Nis­san 350Z

This Rocket Bunny 350Z looks like it’s been sit­ting in a dusty barn since 1979. But how is that pos­si­ble? It’s all down to the in­ge­nu­ity of Fun­keefish. You see, this is no or­di­nary wrap…

Fast Car - - Contents -

Love it or hate it. You’ve gotta re­spect the level of de­tail on this build.

The thrill of un­ex­pected and ob­scure dis­cov­ery is one of the things that re­ally makes you feel alive. Your brain shifts from ‘Is it?’ to ‘No, it couldn’t pos­si­bly be’ be­fore ar­riv­ing at ‘Holy cow, I think it re­ally is’. There’s no gid­dier feel­ing. It’s the rare adren­a­line rush when you hit a one-in-amil­lion chance; find­ing a first-press­ing Bea­tles LP at a jum­ble sale, or a Gucci suit in a char­ity shop, or a Canaletto in your gran’s at­tic. Or, as seen on var­i­ous do-up-awreck-and-sell-for-profit TV shows, hap­pen­ing upon a clas­sic race car that’s been aban­doned in a barn for decades.

It’s this last thrill that the wrap­ping su­per­heroes at Fun­keefish sought to em­u­late with the as­tound­ing 350Z you see be­fore you. The term ‘barn find’ gets thrown around with ca­sual aban­don these days and these cre­ative types have taken the idea and run with it. They’ve cre­ated some­thing gen­uinely in­cred­i­ble: a mod­ern build with the en­tirely con­vinc­ing look of be­ing a 1970s race car that’s been dumped in a musty barn and for­got­ten about. They call it Barn­find 66. Amaz­ing, isn’t it?

The team at Fun­keefish know a thing or two about wraps. As well as cater­ing to the af­ter­mar­ket, they carry out cor­po­rate projects for Toy­ota and Ford and all sorts. You name it, they’ve cus­tom-de­signed and fas­tid­i­ously ap­plied it.

“Fun­keefish was born from the need to stand out from the crowd and of­fer a ser­vice that sets us apart from our com­peti­tors,” says com­pany boss Mark Cham­ber­lain. “Hav­ing worked in the sign in­dus­try for over 30 years – when many de­cals were hand-cut – this com­pany was set up in 2009 cre­at­ing a name cus­tomers would re­mem­ber. Our strengths lie in our cre­ativ­ity and our at­ten­tion to de­tail.”

This much is ob­vi­ous from gaz­ing upon the hugely de­tailed wrap on this wide­body Zed. So why did they choose this car in the first place? “It’s ac­tu­ally our sec­ond full-on demo build,” Mark ex­plains. “The first was an Audi TT con­vert­ible, to which we added air sus­pen­sion, a Ger­man bodykit and a full wrap – which won Ar­lon’s #WrapWars in 2015. The fol­low­ing year we bought this 350Z sim­ply be­cause of its shape. We knew the de­sign had a lot of po­ten­tial for a truly eye-catch­ing and mem­o­rable wrap.”

The car was bought as a bit of a fixerup­per, hav­ing ex­pe­ri­enced front end dam­age that junked the bonnet, bumper and ra­di­a­tor. The first call Fun­keefish made was to Knight Racer to source a car­bon bonnet, along with a full Rocket Bunny wide-arch bodykit. Might as well, since they al­ready had them on the phone, eh? And with the parts or­dered, it was then on to Tar­mac Sportz to buy a Mishi­moto ra­di­a­tor and a Takeda in­duc­tion kit.

“For the body­work, we went to our good friends at Green­speed Au­tostylist to make the nec­es­sary re­pairs, and fit the car­bon bonnet and Rocket Bunny kit,” says Mark. “The kit’s fit­ted with cus­tom-made, coloured bolts, each one hav­ing our Fun­keefish brand­ing, sup­plied by Pro-bolt.”

To get the car sit­ting pretty, Stanced UK were the next firm to be tapped up (isn’t it im­pres­sive how Mark and the team are pow­er­ing through all this with such ef­fi­ciency?). Stanced UK pro­vided a full Air Lift V2 kit, which was in­stalled by Sim­ply Ser­viced in Colch­ester. And you can’t have a bagged Rocket Bunny car on stan­dard rims. That’d just look pe­cu­liar. Be­sides, Mark wanted some­thing truly spe­cial to make this demo build stand out. “We went for some­thing a bit out there,” he grins. “They’re 20-inch Mob­steel smooth­ies, made to or­der in the USA, with cus­tom spac­ers ma­chined by GBH Mo­tor­sport.”

Since ev­ery­thing else was turn­ing out to be pretty out­ra­geous, it was in­evitable that the rear spoiler would be equally so. This is no off-the-shelf car­bon uber­wang. How does the idea of a race wing from a Fer­rari 488 GTE grab you? No mess­ing about here, this is the real deal.

And the fi­nal pre-wrap flour­ish was that bonkers in­te­rior. In­spired by the wacky Boso­zoku style, it fea­tures oo­dles of blue Al­can­tara with the seat bol­sters stuffed with llama hair (but of course). Look up and you’ll spot a gen­uine Bent­ley head­lin­ing, com­plete with multi-change LED light­ing. Zany enough for you? Well, strap your­selves in tight, kids, be­cause now it’s time for the mae­stros to get wrap­ping…

“We all agreed that rac­ing liv­er­ies were a pop­u­lar theme in the wrap­ping world and with the rust/dis­tressed look pop­u­lar too we de­cided to com­bine these two themes,” Mark out­lines.

“Re­search­ing 1970s race car liv­er­ies, we chose Paul New­man’s 1979 Dat­sun 280ZX to base our de­sign on. We could see how the lines of the de­sign would trans­fer and work well on our 350Z. To take the rust look one step fur­ther, we took the el­e­ment of a ‘barn find’ and ap­plied this idea to the rac­ing liv­ery.”

Fun­keefish’s graphic de­signer, Jon, set about draw­ing up the retro graph­ics and adding in dis­tressed and worn de­tails; tyre marks, rust, peel­ing paint, and even bird poo! The art­work was then printed onto Av­ery Den­ni­son 1105 vinyl and, fol­low­ing a week-long dry­ing time, the print was taken one step fur­ther: us­ing sand­pa­per and thin­ners, they scratched and scuffed var­i­ous ar­eas of the wrap to repli­cate those hard-won rac­ing in­juries.

“Be­ing a barn find, there are some great de­tails on the ve­hi­cle,” Mark en­thuses. “For ex­am­ple, on the roof we added paint pot marks and spillages, and to give the roof more de­sign fea­tures we added tex­ture to the bird poo by us­ing acrylic paint un­der the lam­i­nate. We took this con­cept one step fur­ther with the rear Dat­sun badge: we hand-painted the text with acrylic paint onto vinyl – in some ar­eas this was over 6mm thick – al­low­ing a month to dry. The text was hand-cut and laid onto the printed tem­plate

which was al­ready wrapped on the car, and then a fi­nal wrap was placed over it. This gave the ef­fect of an aged and shrunken logo, and it’s one of my favourite ar­eas of the car.”

The in­no­va­tive ideas just kept on com­ing. Keen to show what you can re­ally do with clever de­sign on vinyl, they set about craft­ing an op­ti­cal il­lu­sion over the rear win­dow. See those retro lou­vres? They’re not ac­tu­ally lou­vres at all. It’s a sneaky printed de­sign cre­at­ing a 3D ef­fect. In­ge­nious, right? And the wheels weren’t ig­nored ei­ther: part of the rea­son for choos­ing the smooth­ies was that they have a nice big flat sur­face area – per­fect for ap­ply­ing yet more de­tail wrap­ping!

The orig­i­nal 1970s Dat­sun race car had gold cross-spoke al­loys and Fun­keefish have made a crafty trib­ute to this de­sign us­ing their own FF logo, printed onto clear in a yel­low gold tint and then placed on Av­ery chrome wrap.

This is one of the el­e­ments of the car that pro­vokes most ques­tion­ing from on­look­ers at shows. Af­ter all, how can it be pos­si­ble to wrap your wheels?! Well folks, now you know the se­cret.

“We’ve had a tremen­dous amount of pos­i­tive feed­back, both on so­cial me­dia and at car shows,” says Mark. “We first took it to Low Col­lec­tive in Septem­ber as we had a trade stand there, and then to TRAX. Hav­ing en­tered it into Av­ery Den­ni­son’s global Wrap Like a King com­pe­ti­tion, we won the North­ern Re­gion: Eu­rope cat­e­gory. And we’re very ex­cited that it ended up be­ing crowned Euro­pean Con­ti­nen­tal Win­ner!

“The wrap re­ally is one of a kind. It took a solid six months from the start of the de­sign phase to the fin­ished ef­fect, and we’re truly en­joy­ing the feed­back. Peo­ple seem to re­ally love it.”

We cer­tainly do, too. The her­culean ef­fort that’s been put into mak­ing this 350Z look like it had been wheeled off the track in 1979 and aban­doned among the straw and the owls is in­cred­i­ble, and it al­lows the ca­sual ob­server to en­joy that once-in-a-life­time thrill – the thrill of find­ing some­thing valu­able that had been thought lost. This isn’t just a wrap. It’s an emo­tional roller­coaster.

20inch smooth­ies with a wrap?! The de­tails don’t stop un­der the bonnet Cour­tesy of a Fer­rari 488 GTE

Part-in­spired by Paul New­man’s 1979 Dat­sun 280ZX De­tails in­clude paint spillage and tex­tured bird poo

Sud­denly the de­tails be­hind the Honey Mon­ster’s sad demise be­came clear

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