Wrapping a Jeep

by Jamie Powers, 1963 CJ-3B, Houston TX



Note: The late Jamie Powers wrote this for us in 2009. Jamie sold the Jeep in 2016, and passed away in 2019. -- Derek Redmond

About five months into the restoration of my 1963 CJ-3B Jeep, a friend asked me if I was going to paint it or wrap it. I sell graphic supplies and printers to the sign industry, so it was a logical question to ask a guy who pushes sticky-back vinyl for a living. Anyway, I agreed and after a lot of long nights and few false starts, my good friend and I wrapped my Jeep in vinyl. I have several competitors who had somebody wrap their vehicles, and I thought it would be fun and a good sales tool for me to have. The vendor logos on the Jeep are companies that provided me supplies or help in doing the project.

As found

I bought the Jeep originally to replace a 1946 CJ-2A that my family has had on a country place for over 30 years. I purchased it from a rancher in George West, Texas for $1000. He had owned it for about 6 years. I did not realize the body was in as bad shape as it was -- I ended up replacing or repairing 60% of the sheet metal before wrapping it. I made the mistake of calling it an antique only one time -- it is the same model year as my wife! She is a real classic, just like my Willys.



I have been selling graphics supplies and equipment for around 15 years. I persuaded 3M to sponsor classes locally for small sign shops to learn the proper techniques for installing vehicle graphics. Now the classes are being done all over the country and 3M saw a significant boost in sales. My 3M rep spent a Saturday and Sunday at my house teaching me and helping me apply my graphics.

The adhesive has a glass bead on the surface allowing it to slide until you apply pressure, pressing the beads up into the adhesive. It also has microscopic channels for air to escape. The product comes with a 5-year warranty. You need a decent paint job with automotive paint to get the vinyl to stick. If you don't have a good paint job, it will probably come off or take the paint off if you remove the vinyl.



I used Photoshop and Corel Draw to lay out the pattern. Going rate for printing and installation is around $12 to $15 per sq.ft., so including design this job might be around $2,500 to have professionally done. I used the new HP8000sr printer to output the graphics -- we have been selling it to small sign shops and it's advertised with a graphic on the hood (100K JPEG).

Mossy Oak provided me their new Brush pattern for the background. Their website says, "Created specifically by the hunters at Mossy Oak for open country hunters, Brush provides perfect concealment in western range-land, mountain foothills, and open cropland areas. Varying sizes of brush and native plants make up the foreground of the pattern, and transparent reflective shadows are strategically layered to maximize the three-dimensional effect of the pattern."



I spent around 6 hours laying the design out. Three hours to print it and then it took two of us 12 hours to install it. A lot of areas require two people. You tack the leading edge and use a squeegee to press the vinyl to the metal. When you have to go around curves you use a heat gun to soften up the vinyl to stretch it. You can also use heat to shrink it when you have stretched it too much. All the external hardware needs to come off before applying it -- headlights, mirrors and so on. The tailgate was the most challenging -- it took close to two hours alone to do.


The dogs

The Brush camo pattern was designed for this area. I installed an aluminum hunting seat. One side for a spotter and the other side a dog crate. Put the Jeep in low gear and head cross country into the wind. The dogs are trained to run back and forth 20 to 50 yards from the Jeep and point when they smell quail. We found 14 covies of quail over the day and half we hunted.

See also a photo of me with Steve Childers in his '64 3B (190K JPEG) at the the first gathering of the Houston Area Flat Fenders Group in summer 2007.

My wife is thinking about starting a support group for women whose husbands are rebuilding CJ-3B Jeeps. My kids and I have been working on mine for a little over 8 months and my wife is ready for it to be done. I do have a Koenig Winch and PTO to rebuild and install. They will probably have to wait until next fall! -- Jamie Powers

Thanks to Mossy Oak for letting us wrap this page with Brush.

Note: Jamie sold the Jeep in 2016, and passed away in 2019. -- Derek Redmond

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Last updated 6 July 2009 by Derek Redmond redmond@cj3b.info
All content not credited and previously copyright, is copyright Derek Redmond