Whenever you want to revive your car with a custom paint job, or even a fresh coat of paint, you need to figure out how you want it to look, the cost, and what the overall outcome might be like. Most people who go for a new paint job usually do so because of fading or because they want to sell the car, but even then people often go the custom route.
Whether you’re restoring a classic or you want a different look for a new model, just know that a paint job is one of the things that will affect your car's value the most. The cost of your paint job can always vary greatly depending on whether you're going for a basic look or a detailed custom job.
Before you get a new paint job, there's a ton of information you need to gather. Ask for recommendations on which car shops do the best paint jobs, because going in blind might result in your vehicle looking worse than it did before. There's no warranty for a botched paint job.
Doing the job yourself might save you money, but you can also end up botching it, and you'll have only yourself to blame.
Here are 12 of the best custom paint jobs around, and 13 that are royally messed up.
25 Lame: The Watermelon
This car has done a few rounds on the internet and sparked a lot of controversy for all the wrong reasons. The first person to post this said it belonged to his neighbor, then suddenly it was owned by someone's sister, and another said it could belong to someone who works at Trader Joe's in Sunnyvale, California.
While we may never know who the car really belongs to, what we do know is that it looks hideous.
One poster claimed that the car was originally owned by an art major who decided that its original paint job wasn't exciting enough. Obviously, her solution was to turn it into a watermelon. It may have brought some vibrancy to the car, but that's about it.
24 Lame: Mustang Modge Podge
This poor Mustang looks like it has completely lost its identity. This looks like something a kid in kindergarten might have come up with on an assignment involving too many crayons.
You may be surprised to learn that this actually wasn't done by a kid, but by an artist who, by the way, has done this on more than one car along with a number of bikes, scooters and motorcycles.
For the Mustang, she did a yellow and pink number on top of the car's original blue color. She used painter's tape to mask off the areas that she wanted to leave blue. Everything on it is permanent, including the peace signs and hearts.
23 Lame: Aston Who?
When I heard this was an Aston Martin DBS, I almost jumped out of my seat, because it really doesn't look like one. If a classic and iconic car is given a paint job that completely strips it of its original identity and takes away all of its cache, then that paint job, friends, qualifies as a huge fail.
The Aston Martin DBS is a flagship model, so it is supposed to be a showstopping supercar. This is a car with a V12 engine that develops 510 horsepower, and its appearance is usually nothing short of jaw-dropping. This car has an aggressive look, and an in-your-face attitude, plus it can go from 0-60 in just 4.3 seconds.
22 Lame: The Millennium Chevy
The Millennium Falcon is instantly recognizable to all Star Wars fans as the ship piloted by Harrison Ford's iconic character Han Solo and his partner Chewbacca. Its first appearance was in Star Wars in 1977, and it has since been featured in a number of sequels and expanded universe spinoffs as well as being a merchandising staple.
Fans will definitely recognize the Falcon painted across this car, and even if they don't, it's hard to miss the words painted on the windshield. The side mirror is a tiny model cockpit with Han Solo and Chewbacca action figures.
The car itself is a 1974 Chevy Chevelle Malibu classic, modded by a Bill Deacon. Deacon took the dilapidated Chevy and gave it a custom paint job. Just try not to hear the Star Wars theme in your head as you look at this thing.
21 Lame: Ferrari mache
This Ferrari 458 Italia's paint job may look unique, but that's not always necessarily a good thing. Sure, upon first look, it'll definitely turn heads, but do you really want heads turning towards your car if they're also laughing at it?
Imagine how this thing looks when it's dirty, or if (heaven forbid) it gets a couple of dents. Joseph Klibanksy, a Dutch artist is the man behind this extremely curious paint job. Klibanksy is known for his amazing paintings on canvas. His specialties are cityscapes, urban environments, and architectural paintings. Judging by this, his foray into the automotive painting industry may not last long.
20 Lame: The Wild Cat
This Jaguar XKE was literally transformed into a wild cat with this paint job. The finish is really cool, but the concept doesn't work for such a car. In fact, we'll go as far as to say that no car should ever be painted this way.
The Jaguar XKE dates back to March 1961, and anyone familiar with its history knows that this is one of the most important cars ever build.
Instead of restoring it to its former glory, this paint job seems like more of a mockery. The XKE packs a powerful 3.8-liter engine under its hood that produces 265 horsepower. Like the XK120 which was its predecessor, this model was a real masterpiece with deep racing roots.
19 Lame: Confusing Caprice
This customized Chevrolet Caprice wagon was put up for sale online, and the seller says that the body work alone cost him more than $15,000. He apparently invested over $50,000 in the wagon. This begs a couple of questions. The first being why he would spend that much money on a paint job, and the second being whether or not anyone will actually want to buy this.
What's perhaps worse is that he says he would consider a trade for an '07 (or later) Tahoe, Escalade, Yukon, or a '64 or '69 Camaro. Would you give up your Camaro in return for this contraption? The full ad says that the car is a fully customized wagon convertible with six inch wheels, and a rag top, airbrushed candy paint, Lamborghini scissor doors, and - get this - plasma TVs, plural!
18 Lame: Car Map
This car looks like it might have been a map for a treasure hunt of some kind. It'll definitely come in handy if and when the driver sets off on an adventure to find buried gold!
But seriously, if you read the signs closely, there's one that says "Drive Me," another says "Take a Ride" and yet another says "Open up." It almost looks like the layout for a board game. All we need now is a pair of dice so we can roll and determine who gets to drive the car. Maybe it’s a map to Neverland? Whatever possessed this person to paint their car like this, unless it's for some kind of branding stunt, you should never spend your hard earned cash to do something like this to your car.
17 Lame: Bugatti Disaster
When you go for a custom paint job, you definitely want your car to come out looking good. Most people do tend to add little touches to the car to personalize it and make it their own, but the idea is to ensure that whatever you do doesn't make the car look worse than it did before.
If you have a rare model, it's even more important to ensure that you don't mess it up. A Bugatti is a privilege to own, so ruining it with something like what's pictured here is one of the worst things you can do as a car owner. What are those lightning bolts for? Don't even get me started on that shade of blue and that orange interior. I can only imagine the effect this paint job must have had on this Bugatti's value.
16 Lame: Stingray Pizza
Who doesn't love pizza? There's nothing more satisfying than a piping hot, freshly baked pizza straight from the oven, especially when watching a movie or when there's nothing left in the fridge. Pizza is a flat bread with stuff on it, and it's delicious!
Because of how amazing pizza is, over time, humans' love for it has taken on new forms. We've put it on pillows, duvets, phone covers, heck, even Katy Perry wore a pepperoni pizza onesie to the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Before that, she had debuted her cheese and grease themed jumpsuit. This Pepperoni Pizza Corvette is linked to Dan Collier, who brought it to and showcased it at an annual pizza expo. That's the only place it would fit in, otherwise, it's a bad paint job.
15 Lame: Peace Mobile
This is the same person who created the Mustang Modge Podge we described earlier. As you can see, this type of thing is becoming a fad, though thankfully not everyone is jumping on board.
This 1999 Sebring convertible was her first art car, which she dubbed the Peace Mobile back in 2008, as a tribute to her passion for quilting and sewing.
Sadly, the car was ruined along with most of her stuff in Hurrican Ike. She didn't stop there though, and immediately collaborated with her husband to create another "masterpiece." We have to wonder how many of these monstrosities are out there.
14 Lame: Dragon Benz
What a travesty! The Fiat Multipla has always made the list of the top ugliest cars in the world, but this one has to take the cake. There's not much that can be done to make the Multipla look any better, but that shouldn't be an invitation to attempt the first wacky thing that comes to mind.
Fiat went out on a limb on this one. The first generation Multipla is actually more practical than you might think, but what's with the bulge that looks like a muffin top and those bug-eyed headlamps? Add to that multiple colors on each part of this particular car, and you have the ugliest car paint job in the world. Imagine driving around in this car on a busy street! That'd have to embarrass anyone.
13 Lame: Cheetah Beemer
Anyone who has a paint job surely wouldn't want to flaunt it by day, but the cover of night doesn't make this thing look any better. In fact, trying to hide this thing in darkness is almost worse, because anyone who sees it will instantly understand that you're trying to hide it.
There's no way any car would look good in such a paint job, ask Justin Bieber, who tried such a look, though his was leopard print, but he still ruined his R8 with that 'exotic' look. But maybe they do have a point, maybe the car goes faster when a leopard or cheetah print channels the actual animal's speed? Who knows! Please don't copy this, its hideous!
12 Best: Sharpie Supercar
Now this is how to use a sharpie to do a custom car paint job. It makes everything else on the list of the worst paint jobs look like child's play. This Lamborghini Gallardo, a supercar with a V10 engine that produces 542 base horsepower, and runs from 0-60 in 3.6 seconds, is owned by Brett David.
David is a 29 year old CEO of Prestige Imports Motor Group in Miami, who at just 10 years old took over the reins of the company from his dad when he passed away.
He is said to have sold $1 billion in luxury cars, and what a way to spruce up his own with a sharpie paint job. To all car owners planning to go for custom paint jobs, take a page out of this guy's book and you can't go wrong.
11 Best: Golden Corvette
The Corvette Stingray is the latest in the Corvette line and has a big 6.2-liter pushrod V8 engine that develops 466 base horsepower, taking you from 0-60 in just 4.2 seconds. With such immense power in a car, what better way to reward its good performance on the road than by giving it an insane paint job to match?
This Stingray was painted gold which definitely makes it stand out. At the same time, it oozes luxury, and it also tells you just how much you can expect in terms of quality from it. The car only comes in left-hand drive, but you get to enjoy its amazing features including an optional dual-mode exhaust, and rear-wheel drive, as well as a new seven-speed manual transmission, or 6-speed auto.
10 Best: McLaren MSO
When a car like this McLaren 675LT Spider gets a $60,000 MSO (McLaren Special Operations) paint job, you bet the value is going to shoot up as well. This custom paint job is the perfect example of going all out to make sure your car stands out. Why skimp when you can make it look this good?
Aside from the five figure price tag on this paint job (almost like buying a Porsche Cayenne), the color used on this 675LT changes when the car is viewed from different angles, making it sort of a rolling chameleon.
This just goes to show that if you have the cash to splurge on a new paint job, get it done well, and get it done right. There’s no need to try saving money if you're going to compromise on quality.
9 Best: Gold Buick Riviera
Jay Leno is one huge gear head and avid car collector, and very few other people with similar collections can rival his. After a two decade run hosting The Tonight Show, Leno left to start his NBC-produced series Jay Leno's Garage, a show which rightfully showcases the collection of over 100 cars and bikes he keeps in his Big Dog Garage in California.
The cars range from classic pieces to modern masterpieces and supercars, most of which have been restored and well taken care of by Leno and his mechanics. Among them is this gold flaked 1966 Buick Riviera, an old-school custom that pays homage to its historical design. It features a sliced off roof attached three inches lower, big wheels, but the engine is the original 425 cubic inch V8. This paint job took 1500 hours to complete.
8 Best: Tasteful Tesla
This modded Tesla Model S got a custom PPG paint job worth a whopping $40,000. This pristine look may have been expensive, but it was totally worth it. The car, dubbed Zero TS, got a sporty makeover that included a body kit finished in the PPG paint job, and Solar Gard film to protect the car from any scratches or dents while also reducing ultra-violet rays that can make the paint fade.
The final look is one that makes the car look like a performance vehicle, with aggressive bumpers on the front and rear and carbon fiber accents for a curvaceous look. The HRE wheels sport Nexen tires and Brembo (upgraded) brakes, and the interior is finished in red European leather with diamond stitching. A work of art!
7 Best: Bugatti Veyron Custom
Any Bugatti is an expensive car in every sense of the word. From production to the point of sale, the car undergoes quality processes that ensure that what you're get is the utmost value for your money.
Once Veyrons leave the workshop in France, they're shipped to Germany for a paint job. There are 52 color shades available in both metallic and matte finishes. This process takes about a month to complete.
This particular Bugatti has L'Or Blanc custom paint, which is a hand-painted blue swirl dripped on the white layer. Instead of a month, this one takes three months. The car then undergoes an inspection using a magnifying glass to test the paint, and if successful, it is sealed and delivered to the new owner.
6 Best: Two Tone BMW M3
This is a limited BMW M3 edition with a custom frozen gray and frozen black paint job. The delicate matte coat is prone to damage, so customers who want this particular paint job are made to sign a waiver that voids the warranty if they don't maintain the coat of paint in its pristine condition. People love it!
The car was offered in 2012, with the color itself adding about $20,500 to the car's base price.
So famous was this particular paint that the moment it was announced, the 30 cars were sold out in just 12 minutes.
Anyone who has this car has to contend with potential paint job enemies like bugs, bird poop, and plant sap from trees or other stuff like dirt, scratches and dents.
5 Best: Polychromatic McLaren
Former pro-baseball pitcher C.J. Wilson owns this one-off McLaren P1 whose one of a kind paint job turns heads and attracts massive crowds wherever it goes. The supercar has a wild and exotic Cerberus Pearl polychromatic paint color, which makes it really exclusive, and definitely has an effect on the value of the car in general.
Wilson, an avid photographer and gear head, went on a ride in his McLaren, taking photos in the Grand Canyon and every other place he visited, which to him seemed overwhelming what with the crowds demanding selfies and asking questions wherever he stopped.
The P1 was unveiled in 2013 at the Geneva Motor Show and packs a modified 3.8-liter V8 twin turbo engine, plus an electric motor that produces 176 horsepower, with an overall 903 horsepower output. The car runs from 0-100 in just 2.8 seconds with a top speed of 350 km/h.
4 Best: Candy Red Alfa Romeo
In what seemed like a pet project to Faisal Huda, the owner of this 1969 Alfa Romeo GT 1300 Junior transformed his dream car into a bespoke mod painted in deep Candy Apple Red. Huda always loved cars. He had a favorite yellow toy car growing up, which sadly got lost.
Later on, fate led him to this car and it was love at first sight. This car reminded him of his parents' story about how he lost his little car, and he says it was like finding his toy again 34 years later.
The car was in its original state, but not suitable for fast road use. He sent it to the UK, where Alfaholics upgraded the car's mechanicals, engine, and gave it an interior refresh with contrasting stitching, Alcantara and leather surfaces.
3 Best: Posh Porsche
Jerry Seinfeld, a renowned comedian, is also one of the best known collectors of the Porsche car brand. His collection is worth millions of dollars and it once included this new Porsche 997 GT3 RS, until he sold it.
The car's paint job is what caught the attention of many when he posted it on his Instagram profile. The paint-to-sample he ordered was a Liquid Chrome Blue Metallic, the only one of its kind, which means he was the only one with such a paint job in the whole world. Something like this can cost up to $100,000. This stunning color has 9 layers, at a price tag of $64,000 (optional), which is essentially the price of a new Porsche 718. A paint job like this is guaranteed to help the car appreciate value.
2 Best: Wonder Wraith
This Rolls-Royce Wraith oozes opulence with its gorgeous petrol blue chrome paint job finish. The Mansory-made-over Rolls-Royce Wraith is fitted with a forged 22-inch set of wheels, dressed in Vredestein 265/35 rubber, but what stands out is the multi-spoke design and unusual tires.
The two tone paint job features a bespoke petrol blue chrome finish on the car's upper side, with subtle-colored accents on the interior. A body kit with front apron, side skirts, roof spoiler, and rear bumper is found underneath all the glitter, with a lip unit on the boot lid. The car's twin-turbo V12 6.6-liter engine also got an upgrade, taking it from 108 horsepower to 740 horsepower, leaving the 0-100 km/h mark behind in just 4.4 seconds.
1 Best: Magnificent Mustang
Fans of the SEMA automotive show will definitely recognize this car: the vicious, tuned up, 1965 Ford Mustang that develops 1,000 horsepower. The car was a showstopper (and still is) at the SEMA show among the modded Mustangs, with a complete rework done by Timeless Kustoms.
The car is a blend of old and new, what with a 5.1-liter V8 engine from Ford Performance, Precision turbochargers, a Magnuson TVS supercharger, and MagnaFlow exhaust system.
Other awesome features are its custom roof and modded body mounted on a customized Art Morrison chassis. The paint job creates a stunning effect that restores the Mustang's glory with a red interior and custom dash for a completely awesome Mustang that gear heads will talk about for years to come.
Sources: jalopnik.com, autoevolution, carbuzz.com, roadandtrack.com, petrolicious.com