Custom paint jobs and graphics are gaining popularity in late model and ‘plain’ cars as well as classic restorations and full tune jobs. Many see it as a way to take an ordinary car and turn it into something special and unique. Adding to this trend is cars simply last long and are more resistant to rust and corrosion than 20 years ago. With more decent quality affordable cars available many are choosing to spend extra on customisations after purchase.
Complete colour changes are popular of course. Whether because age and sun have faded and dulled the old or simple desire for a new look or colour and new car finish it is often chosen over purchase of a newer car now. In selecting the colour it ranges from common to exotic. Colour changing paints like the ones produced by ChromaFlair are popular giving different colour based on light angle and direction of viewing.
Bespoke graphic designs vary from classic flames to full murals. Unlike the vans from years past which used a factory mural paint or the common vinyl graphics and therefore all the same each design is hand done and quality depends on the artist and shop doing the work.
Considering Custom Paint Work?
First and foremost look for references and to see actual cars they have worked on. It is too easy to get great looking pictures from an angle that does not show orange peel (slight dimpling like the texture of an orange peel) from poorly applied paint. If possible try to find a car that was done a couple years before to see how the paint has stood up and if it maintained its gloss. It is easy for a new paint job to look great 3 days later but better to judge quality of work after a couple winters and summers of weathering.
Ask to see facilities if you are unsure. Though quality airbrush work can be done without full on paint booths it is virtually impossible for a full body paint job to look professional without them. Even for airbrush artists little knowledge of painting is needed to determine if the area is clean and free of dust which could ruin the finished product. Claims of not needing to tape and mask and 24 hour turn around should be viewed with great scepticism.
Paint booths with professional level drying lamps and pro grade Scot Industrial Air compressors are signs of professional quality. To some extent price may be indicative as quality auto paint is expensive and quality painters have no problem charging top tier prices and staying booked solid. High price is not however a guarantee of quality.
To save on costs there are places available that rent paint booths to DIY customers and allow the customer to do all the work. This may be an enjoyable task for some, but it is unlikely to be absolute best quality on the first attempt.