I notice that “wrapped” cars are all the rage in Pattaya. And for some reason it is the more expensive cars, which have a great shiny finish from the factory, that have the matte wrap applied.
What apparently started as a fad among celebrities has trickled down to the well-heeled public, with people ready and willing to pay as much as thousands more for a car that, to an untrained eye, may appear as if it needs waxing.
For fans of the matte look, the finish symbolizes the exclusivity they want, exuding a ‘cool’ factor that sets the vehicle apart from its mass-produced siblings.
And until recently, matte finishes, especially popular in dark colors, have been available in the United States only on the most expensive sports vehicles, such as those manufactured by Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz.
At the recent Los Angeles car show, for example, the Mercedes AMG GT3 and E63S were exhibited in a matte finish. And while Volvo does not offer the finish on factory models, it displayed its top-of-the-line V90 SUV in matte gray at the show.
The matte look does not come cheap, not in purchase price, nor in the time required to maintain the finish. Keeping the finish pristine requires hand washing with special soaps and cleaning cloths.
In the case of a matte finish, that clear coat contains many microscopic hills and valleys rather than a smooth wax-like surface, deflecting light in many directions and making the finish look dull. Without the hills and valleys, the finish would begin to look shiny.
On the plus side, a matte finish does not show swirl marks as a standard polished car would, because the paint is not buffed to a shine. With proper care, it is claimed that a matte finish is as durable as a glossy one.
Using a vinyl wrap is like putting a big sticker on the car. The material typically lasts for six years without peeling, and unlike matte paint, the car can still be put through an automatic carwash without hurting the look.
Prices in Pattaya for a wrap range around 20,000 to 30,000 depending on the size of the car.