Having your car painted is a lot of time and work, and is of course not easily reversible. Hence the popularity of companies like UK-based Clyde Wraps, which specializes in re-coloring vehicles by applying custom vinyl wraps:
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The vinyl is easy to remove when the lease is up. Fleet owners also find wrapping more attractive than painting, as they can buy vehicles in whatever color is cheapest or most readily available, cover those vehicles with their company's branding, yet still remove the stuff when it comes time to sell the vehicles.
Ironically, the thing that has just gotten Clyde Wraps on the viral map is not one of the vehicles that they made look good. It's a project where they made a vehicle look awful, on the customer's request.
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"We were delighted," the company writes, "when a customer came in and asked our in house designer to create one-off rust artwork that made his brand new top-of-the-range Volkswagen T5 Transporter Sportline look like the paint had rust all over."
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Traffic for Clyde's website has gone through the roof as photos of the van went viral last week.
At least one car-based website is reporting that the owner requested the van be rendered ugly in order to prevent theft. We believe this is incorrect for two reasons: One is that this statement doesn't appear anywhere on Clyde Wraps' project description page for the van, and two is the notion that cars are primarily stolen for being attractive is false, at least in America. Motor vehicle theft is typically executed by sophisticated rings operating out of chop-shops—not joyride-seeking individuals--trying to acquire car parts for specific models for resale.
Don't believe us? Check out the National Insurance Crime Bureau's most recent list of the Top Ten Most Stolen Cars via Forbes:
1. Honda Accord, 53,995
2. Honda Civic, 45,001
3. Chevrolet Silverado, 27,809
4. Ford F-150, 26,494
5. Toyota Camry, 14,420
6. Dodge/Ram Pickup, 11,347
7. Dodge Caravan, 10,911
8. Jeep Cherokee/Grand Cherokee, 9,272
9. Toyota Corolla, 9,010
10. Nissan Altima, 8,892
Unsurprisingly, those models correspond with the most popular models on the road. When plenty of people need a replacement brake cylinder for an Accord, and there are plenty of Accords on the road to steal one from, a theft ring will pop up to connect those dots. Exterior rust is not likely to deter them.