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Examining The Beauty Of Classic Car Pinstriping



Classic cars are beautiful machines, yet there are ways to enhance their appearance. Pinstriping, also known as line art, is a popular method of customising how your car looks. Pinstriping has been used since the days of horse drawn carriages and it soon transitioned into cars. What kind of techniques are there? And is it better to rely on a professional pinstriper rather than doing it yourself?

Things to consider before pinstriping

If you’ve decided you want to get pinstripes, the first step is to decide what colours you want. Pinstripes are usually done in two colours, with the primary stripe complementing the body colour of the car. The second stripe is meant to provide a stylish contrast, so the primary line stands out.


When you’ve picked out the colour, it’s time to prepare your car. It needs to be free of grease, dirt and polish. Any residue on the vehicle can cause problems for the pinstripe paint, leading to a poorly done job. It’s recommended you thoroughly clean the car and wipe it down with a lint free cloth.

What kind of pinstriping techniques are there?

There are three ways to apply pinstripes to your car, with each technique needing a different set of tools.

Stencil pinstriping

For anyone who doesn’t want to pay for a professional pinstriper, you can do the job yourself with a stencil tape. A stencil tape acts as an outline for the pinstripes. To use a stencil, apply the tape to the car and press the tape down firmly. This creates a tight seal to stop any paint from seeping out.


Using a stencil requires a paint brush, so you’ll need to have a steady hand to make sure you get the kind of design you want.


Mechanical pinstriping

A mechanical striper has the advantage of being consistent when it comes to stripe width. By not having to worry about width consistency, you’ll be able to focus on following the contours of the car you’re working on.


Freehand pinstriping

Freehand striping is the most difficult technique, one that takes years of practice. This style has been popularised by masters like Ed ‘Big Daddy’ Roth and Von Dutch, aka Kenny Howards. In the UK, you have artists like Tootall Paul and Neil Melliard.


Going to a classic car show is a great way to find a pinstripe artist. They may be showcasing their work and you’ll be able to discuss what you’re looking for.


Regardless of what technique is used, pinstriping is a wonderful way of making your classic car stand out. To get the best possible look, it’s worth investing in a professional artist, as they have the right kind of knowledge and expertise.

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