Project S7 is back again in short order as we build momentum and count down the days to the SEMA Show in Las Vegas next week, November 5th-8th. Last week, focused on the installation of new Series P1 Monoblok wheels from HRE. As you recall, we went with a Brushed Tinted Clear finish on the P101 wheel because we thought it would help make future plans for the exterior all come together. Well… it’s all coming together.
When it came to the look of this car, I knew I wanted to do something different and creative and while I love the Audi Exclusive pallet of colors, I simply didn’t feel the S7 could pull off a very bold or bright color that well…it was just too much car. This left me with the quandary of wanting to make the impact I was looking for, but somehow in a subtle way. The Sportback design of the S7 was, in my eyes, a beautiful one from every angle. I wanted to enhance these natural body lines and curves with something dynamic and what better way to do so than with a matte finish.
There’s no doubt that reaction to matte finish cars can be polarized. Even still, when done right, matte looks fantastic and it is no surprise that you see many super car companies offering matte options and even Audi itself is now offering Matte Daytona Grey and Matte Sepang Blue on specific R and RS models. A matte finish has the ability to take the lines of a car that you love and make them even more dramatic and forceful. However, the problems with a matte finish are also something to consider – matte paint is very cost prohibitive and VERY difficult to maintain. Vinyl can look downright BAD with exposed areas, bubbles, peeling corners, coverage etc. if not done right. There had to be a better way – a way to get the appearance this project car deserved while avoiding these issues. We needed to call a perfect “play” for the exterior “color” and find the perfect team to deliver an A+ install.
Greg Lilly at Underground Grfx in Houston has been the go-to vinyl guy in Houston TX for all things automotive. Greg specializes in vinyl displays, banners and car decals, and as you might have guessed, I trusted him to produce the rear window vinyl logos of all the partners on the S7 project for our upcoming SEMA Show.
In talking to Greg about the window vinyl, he suggested a great grey metallic film from Avery Dennison that would contrast perfectly with what was to come.
Now, I have never had vinyl work or a wrap done on my car personally, so I asked Greg who he would recommend as “the guy” in Houston for a wrap install. Without hesitation he immediately replied “Gabe Garcia at Vinyl Werkz”. That was all it took.
Gabe and I talked shop on the phone for about 20 minutes and I told him about the project and what I had in mind. He offered his ideas and feedback as well and together we agreed that this car needed a dark grey matte finish. We felt this would provide contrast, allow the body lines to pop – without having to do a black finish, so we settled on a shade a bit darker than Matte Daytona Grey called Matte Charcoal Metallic – again, from Avery Dennison.
The results speak for themselves as does the work of Gabe and his crew at Vinyl Werkz. Over 10 days, they literally disassembled the entire car – bumpers, mirrors, door handles, interior trim panels and grills. You name it and it likely came off. Doing it this way is really the only method for achieving perfect coverage.
The finish is flawless, the quality is amazing and the lines of the S7 now seem to jump right off the car. It seems like nuanced lines subtly added by Audi Design are now more readily seen with the fresh matte surface of this Sportback.
Traditionally, matte finishes are just that, dull and lifeless – in a good way. However, as this is a “metallic” wrap you will notice the subtle color change as the light allows the wrap itself to shift – like a liquid metal. Suddenly the entire car has a dark chameleon effect ranging from a variety of shades, light silver to very dark grey.
We now have a Dark Matte Grey exterior…with a wheel finish that can both complement and contrast this choice and even rear window vinyl that can provide subtle contrast also.
For the finishing exterior touch we went for additional contrast by tinting the windows. For this we went with Executive Tint, whose two locations have serviced the Houston area for 22 years. In addition to installing almost anything you can name with 12V power (Radio, Stereo, Radar Detection systems, etc) they provide some of the best window tint services in the area.
I wanted something dark for the S7 – so 20% film all around was the choice. Executive uses Black Max film for its superior heat reflection properties that are much appreciated and noticeable in Texas. Ample time was taken to ensure complete coverage, no lines, bubbles, dust or imperfections were found.
Now, with the “show” portion of our S7 taken care of- I immediately went back to work on the “go” side of things. Tuning, a custom intake and a “world first” exhaust system that has been in the works for 3 months needed to be installed before Vegas…but that is for next time!
As you read this, Project S7 is heading out to Las Vegas for the SEMA Show where we are honored to be chosen and participating in one of the most exclusive and prestigious car shows in the world. The S7 will be on display as a feature car for HRE Performance Wheels. Follow us on our journey to SEMA this weekend as we post pics during out 1,400 mile drive to Sin City via Facebook and Instagram.
Also, early next week on Monday look for a pictorial, that chronicles the S7 Project, and its drive to Las Vegas… and if you are one of the lucky ones with a pass to SEMA, we will also have an update to provide the car’s exact display location so you know where to find it. Finally, if you see our crazy S7 with a blue painters’ tape nose somewhere on the roads heading west between Texas and Nevada, honk, wave – and say hello! Stay tuned!