- Oct 18, 2011
- Lakeland, FL
Blackout at the Beach
Bullitt Auto Detail wraps Project Samhain’s roof at Mustang Week
By Steve Turner
Mustang Week is an insanely busy time for the SVTP crew. From running our own display, throwing parties and covering the events, we are all running in different directions. It makes doing anything else tough, but we know how good Ken Mahlschnee at Bullitt Auto Detail is and our EcoBoost Mustang, Project Samhain, definitely needed something to break up all that Competition Orange.
Ken definitely stays busy at Mustang Week. He offers special show pricing and his tent always has a car under it having some vinyl applied. From the moment we pulled Project Samhain into his domain he and his assistant Dave Gilliand had our project’s roof prepped and wrapped in about 30 minutes.
If you have been considering a custom look for your ride, but don’t know what path to take, the wraps have some definite advantages if you want an affordable way to customize your ride and still have the ability to return it to stock.
“The wrap is removable without risk of damage to the paint and can be returned to factory color without leaving glue residue...” Ken explained. “It also protects the paint from the elements and care is super easy, just wash as you would paint without the worry of water spots or swirling. Custom paint is permanent and Plasti Dip is just as time consuming as painting. The wrap comes in a wide array of colors, and can be laid proficiently in a timely manner. A customer can wait for the roof to be completed in under an hour as opposed to paint or Plasti Dip which may require a full day or more to complete.”
For Project Samhain we chose a simple black roof treatment to give a visual break to all that Competition Orange. These kinds of wraps along with stripes are the most common types that Bullitt Auto Detail applies.
“The most common wraps we do with Mustangs are stripes. We custom cut stripes on the cars with knifeless tape to design specifically to the owner’s specifications onsite. Changes in ideas can be made on the fly as opposed to custom cutting the vinyl or buying precut kit,” Ken said. “At Mustang Week we had lines out the door for roofs and stripes, but we also created custom designs on hoods, spoilers, and rockers. We were also given full creative freedom on a number of mustangs. Those are the most fun to give the client something totally unique and never before seen.”
Obviously the costs vary based on how much wrap work you want to add and how complex your vehicle is to wrap, but the roof is one of the more straight-forward operations so it is quite affordable.
“The SVTP wrap normally retails for $250 and up based on the color chosen and the complexity of the roof,” he added. “Some roofs have antennas or roof channels that need to be removed. We like to wrap far into the rubber seals to give a clean, factory-like appearance.”
To see how this kind of wrap is applied, follow along as Ken and Dave give our EcoBoost Mustang a makeover.
Dave begins by loosening some rear interior panels to all the headliner to come down a bit.
With this access he unbolts the factory satellite radio antenna. While it is possible to wrap around the antenna, removing it and wrapping under ensures a clean, durable result.
Dave unplugs the antenna and removes it from the roof.
After freeing the roof of obstructions, it is critical to clean the surface thoroughly. You don’t want dirt or debris under the wrap to show through as bumps and irregularities.
Before applying the wrap, Ken lays down a strip of knifeless tape in the roof channels. This allows him to cut a perfectly straight edge on the wrap without the danger of damaging the paint surface underneath.
Ken likes to lay down the vinyl like glass at first to minimize the chance of bubbles and creases appearing as they finalize the wrap.
When Ken says “glass” he means it. The vinyl is incredibly malleable and forgiving as he and Dave pull it tight to our Mustang’s roof.
After applying the film, Ken begins the process of smoothing it with a squeegee. The modern wrap films are designed to let the air bleed through to ease this process and Ken’s years of experience make it look easy.
Next Ken trims the wrap at the roof rails using the knifeless tape he applied earlier. He simply pulls it up and it cuts a straight edge.
With the edge cut, he uses his thumb to smoothly lay down the edge of the vinyl.
He carefully cuts the edges and the front and rear windows with a razor knife and smoothes those edges with his finger.
No you see it. Now you don’t stray bubbles can be wiped away with a finger tip.
With the wrap completed, Dave reinstalls the factory antenna.
Boom. The finished product looks factory and the black roof really adds a nice visual break to the Comp Orange paint.
Ken left his mark with dry erase marker, but he wiped it off before we returned it to the boss. You have to have some fun when you are out wrapping in the Myrtle Beach heat.