Maybe I am a blue blood, but that sure doesn’t imply my status in the social rankings. My blue blood comes from my love of all things Ford, most specifically the Ford Mustangs. I was a teen when the first 64 ½ Mustang made its way onto the scene. To say I was hooked is an understatement. And from that first introduction, I have been a devotee to restoring and preserving some of the Blue Oval’s finest, down to the last minute details, including proper graphics and pin striping.
Sweat the Small Stuff
If you really want something eye catching that will win awards, the detail is what matters. A great paint job, whether stock original or custom, is essential to any quality vehicle build. But the proper application of the pinstripes and the vinyl graphics is what sets off just a car from a well-done car. And for today’s new model styles, vinyl graphics and pinstripes can make an already nice car a stunner.
Getting the Goods
Suppliers for graphics for Ford Mustangs and for Mustang pin stripes has blossomed in the last decade. Like any other aftermarket niche, it pays to do some homework and choose the best product for your restoration. Some pinstripe kits are spot on, while others take liberties with originality. The vinyl and inks used today are a far cry better than those used in the last few decades; so many trimmers elect to forego original materials for longevity and ease of working.
Choosing your supplier is a matter of homework. Call your prospects and talk to them about their product. Visit car shows and look for examples of what you need or want on your build. Talk to the owners and find out who they used as a supplier. Be prepared for the axiom to be true: you get what you pay for.
The Task at Hand
Applying graphics and pinstripe is a matter of prep work and practice. A good degreaser and lots of elbow grease will remove any film, wax, or contaminants from the surface to let you put down a nice, bubble-free graphic. Being clean also helps to ensure years of trouble-free looks.
As for the practice, that is what teaches the skill to make a quality end product every time. Consider approaching a local trim shop and offering your services as an apprentice to learn the basics. Search out online videos offering up tips on applying graphics. And don’t be afraid to mess up a few times with cheap graphics until you feel comfortable tackling the main event.
Every trimmer has their own little quirks and methods for applying graphics and pinstripes. You will develop your technique as lay down tape on everything you can get in your grasp. And just keep in the back of your mind how trick your Mustang is going to look at a show with your own handiwork brightening its look.
Russell Stare is an automotive restoration expert and owner of a highly successful detail and trim shop that develops and sells Mustang pinstripes, different graphics for Ford Mustangs as well as other essentials for restorations.