James Hourani, Chuck Henry
Wrapping cars in vinyl started in Europe five years ago and has recently caught on in the U.S. market. Holly Melikoff recently gave her car a makeover and says her Mercedes S65 AMG sedan is now a fashionable accessory. Chuck Henry reports for the NBC4 News at 5 p.m. on Nov. 15, 2012.
In a town that is all about being seen, the latest trend in four-wheel fashion could be called a reflection of the times – literally. Owners of high-end exotic cars are having them wrapped in chrome.
Rappers and athletes have taken to the shiny trend, and even Justin Bieber, has signed on. The pop superstar’s chrome-finished Fisker Karma made headlines in July when he was pulled over on the Hollywood Freeway while speeding away from paparazzi.
Holly Melikoff, who works in fashion design, recently gave her car a makeover.
"The big trend was matte black and now the big trend is chroming, so I’m going to stay up with the trends," Melikoff said.
Melikoff loves her Mercedes S65 AMG sedan. But she brought her $200,000 car to Specialty Car Craft in Los Angeles to have it wrapped in vinyl chrome.
"She wanted a little more bling to it," said Specialty owner Steve Saghdejian. "This is the new trend for 2012."
Wrapping cars in vinyl started in Europe five years ago and has finally caught on the U.S. market, he said.
"We went from matte black now to chrome, from the dullest finish to the shiniest," Saghdejian said.
The process costs about $10,000 and also comes in a red or blue chrome finish. Melikoff said the price is worth it, adding that she sees her car as a form of self-expression and a fashion accessory.
"It's like a hand bag or a new pair of shoes," she said. "You have to get a new wrap on your car like you get a new wrap on your nails."
And just like makeup or an expensive sweater, if she gets tired of the look, she can have it peeled off without damaging the original paint job.
But some consider the mirror finish a road hazard that can reflect the sun into the eyes of other drivers.
Saghdejian responds that a chrome wrap is no more dangerous than chrome fuel tankers. However, Specialty Car Craft requires drivers to sign a waiver, protecting the company from lawsuits.
Melikoff plans to drive her dazzling car at night and can’t wait to turn heads on the Sunset Strip.
"We’ll take it out on Sunset Boulevard and it will be a show stopper," she said. "Everybody will stop and look at it. It will be fun."