With Wreckless Abandon

Vehicle restoration and wraps for a cause.

For many, tinkering with old cars is a fun pastime or a unique way to spend quality time with friends and family members. For at-risk youth in northern California, it could be the difference between falling into a cycle of poor choices and successfully transitioning into adulthood with financial security. San Francisco nonprofit Project Wreckless works with young people in high-risk situations to change their lives for the better through the development of a tangible skill: classic car restoration. 

Each term, Project Wreckless brings together a team of 12 that work together to rebuild a car – in particular, “badass pre-1974 American muscle cars,” according to a release. Each team member spends 12 weeks building confidence and learning automotive skills in the mechanic role and two weeks in each of six other roles. Students learn leadership development as program manager; budgeting skills and responsibility as account manager; communication and collaboration as human resources manager; accountability as parts manager; discipline and safety procedures as safety manager; and community engagement and networking as community manager. “The transformation of the car from a rusted pile of parts to a one-of-a-kind show car is a tangible metaphor for the impact Project Wreckless has on its participants,” the release states. 

Project Wreckless restores pre-1974 American muscle cars, like this 1967 Ford Mustang.

Project Wreckless’s extension program, Wreckless Racing, goes a step further by providing those same youth with “the opportunity to gain firsthand experience as part of the pit crew on our professional race team, furthering their automotive knowledge into the world of competitive racing,” says Chelsea Jenkins, COO, Wreckless Racing. To showcase all the hard work of the program participants, the two sister organizations hosted the second annual Project Wreckless Showcase and Fundraiser in June, complete with a car show, go-kart racing, zip-lining, live auction, and music.

While early arrivals got to watch a live workshop as the Project Wreckless class got greasy restoring a classic 1967 convertible Ford Mustang, some lucky donors and attendees had the opportunity to ride along with the professional Wreckless Racing drivers during a “Drifting in the Streets of SF” event. Wreckless cars available for a spin included a BMW 3 Series E92 and 2013 Scion FR-S, the latter wrapped by San Leandro, California-based Custom Vehicle Wraps [below].

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As a supporter of the nonprofit and its mission – “Project Wreckless is fam,” says Kwasi Boyd, sales and marketing, Custom Vehicle Wraps – the shop printed car wraps, banners, tents, and two go-kart wraps for the event. The Scion FR-S “swirly car” wrap was imaged onto Avery Dennison MPI 1105 SuperCast Series vinyl with DOL 1360 3D Gloss Clear Conformable Cast overlaminate using Custom Vehicle Wraps’ HP Latex 360 printers. Boyd says the FR-S had no engine, “so the body of the car was flimsy” as two installers wrapped the vehicle over two days.

“Kwasi at Custom Vehicle Wraps is one of our supporters and as you can see, with the help of great people, we can accomplish amazing things for our at-risk youth,” adds Jenkins. So what’s next for the burgeoning nonprofit? Trailer and large truck vinyl by Custom Vehicle Wraps are in the near future and according to its website, “Project Wreckless will have its first permanent shop in San Francisco this year. We plan to expand yearly throughout the Bay Area and then nationwide.”

Check out more dazzling vehicle vinyl from Big Picture's October issue.

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