Best Unique Vehicles of 2012

These innovative designs command attention.
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FIRST PLACE
Fabricator
Great Big Signs
Kyle, TX
(512) 796-4041
www.greatbigsignsinc.com
Designers
Devon Hanna
Lynn Wilkerson
Doug Lyons
Installers
Lynn Wilkerson
Tim Vanderwell
Abby Wilkerson
Marcario Delarosa
Katy Edwards
Client
The Melting Cone/Austin Scoops
Like a mad scientist in his lab, Wilkerson delivers yet another mind-bending vehicular sign from his austere shop near Austin, TX. These mesmerizing graphics were produced to enhance The Melting Cone’s presence at this year’s Austin Ice Cream Festival. The design team crafted the motif using CorelDraw X4, Photopaint X4 and Fine Cut plotting software. To create a balanced look, the same imitation-gold 1Shot® lettering enamel that decorates the ice-cream sculpture also covers portions of the truck. The truck’s paint scheme, which was applied with an Iwata dual-action airbrush, also includes swirls of pink, mint-green, chocolate and caramel-brown.
To create contrast to the vibrant paint colors, Great Big Signs installed bright-white, vinyl letters as a graphic base. To create the second layer, Wilkerson cut Oracal 751 cast film on a Mimaki CG-130 FX 2 plotter. He and his team of skilled artisans fabricated the cone and ice-cream dollops from Ureshell hardcoated-polystyrene foam. A welded-steel armature secures the 3-D elements to the truck surface.

SECOND PLACE (TIE)
Fabricator
Compelling Signs
Tucker, GA
(678) 580-2452
www.compellingsigns.com
Designers
Jeremy Townsend
Jennifer Osiek
Jason Schrampfer
Installers
Nathan Engelke
Scott Lokker
Client
Ale Yeah!
The customer wanted this vehicle wrap to promote his craft-beer business, and this should certainly help it brew new customers. How can you not have fun inside a car with a beer barrel on the roof and a wrap that features a hand from above bestowing a tankard to a Friar Tuck-style character? Schrampfer designed the rooftop barrel, which he and Osiek cut from ¼- and ½-in. PVC with a CNC router. Fine details were applied with a Dremel tool and jigsaw, and the piece was held on the car’s roof with neodymium magnets with soft-shoe covers.
After the car was prepped with Primer 94, the shop executed the wrap with 3M’s Controltac air-release media for the body, and Clear Focus Imaging’s ImageVue perforated media for the window. Compelling Signs printed the wrap components on its Roland SolJet Pro III XJ-740 printer with Solaris Eco-Sol Max Life inks.

SECOND PLACE (TIE)
Fabricator
FastSigns #507
Culver City, CA
(310) 390-8104
www.fastsigns.com/507
Designer
Confidential
Client
Nestle/Event Connections
Best known for chocolate bars, Spree, Laffy Taffy and other confections, Nestlé wanted to boost its Wonka brand (a namesake of Willy Wonka, the kind, but enigmatic, character who first appeared in Roald Dahl’s 1964 book, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory). A colossal truck wrap with a logo-clad, 3-D topper will undoubtedly turn heads far more effectively than a garden-variety Mister Softee truck. Franchise owner Clint Ehlers and his team printed the wrap with 3M Controltac with Comply film on its Epson Stylus Pro GS 6000 solvent-ink printer with UltraChrome inks. 3M’s 8518 glossy overlaminate will keep the wrap vibrant to inspire the imaginations of kids of all ages.

THIRD PLACE
Fabricator
EchoMedia
Oklahoma City
(405) 568-9802
Designers
Eric Roth
Steve Colton
Michael Roberts
Installers
Eric Roth
Marc Gregg
David Woodmansee
Steve Colton
Christopher Hobart
Clients
Love’s/Oklahoma City Barons
Love’s Travel Stops, which operates more than 350 tanker trucks, wanted a clever way to showcase its trucks’ redesign. The company enlisted EchoMedia to craft a wrap that presents a scaled-down depiction of the semis for the Zamboni operated by the Oklahoma City Barons, a minor-league affiliate of the NHL’s Edmonton Oilers. Roth said, “Wrapping a Zamboni is tricky. There are many sharp curves and dives that require extra attention. Also, it was about 25 years old and in pretty rough shape. It took lots of spray paint to conceal rust and color the ice blade black. To give the wrap a snug fit, the installers removed every part they could get a wrench around.”
Most of the wrap comprises yellow Oracal 970RA cast wrapping film, which matches the primary color of Love’s trucks. For areas that needed extra color pop, they used Arlon’s 4560 GTX air-release, calendered film. All elements were printed on the shop’s Roland DGA XC-540 and XJ-640 solvent-ink printers. Arlon’s Series 3220 glossy overlaminate protects the wrap.