This whole “patina” thing is really starting to get on my nerves. Even the word bothers me now. Some cars have nice paint, some cars have shitty paint. Some fall in between. It’s pretty simple. It doesn’t have to be a big deal. Read on if you want to see me make it into one…
The unfortunate fact is that the auto industry is in love with using buzzwords and “patina” is the big one right now. I’m one of those guys who rarely goes out of my way to make something look “nice” in the traditional sense, so it’s a word that doesn’t mean much to me. If I go to look at a car I might buy, I don’t really pay attention to things like light surface rust or tarnish or any of that stuff. I really just want to make sure I’m getting the right vibes from the car and that I’m not getting ripped off.
That being said, I would never go out of my way to make a car look intentionally weathered. Sure, I may go to some pretty ridiculous lengths to make a car look
shitty distinctive (i.e. cutting off the roof, welding things to the outside of it, disabling the air-ride, all those late night sandpaper-free rattle can flat black paint jobs, etc…) but those types of things are done for the purposes of either entertainment, irony, or entertainment through irony- not to actually fool people into thinking the car is something it isn’t. Besides, in my price bracket, most of the cars already have a nice, natural “patina” to them already.
The thing that bothers me so much about the patina issue isn’t really the idea that some people appreciate cars that look used, I’m all for that. It used to be that I would get upset when people took such great measures to make their cars look weathered. But I have a new pet peeve now.
I’m not talking about sanding down parts of the car past all the stickers and splashing piss on the bare metal or whatever it is that the cool kids do these days to get the rusted patina look. As cheesy as that is, at least it requires the owner of the car to suffer a little tiny bit. Sure, that look might be “in” right now, but what happens in five years when you get bored of driving a rusted little piece of shit and you really just want to sell it and get a street bike, bro? It’s not going to be worth much. So, even as much as I hate the look, I can respect the commitment, or at the very least, the lack of forethought involved. Even the painted-on engine patina that Cameron wrote about is not without consequence. You still have to live with/one day scrape off a bunch of ugly, fucked-up paint all over your engine.
So what’s a non-committal trend hopper to do?
My new buzzword is fake-fake patina. It’s sort of like the concept of Off-Off Broadway, only for cars. Okay, maybe it’s not really like that at all, but hopefully you get the basic concept: The look is not even about emulating an actual time-weathered patina any more. It’s all about patina that is not only “not real”, but is actually “fake” on a deeper level. In other words, I’m talking about a patina wrap. Yes, a patina vinyl wrap. Call me old fashioned, but when it comes to applying fake rust to a car, I’ll take a foam brush from Home Depot over a Photoshop brush from Deviant Art any day of the fucking week. At least the traditional “fake” patina is something that actually becomes a part of the car.
It’s the ultimate chicken-shit move because in the back of your mind you know that you can peel the vinyl off at any time and go back to having a normal truck instead of a Disneyland ride, but for some reason, you choose not to. It’s like having a temporary tattoo of the words “Limp” and “Bizkit” on your arm and not trying to wash them off. In fact, the vinyl is probably protecting the paint underneath and ironically, one day, in the distant future when every other Toyota truck is all rusted and clapped out, you can peel off your wrap and have the cleanest, most well preserved old truck on the road.
Just make sure that’s “the look” before you make the big commitment to take it off.