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…
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