The ball has dropped, the clocks have struck — we’ve safely arrived in 2015, and that means it’s time take a nice long look at the year in our rear view! 2014 brought about a lot of growth for us here at NWAS — as a team, as a brand, and then some. We’re excited to get crackin’ on what the new year will have to offer, but for now, check out all the highlights of automotive detailing, vehicle wraps, paint protection projects, prospects, events & adventures that made last year everything it was meant to be!
FEATURES & SPOTLIGHTS
The selection process for what vehicles we like to feature on our site as always been a bit sporadic. We weigh our choices heavily with the cars that trend on our social media channels, newest releases from manufacturers that early adapters are seeking care for, and tend to play favorites towards any vehicle that peaks our interest. Given that 2014 held a big (and still on-going) web renovation for us, some feature cars got pushed to the back burner. While they may be in a holding pattern for the time being, here’s what managed to find its way into headlines.
Audi S4 – New Car Detail + Gtechniq, Spectra PhotoSync Window Tint, and Full Frontal XPEL Paint Protection
Of course, it should almost be no surprise at this point that one of our first features of 2014 was an Audi! We’re big fans of the Audi brand, have been quite active on the Quattroworld forums in the past, and even sometimes refer to ourselves jokingly as “NorthWest Audi Salon” behind closed doors. The S4 that came through for a New Car Detail ended up scheduling the works. On top of the standard New Car Detail, it also received Full Frontal XPEL paint protection, Prestige Spectra PhotoSync window tint film, and a number of Gtechniq coating treatments to round out the total package.
The 2nd major feature to grace the blog highlighted an absolutely stunning specimen from our friends over at Mercedes Benz of Lynnwood. Even though the car was reportedly detailed by the factory, we worked our magic & polished it out to perfection. In addition, we patterned some custom XPEL Ultimate paint protection inlays to keep the SLS’s carbon door sills looking immaculate for years to come. This SLS AMG Black Series was without a doubt one of our favorite features this year!
Another favorite of the year came to us in the form of a Stingray. We got to spend quite a bit of time getting familiar with Chevy’s latest iteration of the Corvette, and even got up close & personal with a Z06 recently (which we’ll touch more on later.) This beautiful blue C7 ‘Ray just happened to be the very first of the redesigned models to visit our shop for a New Car Detail, SunTek CXP window tint, and Gtechniq protection. Surely, it won’t be the last.
Much deeper into the classic end of the automotive spectrum we find one of our most resurrected reconditioning projects. The correction achieved on this heavily oxidized VW Weekender was nothing short of a miracle, and despite a long weekend of work for the boss man, the van was completed without a hiccup. To seal the deal, we hooked the owner up with a collection of minimally edited cyclorama studio photographs for his seller’s listing!
VEHICLE WRAPS, GRAPHIC MAKEOVERS, AND OTHER INTERESTING AESTHETICS
This past year also held a number of interesting vehicle wrap & graphic installations for us here at NWAS. Early in 2014, we completed a handful of full & partial car wraps, including a client who wanted to update the look of his new Rolls Royce Ghost, a satin black wrap on a hardtop Honda S2000, and a minty-fresh makeover for a Porsche Turbo owned by Cats Exotics. In between full car installs we cranked out a bunch of custom dual-stripe packs, and even had the chance to create a rather hypnotic take on a Citroen DS21. We’ve got a lot of wild car wrap ideas bouncing around for 2015, and some may even find inspiration from past projects — only time will tell. Take a look at a few of our favorites & let us know what crazy vinyl wrap dreams you want to pursue into the New Year!
We were a little late to the game on sharing this S2K’s vehicle wrap installation, but it still made the cut as our first ever PAST DUE feature. Import tuner cars aren’t exactly our bread & butter here at NWAS, but we’re always excited to take on wrap projects of every shape and size. The Honda S2000 was in need of a menacing make-over, so we set to work covering every single inch of this bad little hardtop with a beautiful satin metallic black film, door jambs & all.
Cats Exotics Minty Fresh Porsche Turbo
Here’s one that many of you may have spotted out on the bricks at the 7th annual Red Square Charity Car Show. We didn’t get a chance to feature this full car wrap on our blog, but it was without a doubt one of the more controversial projects we created this year. The fact that it’s a highly modified 993 with a beefy turbo upgrade is enough to get most peoples motors running, but that just wasn’t enough for Cats! This car got completely made over with Avery matte emerald & the lightly customized with a little gloss brown chocolate frosting in the form of an RS flag stripe pack, spoiler accents, and matching powder-coated turbo twists. Sweet tooth or not, there’s no denying this Porsche Turbo has some serious presence now that it’s all wrapped up.
Mr. Sandman – Citroen DS21 goes Matte Metallic Purple with custom “Hypnocaps”
Another popular project that brought about a lot of joy & plenty of critique was none other than one of Blake’s personal vehicles. He’s been dreaming of creating a completely unique take on a classic piece of French royalty, and surely, it’s been achieved with this wacky Citroen vehicle wrap! What started as a simple full color change using Avery matte metallic purple quickly spiraled into a number of original & euro-spec OEM+ style modifications, custom interior carpets, and what may very well be the only set of hypnotizing hubcaps in existence. Check out this awesome short from Landin Williams for a glimpse of it in action!
The Citroen sparked a lot of interest around the web, eventually making its way over to Jalopnik & even hitting the Forza Motorsport blog for a feature in Heavy Metal Affliction. We can’t say for sure if this is any indication that there’s a chance a Citroen DS21 will be included in an upcoming Forza Horizon 2 DLC car pack, but we can dream!
Rolls Royce Ghost “Drophead” Hood Wrap with Brushed Steel
“Edition emulation” is a concept we love to toy with here at the shop. In years past, you may have seen car wraps & film accents like our Edizione Tecnica Super Trofeo Stradale we completed back in 2012, or the XPEL Stealth Huracan we put together about a month ago that seem oddly familiar. These vehicles and the Rolls Royce Ghost pictured above are the perfect example of this practice & why we love doing it so much! Using a textured vinyl that has the same look and feel of brushed steel, we designed a bonnet, snout, and window surround that brought some Drophead-esque styling to this luxury cruiser. The update gave it an elegant point of contrast that feels like it could be a factory option. Forget imitation carbon fiber — if you want texture & a finish that stands out, this is one of the many ways to do it.
Dodge Challenger R/T: Vinyl Stripe Recreation
Another exercise in emulating manufacturer styling with a twist came to us in the form of a custom vinyl stripe pack for a Dodge Challenger R/T. The client made it clear that he wanted an updated stripe with classic appeal, so we did just that! To pay homage to the throwback graphics of vintage Challengers, we crafted a simple 2-color side stripe that flows down the full length of the car. It’s not a groundbreaking design, but the execution & finish quality really make this R/T feel special.
XPEL Paint Protection – Taking Ultimate & Stealth to a New Level
Ever since we began offering XPEL paint protection film, we’ve been nothing but impressed with the quality, clarity, and unrivaled damage resistance it offers. The sheer number of Total Coverage protection packages we completed this year was outrageous, wrapping everything from the Bentley Continental GT Speed to a fully spec’d S65 AMG, Model S & beyond. It was also an incredible year for getting Stealthy, with three full car wraps completed right before the buzzer. Two of these wraps you already know about, one of which we completed right around the same time as SEMA. The unreleased installation includes a video feature that will likely become our first PAST DUE post of 2015! We can’t wait to start experimenting with different styles of car wraps & film combinations on Tesla Motors newest edition, but for now, have a look at the 2014 highlight reel.
The Most Ultimate Ultimate Installations
S65 AMG Total Coverage Paint Protection & PhotoSync Window Tint
Easily, one of the most intensive installations & extensive Total Coverage XPEL paint protection packages we completed this year was for a brand new Mercedes Benz S65 AMG. This vehicle was sent directly to us from the dealership, still covered in shipping plastic & a few extra pieces of protective tape. We took it in, treated it to a New Car Detail, Prestige Film Technologies Spectra PhotoSync window tint, wrapped every inch possible in XPEL Ultimate paint protection film, and even treated it to a Gtechniq EXO coating for additional hydrophobicity.
First Look: Protecting Tesla Motors P85D with XPEL Ultimate
There have been a handful of clients who were lucky enough to take “D”-livery of their new Model S before 2014 ran out, and now it seems they’re ready to experience a higher standard of XPEL paint protection installation. We’ve had 3 come through so far & the schedule is filling up quick – some Premium, a few Full Frontal, most Total Coverage. For some reason, lot of installers like to boast about the number of installations they’ve performed, but we’re all about quality over quantity. Each & every Model S – P85D or otherwise – will receive the same level of care as the last. Being a low volume shop allows us the extra hours to ensure no edge is overlooked & optimum coverage is achieved for the desired protection package. After all, good things take time!
Ferrari 458: Italia, Spider & Speciale – Ultimate Full Frontals & a Stealthy Sneak Peek
2014 was also a great year for protecting one of our favorite Italian stallions. The Ferrari 458 has definitely grown into its own, offering the type of model-spec variety any super car enthusiast can appreciate. We got to experience one from every corner of the stable, and more importantly, we wrapped ’em up tight. Early on, a beautiful 458 Spider equipped with Alutex interior trims came through for Full Frontal & a few minimal red reflective vinyl accents. Later in the year, we were visited by a stunning stripeless silver Speciale & a unique Rosso Mugello Spider seeking similar protection packages. The real star of the 458 show is a Stealth install we’re keeping “under wraps” for the time being, but glance at the carousel below or scroll through our Maserati Ghibli wrap & you might be able to figure it out.
Porsche 991 Turbos – Gold Lime & Metallic black
We also managed to get our hands on some fine specimens from the German end of the super car spectrum in 2014. Two of the most memorable picks arrived in the form of the latest iteration of 911 – a Gold Lime Turbo that received Full Frontal paint protection, and a stunning black Turbo S that went big with a New Car Detail, Total Coverage XPEL, plus Spectra PhotoSync window tint. While we’re quite partial to 911s of the air-cooled variety, the 991 is easily the most refined modern incarnation of Porsche’s famous rear engine flagship. Here’s hoping we get to wrap up a new 2015 GT3 RS in the near future!
Off The Record: Audi Avant wrapped with Stealth for Seattle’s very own “Superman” Musician
We can’t share a lot of the details about the owner of this vehicle, but what we CAN tell you is this A6 started out its life with a really, really rough matte black paint job. After having the vehicle completely repainted, it was sent to us for a proper murdered out finish. We utilized XPEL Stealth to protect the brand new repaint, deleted all the chrome with matte black vinyl, and equipped Prestige Film Technologies Spectra PhotoSync window tint for optimal privacy & protection. If you’re ever roaming around “Wes C. Addle” & you spot a stealthy Avant, just look for a small, matte black Superman stye shield graphic on the rear windows with two initials in it. Then you’ll know.
By far & away, one of our favorite XPEL Stealth wraps we completed this year was the Maserati Ghibli “VF.” Stemming from the same realm as other edition emulation wraps that we develop comes our desire to beat manufactures at their own game. It’s all in good fun of course, and we love trying to trend-spot unique vehicle accents & aesthetic ideas before they really take off. The Ghibli wrap exemplified this with the addition of a glossy, dark blue metallic to complement its satin finish, some minimal branded accents, and just the right amount of chrome deletion. The end result was a truly unique take on Maserati’s newest luxury sedan – a vehicle wrap that’s purposeful & would feel right at home out at fashion week!
We celebrated the holiday season a little early this year with so many different vehicle wraps happening almost at once. There had been talk of a brand new Verde Mantis Lamborghini Huracan stalking Seattle U’s campus, and sure enough it was outside our bay doors in no time at all. We came up with a plan of attack before setting to work on a Total Coverage Stealth package, designing some minimal gloss black vinyl inlays, accents, and an aggressive Italian-inspired stripe pack to spice it up. We’ve already had a few fans spot it in the wild & send us photos, so if you see it rolling be sure to hit us with a tag on instagram or post it to our facebook wall!
Similar to our Spectra PhotoSync window tint spotlight, we put together an XPEL paint protection info piece that highlights the benefits, installation procedures, and numerous package options we offer here at the shop. We even included some flashy sliders that highlight every component of our paint protection packages! If you’re in the market for a new clear bra kit or just want to learn more about the potential protection options you have, be sure to give it a quick read through. Chances are we’ll be introducing more in-depth product & service spotlights in 2015, and hopefully even a few video segments.
EVENTS & ADVENTURES
2014 was one of our busiest years on record, so we didn’t make it out as much as we may have liked given everything that was going on. Barret-Jackson showed us a good time down in Scottsdale as usual, and the Red Square Charity Car Show went off without a hitch despite a little inclement weather. While we may have missed out on all the automotive happenings of Monterey Car Week & the madness of SEMA, we still had a ton of fun with catching up with the NW automotive community when we did manage to escape work for a few hours. We’re always interested in collaborating too, so if you have any car shows or automotive events that you would like us to be a part of in 2015, be sure to drop us a line while it’s still early in the year.
It’s always nice to break away from the shop for a few days to experience the vibrant lifestyle surrounding classic & collector car auctions. Barrett-Jackson makes for quite the spectacle every year out at West World, and being able to get right in the thick of it makes it all that more exciting. Between touring the grounds to get a look at every vehicle in stock, crashing the blocks trying to look like a bidder, and throwing guesses out at high-value cars like we’re putting together a museum collection, B-J AZ is always blast. We’ll be heading back down very, very soon, and talk around the water cooler is that our trip might bring some big formatting changes to the way we share automotive experiences on social media. You’ll just have to wait & see!
For the last 7 years, we’ve teamed up with Cats Exotics & SigEp to orchestrate a charity car show benefiting the Progressive Animal Welfare Society. It’s quite a bit of work to facilitate, but as equal parts car & dog lovers, it’s right up our alley. On top of that, UW’s Red Square has got to be one of the most scenic places to host a car show within Seattle proper, so it’s a hard opportunity to pass up. The 2014 show might not have been as big as 2013 due to a little rain that rolled in last minute, but it was still a roaring success and a ton of fun for everyone, spectators & participants alike.
Another one of our favorite local events to attend is the Audi Expo at Griot’s flagship store in Tacoma. For the last few years, we’ve been a show sponsor & supporters of the Audi Expo, posting up with a booth and a few of our favorite Quattro cars on display to showcase some of the services we offer. It’s a day in the sun with some of the coolest Audis from around the area, plus a DJ, food trucks, and even a bouncy house for the kids! There are definitely still a few kinks to iron out in creating the ultimate Audi event, but there’s no doubt that the Audi Expo will continue to shape into one of the NorthWest’s best Quattro-centric meets.
WEB UPDATES & NEW TEAM MEMBERS
2014 also brought about some big changes to the place we call home, both online & iRL. We said goodbye to an old, dated website in exchange it for these polished new digs you see now – among a few other overhauls that happened internally. We welcomed Josh & Tomas to the squad earlier on, and we’ll continue striving to strengthen our team with every passing year!
If you were wondering why our blog post schedule slowed considerably this year & got a little more sporadic, it’s because we were making drastic changes to the website. After kicking around a few possibilities to rejuvenate the old theme, we opted to just scrap it all together & start fresh! It was a bit of a rocky launch given the added pressure of organizing RSCS 7, but it all game together beautifully. We’ve still got a long ways to go before it’s near perfect, but we’ll keep polishing through 2015, improving accessibility & user experience along the way. Notice something out of place or hit a 404? Let us know & we’ll tie up the loose ends ASAP.
The webstore didn’t see as many updates as the website did, but we did manage to slip out an extremely limited production run of new branded t-shirts & hooded sweatshirts. Most of them disappeared quick, finding homes with local clients or friends of the shop, but there are still a very, very small allotment of sizes left online for anyone who might be interested in scooping one. If you don’t want to pay shipping or just want to do local pick-up, shoot us an e-mail with your size & payment info and we’ll do our best to assist. Keep your eyes peeled for updates about new designs & branded apparel in the near future, too!
One of the sleekest new features we added to the website in 2014 was the Google Virtual Tour. Being next door to Cats Exotics means we tend to get a lot of window shoppers peeking in to see what we’re working on. Sometimes, people even just waltz in despite posted signage suggesting otherwise! While we love visitors, it’s important to remember that we are very much a workspace to the fullest extent. Floors can be slippery, cars are always coming in or out, and it gets LOUD. Having a constant flux of tours simply isn’t safe, and thus the virtual tour became a bit of a necessity. Now, with a few clicks of a mouse you can see inside & behind closed doors without risking bodily harm. Oh, and you can seek a peek at the drivers seat of that beautiful blue McLaren 650S too, assuming that’s the sort of thing you’re into.
Many of our clients have come to know our previous office admin Emily on a first name basis. For the better part of last year, she was at the forefront of all things NWAS, spearheading every vehicle wrap quote & scheduling projects like there was no tomorrow. We can’t say enough good things about Ms. Daugherty. Although it was tough to let her leave, we’re happy she is pursuing her aspirations full-time at Microsoft & grateful of the service she showed us. Thank you Emily — take care & come see us the next time you’re in the neighborhood!
Without further adieus, let’s take a moment to introduce our new office admin & dear friend of the shop: Alex Hoover. Chances are you’ve already eyeballed his personal vehicle rolling around the greater Seattle area or aired out on deck at RSCS7 looking like some sort of stance patrol. Don’t let the cop car throw you for a loop though – he’s an automotive enthusiast to the fullest, and we’re excited to have him on board. Be sure to check out our team page for Alex’s upcoming bio & more updates from all squad members as 2015 goes on.
Honorable Mentions & Familiar Faces
It would be a shame to let 2014 slip by entirely without acknowledging a handful of other unique & interesting vehicles we had the pleasure of working, so we’ve assembled them below in an easy-to-view gallery format. Browse through & let us know what car you want to see more of in 2015. Apologies if you were hoping to make the cut & don’t see your car pictured – this gallery would be never ending if we had the time to post all our favorites!
Lastly, there’s something to be said for servicing part of the auto detail market that may have otherwise been neglected. More often than not, first time owners or new buyers are not aware of the way their latest purchase is being treated by a dealership or direct from the factory. That’s exactly why we created the New Car Detail package. It might still seem silly to some of our readers that we push detailing brand new cars as hard as we do, but the sheer amount of New Car Details we completed in 2014 ought to be proof in & of itself that preventative care and protection is vital from Day 1 of ownership. The standard New Car Detail is enough for most, but it’s now fully customizable with auxiliary services for clients wanting to go above & beyond! Take a look at the gallery below for some highlights of the new cars that received detailing and/or paint protection, including Tesla Motor’s latest P85D, the Chevy Corvette Z06, BMW M4, Porsche Macan S, and the McLaren 650S just to name a few!
Well, that about does it for now. Thank you to all of our incredible clients, friends, fans & supporters who helped make 2014 an incredible year of doing business. We’ll be bringing you all sorts of new content in the next month, as well as gearing up for another round of Barrett-Jackson very, very soon.