Sunday, May 22, 2011

Stripes, graphics, vinyl - aka trying to make it look like a race car

File this project under the category of "more work than I ever anticipated"...

For whatever reason, I like white race cars.  Makes it real easy to see sponsor logos (why I care about that on my unsponsored car I have no idea...) and to see if you have any oil leaks or other maladies.  My car is white as you can tell from the pic.  I'm also a big fan of blue and red stripes on white cars.  Like the Racing Beat Miata and the Brumos Porsches.  So I figured I'd add some red and blue stripes and be semi patriotic for the next race - Memorial Day weekend at Laguna Seca.  Laguna Seca baby!  Like the Vegas for car guys.  This is what the Racing Beat Miata looks like.

I wanted to do something similar to my car. 

"It's just some stickers.  Should take me 15 minutes to do this." is what I was thinking Saturday morning while hanging out at the pool with the wife.  So once I got bored sitting around, I went to TAP Plastics to see if they had any vinyl since they seem to have lots of other big boy toys.

I bought a few feet of blue and red vinyl sheet and came home thinking I'd install it on Sunday while the wife was working.  The local Bay Area Miata Driver's club had done a write up on installing vinyl stripes on a Miata. How hard could it be?  Yeah, right...

I managed to cut the stripes in the pattern I wanted without too much issue.  Then I tried to peel and stick.  That is when the annoying part started...  I got many many air bubbles when I tried to stick the stripes to the hood.  I pulled and re-attached the vinyl a few times and screwed up the vinyl a bit.  After spending more time popping the bubbles trying to make it look less amateurish, I gave up and stopped at the hood.  I was going to stripe the top and the trunk but I'm out of time.  Good enough for a home built Spec Miata.  :)

I also spent some time putting on the Toyo Tires stickers and AIM Tire stickers.  AIM had given me a great deal and great service on Team Dynamic wheels and Toyo RA1 tires shaved to 6/32" so I'll happily run their stickers on my car.  They also provide track side service so its good to support a local company.

Anyway, some before/after pics for your viewing pleasure.



Check out my custom touches on the Toyo Tires sticker.  I cut each letter individually and placed it on the wheel well so it followed the contour.  Pretty cool I think. :)

Now I just need to get my Race Technology DL1 lap timer / data acquisition system working.  I bought it used and am still trying to figure it out....


  1. Lol. I had the same problem with my first set of stripes. I bought them on a roll at an auto parts store and installed them dry with the peel and stick method. Well, needless to say it didn't work...nothing but air bubbles and wrinkles. After researching online I wound up finding out that you are supposed to install them wet, like wallpaper. used to have an instructional video on their website on how to install them correctly, not sure if they still do or not. Anyway, you spray the back of the stripes with water and lay them on the vehicle. Doing this allows you to position them in the location you want and squeegee out all the bubbles and wrinkles.

    Since then I have applied many decals, stripes and car graphics that way. I even install smaller window decals that way because I think it works better.

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  6. That's awesome that you're building a race car! You must have an admirable amount of time, patience, and dedication to make such a bold project come to life. I'm sure you'll have a fantastic result and be on the track in no time! Good luck!
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  7. Embarking on a project with the expectation of a quick and straightforward endeavor often reveals itself to be more complex than anticipated. Yet, your journey to transform your white car with red and blue stripes reflects dedication and passion for the racing aesthetic. Despite encountering challenges with air bubbles during the vinyl application, your perseverance and attention to detail shine through. Your decision to support local businesses like AIM Tire with their quality service and products further demonstrates your commitment to the racing community. Memorial Day weekend at Laguna Seca promises an exhilarating showcase of your revamped ride, embodying the spirit of high-performance driving. Your before-and-after photos capture the evolution of your project, showcasing the transformation from a clean slate to a vibrant, race-inspired masterpiece. Here's to your continued adventures on the track, where passion meets performance. i am also like modification like what you do.