Personalising your car is just that - you're making it fit your personality. Owner go to great lengths to take their motor from characterless to conspicuous, and in many different ways, including engine tuning, overhauling the interior and fitting a ground-shaking sound system. But it's guaranteed that if there's one thing to make your car stand out, and to put your soul on display, it's a custom car paint job.
In a way, customised car paint jobs are like tattoos - there are terrible ones and amazingly realistic ones. I've been to a lot of auto shows over the years, so I've seen my share of them. You're guaranteed to see some that are just plain ol' ugly, like they've bought a DIY spray paint or airbrush kit and gone for it in a dusty garage, to ones that are truly, staggeringly amazing and painted by masters of their trade.
Whatever the case though, when someone decides to take their car's paintwork from standard to special, it's very often showing the world something they love, perhaps a personal experience in life - good or bad -, copying their favourite race car livery, shouting out their fandom of a specific manufacturer or a pet they may have been close to. Other times, though, it can just be that they want a something completely off-the-wall - a totally kick-ass paint job that'll make you you slide out your phone and snap away so much you'll wish you'd gone for that higher memory capacity after all.
The UK seems to be in the process of warming to customised car paintwork, but the true home of it is America - land of the free and home of the individuality. Over in the US of A, there seems to be so much more choice of places to get your car paint customised, and if you're into your car and bike TV shows you're likely used to seeing and hearing names like West Coast Customs, Chip Foose, Boyd Coddington (now defunct), Orange County Choppers and Gas Monkey Garage, put out some incredibly impressive paint and bodywork (regardless of whether they ship the work out or not..)
It's not just cars these guys throw serious amounts of money at though, but motorbikes too, and while there are motorcycle manufacturers like Harley-Davidson offering their bikes with a massive colour choice and parts brochure as long as a piece of string, and car makers like Mini, Citroen and MG offering some of their models with a whole host of colour combos and decal sets, there's still nothing like an awesome one-off airbrushed design gracing the bodywork, engine or interior panels of your car to show what you're really about. Without owners showing up to the local car or bike meet with their unique machines sporting that'll make you drool, the world would be a duller place to live.
It doesn't matter whether it's some young kid who can only afford to get his engine cover painted the same colour as his car, or someone who's pushed the envelope and gone all the way with an insanely phenomenal complete overhaul, or someone wealthy who's optioned their Rolls-Royce with a hand-painted design line down the side, it's all good; and just a little bit more extreme than the good old fashioned car paint repair you're used to performing with your Chipex touch up kit!
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