rare instance, Hot Rods & Custom Stuff’s part-time yours truly was actually able to capture tech, step-by-step, from point A through Z. There’s no question, this one’s print-worthy, but print publications as a rule desire the exclusive. We still want our website visitors to at least catch a glimpse of this project, before, after, and somewhere in-between. So, in an attempt to please everyone while havin’ cake ‘n’ eatin’ it too, we offer the following teaser. When the whole story in its technical entirety becomes available on newsstands, we’ll be sure to let y’all know that too.



Nowadays factory-formula colors can be absolutely dazzling. However, on the hood ‘n’ deck, this factory-fresh Camaro’s contrasting satin black vinyl rally stripes seemed to detract from Synergy Green’s powerful punch. Now let’s also factor-in the fading effects of a year or so’s worth o’ San Diego, California sunshine. Except for their sharp edges, the vinyl stripes on Eddie Mata’s otherwise bitchin Camaro were just plain dull.


It was a friend’s word o’ mouth recommendation that led Mr. Mata to Escondido, California’s Hot Rods & Custom Stuff, where an experienced team of custom paint perfectionists would remedy his Camaro’s conflicting contrasts. Granted, vinyl graphics are indeed here to stay, and they certainly do have their place—elsewhere. From here, you’re all invited to follow along as Hot Rods & Custom Stuff’s award-winning, yet remarkably humble painter; Andy replaces sharp-edged assembly line vinyl with seen-but-not-felt custom paint, without coloring outside the lines.


Ho hum; rainy day, new Camaro—blah, blah, blah. Showroom-fresh, it was lookin’ pretty blah—at least ‘til HR&CS’ painter, Andy called yours truly over to see what it was in for.


With an old Milwaukee heat gun, Andy’s removing unwanted vinyl rally stripes. These assembly line hiccups are flat ugly (flat ‘n’ ugly) with sharp edges, and they’re bringin’ down a potentially beautiful automobile.


With prep-work chores out of the way, the Camaro’s hood ‘n’ decklid are in the ‘booth where the artsy-fartsy part can now begin. Here the layout gets underway, beginning with Fine Line tape. Held taut and accurately placed, straight lines can be achieved in a single motion—with practice, that is.


Once the initial layout is established with 1/2-inch and 1/4-inch Fine Line tape, Andy extends with a single stretch o’ the standard-style 1 1/2-inch masking tape.   


From here, the remaining masking chores are ‘tended to using water-resistant, bleed-resistant masking material.


The idea here is to achieve coverage with minimal material for the smallest possible edges. Using PPG’s waterborne Envirobase, Andy now applies the first of three black color coats. With due respect for our environment, HR&CS uses only California-compliant chemicals.


Here the first of three coats of PPG’s Global D8188 “Glamour” LV clearcoat is goin’ on just fine.


Fresh from the ‘booth, the difference ‘tween new custom paint vs. old factory vinyl is very-much apparent. The application is clean and dust-free. However, we’re not finished ‘til the texture matches that of the car.


Once again, we’re savin’ the complete step-by-step How-To for print, so know there’s a lot more goin’ on than we’re showin’ at this time. Here at this stage, there’s already been considerable colorsanding, buffing, and polishing of the hood ‘n’ deck’s fresh clearcoat.


Remember what we started with? Assembly line vinyl is pale in comparison to deep, ridge-free custom paint. Now we know it’s very tempting, so please just take our word—this glossy surface is perfectly smooth. At Hot Rods & Custom Stuff, rally stripes are better seen-but-not-felt.