Wrap Race

Reputation helped Metro Signs and Wraps land a dragster project.

In business, reputation can be everything. A recent client sought out Huntsville, Alabama-based Metro Signs and Wraps after eating breakfast at a local restaurant. The customer was approached by a fellow diner who overheard him talking about wanting to wrap his race car – and the stranger recommended the shop. “I still do not know who that guy [who recommended us] was, but it shows that doing a good job and doing the best for your customers pays off. It’s the best advertising you could ever have,” says Alan Wilson, owner of Metro Signs and Wraps. 

The company specializes in vehicle wraps and has built a name for themselves in the drag-racing community in Huntsville. Their client races long-rail dragsters and has always had those vehicles painted, but for his first Pro Modified racing car, he needed a different, but cost-effective, option for customization. Given the shape of the Pro Mod – and the fact that the body flexes under a high-powered 3000 horsepower engine – a vinyl wrap is a better choice than paint, which may need frequent touch ups, Wilson says. “The wrap would flex with the body of the car and it also gave him a lower cost,” he adds. “He got an estimate of $12,000 to paint this car. The wrap was a little over $3500 and done in half the time of a paint job.”

The customer wanted the Pro Mod car’s wrap to match the metallic paint colors and design on his dragsters. After completing many test prints, the PSP found the right formula for color matching and printed 300 square feet of 3M IJ180mC-10 silver wrap film with a Mimaki CJV30-160 press.

“We chose a few Pantone colors that were 50 percent lighter than the colors we were matching to and then printed them with a 3M print profile and set it up to do an overprint and pause between passes,” Wilson explains. “Printing on this material causes the first pass of print color to get washed out due to the silver base, but we have figured out that doing an overprint doubles up the ink and allows a more vibrant color to show up.”

With this process, there is twice the down time to let the material off gas, he says. The graphics were laminated with 3M 8518 gloss. Racing stripes were created with Avery Dennison Supreme Wrapping Film SW900-194 black carbon fiber. “We had to use 3M knifeless tape to draw them due to the complex cowl hood,” Wilson says. Installation took three days. 

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