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History Vinyl Lettering?

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by hugh m, Aug 6, 2012.

  1. hugh m
    Joined: Jul 18, 2007
    Posts: 2,142

    hugh m
    from ct.

    Why do you see so much Vinyl lettering on otherwise knockout nice old race restorations,on both oval and drag cars? The guys always spend the dough on the right stuff and then glom on these horrible sticky monstrosities. I don't mean decals, but all the stuff that was custom lettered back in the day certainly deserves to be replicated now...OK, I'm done.[​IMG]

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    Joined: Jun 23, 2006
    Posts: 1,476


    I've seen what you mean and have wondered the same.
  3. Gearhead Graphics
    Joined: Oct 4, 2008
    Posts: 3,614

    Gearhead Graphics
    from Denver Co

    Because they are too tight to throw money at a painter i guess.
    Ive wondered too. as a painter (pinstriper letterer) i would love to get in on some of these old cars. Would even cut a better price for a piece of history
  4. Frankly it's about 1/4 of the cost to do vinyl vs hand lettering.

  5. suede shoe
    Joined: Jun 16, 2012
    Posts: 44

    suede shoe

    I'm going to guess it's cheaper, and easier to remove if they decide to change it.
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2012
  6. I believe a big reason is Vinyl lettering is easy and you don't have to have talent to make a vinyl sign,,just a computer.

    I sold sign supply's and paint for 40 years here in Anderson,S.C. and in it's hayday I had 23 sign painters on the books,,I only know of 2 that are still doing a occasional had lettered sign.

    They can't make a living with hand painted signs in this town anymore. :(HRP
  7. Pluedy
    Joined: Aug 1, 2012
    Posts: 9


    Maybe it's getting hard find someone to do good lettering? it's not like there's a sign painter in every town anymore.
  8. I hear that. I've even offered to do a few cars for free to keep the owners from putting vinyl on these vintage cars.
  9. LSR 2909
    Joined: May 10, 2012
    Posts: 605

    LSR 2909
    from Colorado

    I am not a big fan of it, but vinyl, for better or for worse, is quick, cheap and easy with no egos involved.
  10. tfeverfred
    Joined: Nov 11, 2006
    Posts: 15,793


    It's perfect for the person who tends to change his mind often.
  11. hugh m
    Joined: Jul 18, 2007
    Posts: 2,142

    hugh m
    from ct.

    Don't know about other parts of the country, but we have more than a few sign painters in Connecticut. And I would guess even more goobers with computers.
  12. tfeverfred
    Joined: Nov 11, 2006
    Posts: 15,793


    Kinda like bitching about using e-mail instead of writting a letter. Sometimes, progress sucks.
  13. Can't speak for everyone, but with a winged sprint car, it's the difference between going back out with a new wing that has sponsor images on it, and going back out with a bare new wing.
    If we could find someone to do it, it would take too long, and cost too much.

    The work on my avitar was done by the late Ed Crawford, couldn't replace it if I wanted to.
  14. olcurmdgeon
    Joined: Dec 15, 2007
    Posts: 2,136


    Too many sign painters were sold vinyl computer driven machines based on the profit margin so a real old school sign painter is almost a thing of the past. And if you do find one, they'll have some age on them, like Dick Mills of Lee, NH who is still a genuine painter and pin striper. He has done all our race cars! Loves cars (you should see his scaled down '40 ford conv, 4 cyl powered that he scratch built). Anyway a couple of years ago Dick showed me some truck doors that were freighted down to him from Alaska! Some guy up there damn well didn't want vinyl and heard about Dick so sent him the doors to letter. Really comes down to pride in your ability, a half assed painter can do vinyl, but it takes a really good guy with a brush to paint freehand and draw a straight line.
  15. Skeezix
    Joined: Jan 10, 2007
    Posts: 845

    from SoCal

    Some things I've done in vinyl
    I guess they are too new but vinyl is used as standard now.

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  16. Jimbo17
    Joined: Aug 19, 2008
    Posts: 3,740


    All of the answers so far have been right about why vinyl is used so much.

    Years ago when you walked into a sign shop hand lettering was there main business.

    Once people who owned sign shop learned what a Gerber Edge was and how to use it things really started to change.

    Today with printers like a Roland and a few other name brands it made it possible for anyone to enter the sign shop business without knowing how to hand letter which is a real art form and took years of practice to learn.

    Just try walking into a sign shop and ask them to hand letter your old race car and you will see what I mean. Most do not know how to do or even what type of paints to use.

    Years ago I never thought I would own a large format printer but once I learned how to use one along with a good graphics program I stopped using my brushes.

    I still love pinstripping and lettering but real do not get many calls any more.

    I still have my paint box full of One Shop Paint just in case.

  17. SO many of the people buying sign machines have no idea of sign layout or design. A proper restoration of a stick car or a drag car would be with hand lettering. Anything less is just not doing a correct restoration. If you have a race car that is tore up every week, vinyl is your answer,
  18. rebelrat
    Joined: Aug 26, 2008
    Posts: 448


    I had the sign shop make a stencil and sprayed my letters on and will get someone to shadow the edge's .........don't have the skills to hand paint letters so I thought this was the next best thing
  19. jimbousman
    Joined: Jul 24, 2008
    Posts: 541


    This is true. It's literally a dying breed.
  20. texasred
    Joined: Dec 3, 2008
    Posts: 1,078

    from Houston

    There's a damn good one in Houston, Don Brooks..
  21. Well, as usual things have gotten away from the original topic of "Old Race Cars".
    Yes, vinyl has its place on newer vehicles of any kind. I lettered Sprint cars for a few years myself and did about a 50/50 split of vinyl vs. hand lettering and air brushing. Those guys can't realistically afford to pay someone to hand letter top & front wings, no longer than they last.
    My point is, on VINTAGE/HISTORIC Race Cars, ....... vinyl is out of place.

    Geez guys, .... read the whole thread!
  22. jdubbya
    Joined: Jul 12, 2003
    Posts: 2,435


    I opted for vinyl when I first decided to letter the doors on my truck, the main reason was it was easily romovable if I decided that I didnt like the look. The lettering is still the same vinyl, but I will have it painted on if the vinyl starts to look bad or peel. Just my .02, and I would think alot of other people were thinking the way I did. -Joe

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  23. The first picture is pin striping done in vinyl transfer on my roadster. The second is what I replaced it with ( hand painted ). I liked the vinyl and it was very hard to tell it wasn't paint, except for the fact that it was too perfect. But I never really felt like it belonged. But honestly if I didn't get the great price ($ 100.00) on the hand painted stripes I'd probably still have the vinyl on it. I agree that it has all to do with price and the versatility to change it that makes vinyl so popular.

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  24. Wowcars
    Joined: May 10, 2001
    Posts: 1,023


    HRP, I'd be much more offended if it wasn't you saying it, but
    I've been doing vinyl graphics for many years, and it isn't a matter of not needing talent. You do. Its just a different kind of talent. I have done several cars (both vinyl and paint). I trust my talents to charge someone for vinyl, but I'll only do my own paint.
    An authentic vintage type race car (replica or not) should have hand painted lettering, no questions asked. But like has been previously stated, it's a dying art. Even though I pay my bills with vinyl, I do not want to see it fade away.
  25. I honestly meant no offense,,but I'm sure you will agree learning to use a graphic machine can be taught much quicker than apprenticing with a sign painter for years,,just like you have the talent to offer your clients both forms of lettering.

    Besides,we both know lettering old race cars with One Shot is traditional!:D HRP
  26. PurHell
    Joined: Dec 17, 2004
    Posts: 375

    from So Cal

    I'm another one voting for hand paint!..

    One of the first things you see on a historic race car.. Vinyl graphics ?..

    It kills me that guys go through all kinds of pains and money to make things traditional or historically correct and they blow it when it comes to the graphics.. 100K plus restored race cars.. 100% correct, so they say.. then look at the historic pictures.. not the same car.. it's what the restorer "thinks" the graphics should be or have been.. kind of a Disney-ish version of history.. early Bonneville/ drag cars being some of the worst offenders...

    There are still enough of us out there that can do it.. bit more like finding a good vintage engine builder or sombody that can work an aluminum body...

  27. lc1963
    Joined: Aug 12, 2008
    Posts: 160

    from iowa

    progress is the enemy of tradtion
    tradtion is the enemy of progress

    Friend runs a shop and can paint but get em in and out to keep the doors open - vinyl
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2012
  28. FunnyCar65
    Joined: Mar 11, 2007
    Posts: 2,069

    from Colorado

    paid 800 to get mine hand lettered would do it again in a heartbeat.Vinyl can't even come close to the looks of real sign writing.

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  29. VonDad
    Joined: Apr 17, 2001
    Posts: 228


    I love to letter. I have been doing it for over 35 years. I am no mondo artistic hand at it, but I have done my share. I know the vinyl is the thing, but I've never had the $$ to buy one of the plotters. Then the vinyl, and release tape and all of the things that go along with it.

    Shoot I finally am just getting the sign kit in order. One shot paint no longer has the lead in it that made it last forever, but it is still very good stuff. Lasts longer than some vinyl, and I said some.

    Painting takes longer. It just does. When I have to do more than one I make a pattern. When I need a graphic I can't draw, I use my overhead projector. But the future is vinyl..

    There's a girl here in town who watched me stripe her brother's truck, and letter a couple of signs. She now helps when ever she can. There are still those out there with great talent, and ability. They like new rodders just need encouragement.

    I personally love paint over vinyl. Its a personal thing. It's personal to put your hands on another's ride, and put a little of your soul and a bunch of time into it. Is it profitable? Not always. But its always cool.

    Will be at the hamb drags. Old guy... new angel tat on left arm. No tent, just to watch and have a ball; just like since the first one. But, if you want something done. Gimme holler. I'll bring me stuff.

    I love this place. No where better to share and enjoy our hobbies. Even if they never help a vehicle go any faster. But there have been some of us who once we put our hands on a car, has caused it to be recognized forever.

    Ramchargers, Color me Gone... 70's funnies with the airbrush details. Everybody remembers how they look and read. Paint Rules!
  30. firingorder1
    Joined: Dec 15, 2006
    Posts: 2,147


    Fiberglass bodies? BAH!!! Steel is real. Vinyl lettering? Oh that's cool.

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