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The Art of Vinyl Styles

This article is from our archives and has not been updated and integrated with our "new" site yet... Even so, it's still awesome - so keep reading!

Published on Fri, Jul 13, 2012

By: The LACar Editorial Staff

An Audi R8 with a full body wrap by Vinyl Styles ( for Vinyl Styles)

Justin Bieber has one. So does Flo Rida. We’re referring to a car wrapped in vinyl. Car makers have been doing it for years. You know those racing stripes on that new Shelby GT500? Vinyl. The Camaro SS? Vinyl. Police cars? Commuter trains? Buses? Vinyl, vinyl, vinyl. The latest craze to hit the car culture is a full body vinyl wrap. This is where the entire car gets the vinyl treatment. You can actually change the car’s color at a fraction of the cost of paint with a vinyl wrap. And the best part? You can take it off to go back to the original color. This is what West Coast Customs did to Justin Bieber's new Fisker Karma—only they wrapped the whole car in vinyl chrome.


One of the standout wrap artists on the West Coast is Lyle Beckwith, the creative force behind Vinyl Styles of San Carlos, California. His work has been prominently displayed on automotive bulletin boards—particularly the hobby sites of European cars. Vinyl Styles has been wrapping cars since 2005. “The projects started with my brand new 2004 MINI Cooper S,” said Beckwirth. “All the chrome pieces were removed and painted, but the paint didn't last very long.” Beckwith worked alongside a good friend who has a small home-based sign business. After wrapping a few pieces in vinyl, Vinyl Styles was born and the rest is history. “We have had some pretty strange requests, says Beckwith. “We've done toilet seats, floors, headphones, computers, wheels. We've been asked to wrap refrigerators, drum sets, and girlfriends.” “The Audi TTS was our favorite transition (see photo accompanying this article). It was a complete transformation—rims and all.”

A gift to a daughter in her favorite color
1-MINI_in_pink_2 -Vinyl_Styles
Even the inside door panels get the wrap treatment

So why don’t car companies use vinyl instead of paint? They do for body graphics, stripes and such (and they have been for eons now). If you’re starting out with a metal shell, paint is easy. Also, vinyl will tend to frail a bit at the edges after too many years. A lot depends on how long you leave the car out in the sun, but you probably want to remove the vinyl after a few year if you’re covering the whole car and plan on going back to the original color. Otherwise, the adhesives are harder to get off after too many years. On the other hand, if you have no plans to pull off the vinyl and you keep your car well protected, you need not worry. After all, even the vinyl tape stripes on some original Mach 1s are still intact after more than forty years! Although headquartered in San Carlos, Vinyl Styles will travel anywhere if the job is worth their while. “Some car clubs have put together installation weekends for us, which is lots of fun for us.” As the artwork on these pages indicate, Vinyl Styles is not your average sign shop. “We specialize in everything custom, which is why we charge a bit more than the others.” You can find out more about Vinyl Styles at its website: - Roy Nakano

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