wraps

Featured Project: Classic Buick Gets a Modern Skin

Tony Kindelspire is digital content editor of Sign & Digital Graphics & WRAPS magazines.

This week’s featured project comes to us from Slatington, Pennsylvania’s IDWraps, formerly known as Identity Group. President Malcolm Gieske sent this into WRAPS last year to recount a particularly challenging installation his team was assigned.

“It surely is a daily occurrence that we get calls to wrap cargo vans, trucks, and all other sorts of usual prospective wrap projects. Then there was the day that we were called to wrap a fully restored 1934 Buick for The NB Center for American Automotive Heritage, which was to be one of the centerpieces for the Buick Club of America’s 50th Anniversary Celebration.

“The project began with a personal tour of the 27 acre NB Center, which houses an extensive collection of American classic cars. What an amazing sight, as we were enlightened on the many stories behind the 100-plus car collection of vehicles starting from the 1920s. Every specimen represented in fully restored fashion or as an impressively preserved original car and elegantly presented upon the glossiest epoxy floors we have ever seen. For those not familiar with the Bulgari name, The NB Center was founded by Nicola Bulgari, Italian-born American car collector.   

“Bulgari grew up in Italy and always had a fascination with American vehicles and culture as a young boy. In many ways, Mr. Bulgari and his restoration team essentially ‘save’ countless auto treasures from deteriorating to a rusty end. Some notable vehicles in the collection include the taxi from the movie ‘It’s a Wonderful Life,’ a 1940 Buick Estate Wagon owned by Bette Davis featured in the film ‘Now, Voyager,’ as well as the Graham pictured on the cover of Peter, Paul and Mary’s greatest hits album. Mr. Bulgari has a specific affinity for classic Buicks.

“At the end of our tour, the IDWraps team was shown a 1934 Buick that was in the process of being restored. This vehicle was selected to be the promotional centerpiece of the upcoming 2016 Buick Club of America’s 50th Anniversary Celebration held at the The NB Center in Pennsylvania. What started out as a full-print wrap project eventually turned into a mix of digital films and color change films by 3M. As much as our team wanted to apply modern techniques and design to this car; it was eventually decided to stay faithful to the era of the vehicle’s model year.

“Yes, this was a very curvy car. We’ve had our share of VW Beetles, and many other extreme compound-curved vehicle body types, but this one was different. The base color selected for this project was 3M’s 1080 matte Indigo, which was undoubtedly tested to its mechanical limits. 3M publishes a 150 percent stretch-limit on this film, and we needed every inch of conformability for this project. One glance at the front fenders would make any installer scratch their head a bit. The other challenge was the finish quality expectations. This wrap was to be installed with an absolute white-glove show-quality level. Unlike many daily driver color change projects, this one had very little tolerance for seams and no tolerance for exposed OEM paint. Couple this elevated standard along with 80-plus year old paint; we were in for a challenge.

“The printed portion of the installation included the BCA event and various sponsorship logos, which were printed on 3M IJ180Cv3 using our HP L360 latex printers. The prints were then laminated on our Seal 62 Base laminators with 3M’s 8519 luster laminate. This finish gave the printed graphics just the right amount of ‘pop’ while retaining the classic design for the museum-quality restored vehicle.

“The vehicle was delivered and showed to rave reviews, receiving a great deal of press coverage at the event, which was attended by more than 1,700 Buick Club member collectors from around the world, along with General Motors executives. Thousands more got to enjoy the 600-plus Buick car show on the final day.

“Projects like The NB Center Buick surely can be a challenge, but in the end, the completed vehicle delivery is always a highly gratifying experience. It also helps when your wrap project is covered by several local media outlets, including a television broadcast which started with the news anchor sitting in the wrapped vehicle. Now on to the next challenge.”