“We wanted to display something unlike anything that anyone had seen at the show before.”

Having a lively discussion about cars at an auto show – seems like a no-brainer, right? But when that same chat then leads to a solid business venture, it’s not only a way to pass the time, but to also provide some real ROI.

When Jonathan Glen, owner of Canawrap in British Columbia, Canada, was having a seemingly mundane conversation with a local marketer during the 2011 Vancouver International Auto Show, little did he know that it would lead to the birth of a great idea. During the course of the event, Glen mentioned his desire to present a chrome-wrapped vehicle at the next auto show, and the marketer offered up his own Lamborghini Gallardo Spyder for the job.

“We wanted to display something unlike anything that anyone had seen at the show before,” says Glen. “So after doing some digging, we discovered the chrome cast media from 3M. It’s brand new to the market in Canada and we thought this would be a truly original finish to display.”

Because no printing was used in the creation of this wrap, no template was required. And because the 3M Chrome 7755-429 vinyl media didn’t have a repositionable adhesive, Glen’s staff used a Seal 64 laminator to laminate a base layer of stock white 3M Controltac IJ-380 to the chrome. The chrome media also required an overlaminate, “due to the fact that the chrome mirror finish can scratch so easily,” says Glen.

Further, says Glen, the prep work and installation for the application was more intensive than most wraps because every single imperfection was visible. “We knew within the first hour that this was going to be the most challenging wrap that we have ever taken on. It poses some real challenges and presents a number of limitations. However, with the help of a deep breath, patience, and really trying to understand what the media wants to do and adjusting to work along those rules, we found we could get through it and complete this project.”

The Canawrap team spent more than 70 hours completing the wrap, including media prep, lamination, application, post-heating, and clean-up. And while the crew was more than happy with the final product, they faced many challenges during its completion.

“You couldn’t over-heat or over-stretch the media into place – you have to be incredibly careful to not push the limits of the media. We had to constantly change out squeegee sleeves to not scratch the surface, as well and just be conscious of every single thing that went on around the vehicle. We were hypersensitive to everything; it takes a lot out of you,” Glen explains.

Ultimately, the chrome wrap did just what it was intended to do – attract quite a bit of attention at the 2012 version of the Vancouver auto show. But, Glen admits that the glory didn’t come without a lot of hard work and frustration. “This kind of wrap application is not for everyone, that’s for sure. It takes some serious patience and significant time. However, when you see this finished vehicle it is absolutely amazing. It was worth every single minute of working on it.”


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