If you want your Camaro to stand out in a crowd, nothing does it better than some sort of graphics. Now, it could be anything as wild (and tasteless) as a big ass dragon on the hood or as subtle as a simple pinstripe. The possibilities are literally endless.
Recently, we gave our 2001 Camaro Z28 an attitude adjustment with the addition of an SS hood from Classic Industries and a few bits from RK sport. While those parts did a ton to liven up the aesthetics of our Camaro, it now looked pretty much like every black SS on the road. What our car needed was a little personality, namely in the form of stripes.
Once we decided to do a little custom paint on Black Betty, the next question was the design. We wanted it to be something that wouldn’t go out of style (remember back when tribal stripes were considered cool?), so we hit up artist Tavis Highlander (www.tavishighlander.com) for ideas. He does some amazing car renderings and he came up with a design that would look as good in ten years as it does today. Paint isn’t cheap, so using an artist like Highlander is a great idea if you want to get it right the first time. Another catalyst to getting this done was that the crew at Aggressive Designs in Santa Fe Springs, California, were toally into the project. They had just helped us install and paint our Z28’s new body panels and thought the Camaro still needed a bit more love, and who were we to argue?
1. Since we were busting out the paint gun, we figured it was a good time to fix some of the dings our ’01 had accumulated in its years on the road. Since most of the Camaro is plastic, the majority of the repairs consisted of dings in the metal quarter panels. After body working the area, Seth Boldman, Owner of Aggressive Designs, laid down some Transtar black primer.
2. Before rolling into the paint booth, most of the Camaro was papered off to protect from overspray. To save cash and time, we decided to just paint the car from the middle molding strip up and just buff the rest out.
3. Once in the booth, the rest of the car could be masked off, including the SS hood that already had fresh paint.
4. Our fourth-gen suffered from a common ailment where paint bubbled on the roof hoop. Back in the day, there was a service bulletin on this from GM, but our Z28 is way past its warranty. The problem was caused by some “Earth-friendly” glue used by GM out gassing and jacking up the paint. The right way to fix it is to replace the roof hoop, but the part is no longer available. Later on we’re going to figure out a way to properly tackle the problem, but for now we simply sanded it down in preparation for fresh paint.
5. Aggressive Designs’ painter, James Sterwart, started out by mixing up the Transtar Empress Black basecoat (PN LV-905) with the appropriate reducer (PN 6721-F).
6. Stewart then hit the Camaro with several coats of fresh black paint.
7. After giving the new paint time to set up, Boldman went about laying Black Betty’s new graphics. The idea was to get them looking like Tavis Highlander’s rendering, which wasn’t easy since the rendering is flat and our Camaro is most definitely not. 8.Once Boldman had the stripe looking just right, he used some ¼-inch fine line tape to define the edges. Once done, the tape, acting as our stripe, was removed.
8. Once Boldman had the stripe looking just right, he used some -inch fine line tape to define the edges. Once done, the tape, acting as our stripe, was removed.
9. This left us with a great guide to mask off the rest of the car. To make life easier, Boldman had the stripe pass directly over the tab for the gas cap door.
10. Boldman’s main gig is painting custom artwork on motorcycles. As such, his shop is decorated with a ton of bitchn' gas tanks. One of these tanks from a Harley inspired our color choice for the stripe; a charcoal gray that will look great and yet be somewhat subtle.
11. With the color for the stripe laid down, Boldman could then pull off all of the paper and the fine line tape.
12. To add a bit more punch, we hit the stripe with an accent pinstripe of blood red. Once that was done, the car was doused in several coats of Transtar clear.
13. After drying for a week, Boldman gave all the freshly painted panels a good dose of cutting and polishing.
14. The end result came out better than we had hoped. The stripe follows the body lines of our Camaro perfectly and accents the car without being obnoxious. In fact, from 20 feet away it’s nearly invisible.
15. When we installed the new hood and rear spoiler, we had also repainted the tail panel of the Camaro satin black. Rather than install a Z28 emblem back there, we contracted Shaun Dove, of Evod Industries, to make us our Tavis Highlander-designed Black Betty emblem. It came out so cool that we had him make two more for the front fenders.