We put the finishing touches on our Jaguar XFR project with a vinyl wrap on the acres of chrome
This month we're wrapping up the final element of our Jaguar XFR project car transformation. Over the past few months we introduced the car (EC 10/13), compared it to the BMW M5 (EC 11/13), looked at the creation of the Vorsteiner body styling (EC 12/13) plus the GSR Autosport chassis and engine mods (EC 02/14). So this month, in the final installment, we'll be focusing on the work of Joshua Daley from Daley Visual.
The business of vinyl wrapping is relatively new and offers an interesting alternative to a full color respray for many cars. The advantage of vinyl is that there are many special effects available, and you can remove it relatively easily when you're tired of it.
And while most people are wrapping entire cars to achieve the maximum effect, we decided to wrap critical areas of our project XFR to achieve equally striking results.
To complete the task we enlisted Daley Visuals, one of the leading West Coast wrapping specialists with vast knowledge of the best materials and its utilization. In fact, Josh has been involved in wrapping since the relatively new trend began. He's been responsible for many of the wraps you've seen in this magazine and at shows around the country. He comes highly recommended by many car builders as well as 3M - one of the main suppliers of the vinyl materials. With that kind of resume, we knew we were in good hands.
Rather than a complete wrap, we felt the Jaguar's Italian Racing Red paint suited the car but needed some help. What we didn't like was the acres of chrome that seemed at odds with the XFR's sporting intentions. So we ask Josh to use his skills and a roll of 3M Gloss Grey Metallic vinyl film to remove the chrome.
The grey vinyl was very close in color to both the 21" Vorsteiner wheels we would fit, as well as the powdercoated grey tailpipes installed by GSR Autosport as part of its axle-back exhaust system. It also complemented Vorsteiner's carbon fiber additions that included the front spoiler, diffuser and trunk spoiler.
The mission was to cover the chrome grille, front ducts, window surrounds, side grilles, door trim, rear trim strip and even some of the badges. This involved some intricate shapes, tricky curves and large areas, so Josh would need all his skills. And yet he turned up with only an Exacto knife, three squeegees, spray bottle, heat torch and a very steady hand.
With so few tools required, the vinyl film was the key ingredient and Josh explained that it's created as a liquid and poured into a mold. As a result, it's able to stretch more than regular vinyl and also acquires new shapes readily, making it possible to push into tight areas. However, only experience tells you how much you can heat and stretch the film before it breaks...
The process began on the front grille, where he measured the chosen area and cut a section of vinyl to cover it. After cleaning the surface and removing the backing sheet, the film is applied and pressed onto the grille surround. The excess material was then roughly cut away from the inside and outside of the grille surround, taking care not to slice through to the painted surfaces below.
Using a flexible squeegee, the film was pushed into the curved corners of the grille, heated as necessary to ensure a smooth application. The squeegee also removes bubbles and wrinkles to get the best finish. A steady hand is then needed to trim the material either side of the surround, creating a neat line and straight edge.
If you're relatively competent, vinyl wrapping is a DIY proposition. It certainly isn't as easy as it looks, especially if you want to avoid peeling corners, air bubbles and creases. The larger the surface, the more difficult the task, justifying the cost of a fitter like Josh and his team.
The same technique was used on each surface, with the chrome surrounds on the front spoiler ducts tackled next. The curves were deeper and required even more patience and more heat application to ensure a neat finish.
Getting into his stride, Josh covered the window surrounds as well, removing the brightwork in less than an hour. The heat gun wasn't really needed here but you have to be careful not to slice through the window seals.
The trim piece between the rear lights was also relatively straightforward for a fitter with Daley's experience, but the badges and side trim tested him more. The latter featured embossed Jaguar lettering, which is difficult for the vinyl to form. It wants to lay over the top and won't fill the letters evenly, but with some pressure applied, Josh managed to reveal the Jaguar name.
The final pieces were the XF and R badges, which we decided to similarly wrap, leaving only the Jaguar Leaper and cat badge in their bright chrome to draw attention to those items.
In a few short hours, Josh had taken the car from a shiny luxury sedan to a sports sedan with the addition of our chosen vinyl and his skill. Once fully dressed in its carbon fiber body kit and 21" wheels, the Jaguar would turned heads and get tongues wagging when we hit the road in our Project Jaguar XFR+.
If you'd like to do something similar to your own car, contact Daley Visual and let your imagination run riot. We were delighted with the results of our simple makeover but we've only scratched the surface of what is possible with vinyl wraps.
This is the final installment of our Project Jaguar XFR build. The car has now been returned to stock and was sold to make way for the next project.