by Zach Maskell
No matter how new your ride is, change can feel good, and may even be essential. A new color might be all you need, but that’s no small feat. That usually involves lots of sanding and spraying, and whatever it looked like when new is gone forever. But, our over the edge guy Zach Maskell has found another option. One that not only alters your car’s appearance, but actually protects the factory finish as well.
ZACH MASKELL: Whether your paint is still fresh from the manufacturer, or your project car needs new skin. Settling on a color is tough.
“I’ve been building this 1992 Nissan 240sx Coupe for the last few months and she’s finally prepped and ready for paint. The only problem for me is that I can never seem to decide on a color. I wish I could just put something on that’s temporary. Well, Lucky for me, we have found the supercar of peelable paint."
We’ve recruited the help of KP Pigments, in Oceanside, New York, to show us hundreds of speed shape samples… and narrow it down to the winner. Autoflex is the coating’s name – and it applies similar to paint. This one is called Hypershift. Obviously, on the wilder end of the spectrum. It changes color depending on light, and the angle you look at it. Knowing that wild look may hurt the resale value of a pricier car – this can offer a high-end paint job, for the time being. And, unlike a vinyl wrap job, no adhesives are needed.
“Even though the guys tell us that this spray should last the lifetime of the car, when you’re ready for a change, you walk up to it, get a little piece started, and you literally just start peeling man.”
It’s scratch and fuel resistant. You can buff it, wax it, even sand it, and it’s said to remain flexible over time, unlike some other alternatives to baked on paint.
PETER GJONLEKAJ: “New York summers. New York winters. They’re polar opposites. With rock chips, salt, debris on the road, I mean it holds up well.”
ZACH MASKELL: Just look at the top coat, after we let a sample dry overnight.
SHAWHEEN AHOURAIE: “Because it’s high end, because the finish looks a lot better, it needs to be sprayed in a spray booth. It needs to be sprayed out of a high end HVLP. You need to have a compressor. This is not a product designed for the DIY crowd.”
ZACH MASKELL: Autoflex costs $1,800 for basic matte colors all the way to $5,000 for the exciting color shifts.
SHAWHEEN AHOURAIE: “We have over here the Sandstone OEM+. Now this is a color that once the light hits it, you’re going to see a lot of sparkle in it. That’s designed to replicate a lot of the popular OEM finishes that car manufacturers are offering nowadays.
ZACH MASKELL: The pearl, or sparkle that you see, can make any standard color have a flashier look. Of course you can go with something like… watermelon juice… that replicates a true candy paint job, boasting much depth and color. Our decision was made, and we moved on to install… at A Status Coatings.
ANTHONY POSTIGLIONE: “A lot of people can’t believe it’s not paint. A lot of people think it’s just a regular paint job or, sometimes we get vinyl wraps but it’s Autoflex all the way.”
ZACH MASKELL: For cars with an already existing paint job, prep is fairly simple.
ANTHONY POSTIGLIONE: “Worse case scenario we’re going to clay bar the car. A lot of the times we get away with just giving it an alcohol bath, get the surface nice and clean, and we’re ready to spray.”
“Alright let’s get our materials...we’re ready to go.”
ZACH MASKELL: The first two coats, a high build primer that keeps out the dreaded fish eye effect, and makes it easier to peel. Then five coats of the brown tinted spray wrap pro.
We then moved on to two coats of the Sandstone OEM+… while adding a couple pinches of Nighthawk black… making our custom color a bit darker.
And of course, the high gloss top coat brings the color alive.
Did I mention wheels are fair game, too?
We let it cure, and put Autoflex to the ultimate test. A drift event. My front bumper was sacrificed early in the day, but look how well it held up being dragged under the car. So far – it’s the real deal… and not a single person guessed it was not just paint…but peelable paint.