Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Arizona Auto Graphics

2011-07-29_18-53-37_884When Gary purchased our Ford Focus Wagon to be our “toad”, he said he was going to spend a little money spiffing it up a bit.  First, he added the cargo carrier (a.k.a. the turd) for some more “cube”.  He replaced the steel wheels and wheel covers with some aluminum rims.  He found a set on Craigslist for the amazing price of $75 and then sold the steel wheels for $50.  The wheels didn’t come with the center hub covers.  The ones with the Ford oval were $20 a piece so he wasn’t about to pay more for center hub covers than for the wheels..  Instead he bought these black vinyl lug nut covers and for the centers he bought electrical breaker box knockout covers at a dollar each and painted them black.  Even with the tire remounting and balancing, it was probably one of the cheapest conversions to aluminum wheels ever.

Next, he wanted some character of the motor home’s paint scheme extended to the car.  He went to two different paint shops that drew up some designs but nothing they produced was at all a grabber.  And the price quotes were $1,000 or more.  So he investigated stick on vinyl graphics and found online an off-the-shelf package that was a reasonable match.  He paid a shop to apply them and we got our car’s “paint job” for less than $500.

Because of the cargo carrier and the graphics, we have hand washed the car ever since.  Moreover, we have the time on our hands whereby we can wash it and do a better job than an automatic car wash to boot.  Well, we got an oil change back in Rapid City, SD.  A part of this package was a free car wash.  We declined explaining that we didn’t want to run our car with its fiberglass cargo carrier and graphics through a car wash.  They countered that their car wash was a brushless system.  So, what the heck, at least it would knock off some dirt without damaging the carrier or the graphics.  Oops, we didn’t account for how strong those water jets were going to be and they wound up cutting our graphics in a couple places.  One small chunk was especially bad and was somewhat wrinkled in the process.

We just let the blemish go as we knew we were headed to Arizona where the graphics were made.  We contacted the owner of Arizona Auto Graphics in Surprise, AZ.  He told us to come by his business and we would see what could be done.  Welcome to the world of internet-based businesses.  His shop was the garage in his house in a very residential area.  There was a layout table, a computer station, a large bed printer and what appeared to be some sort of large size cutter on a bed.  There it was a successful nationwide business operated with a website, a home garage, and the skills of a graphic artist/draftsman.  There still is entrepreneurship in this country.

He patched a new piece into our existing graphics scheme and you never could tell it had been touched.  Gary confirmed that he can and will do one-off designs if anyone out there would like to capture even some small part of their motor home or trailer theme onto their toad or tow vehicle.  Or, as Gary is fond of saying, “doesn’t our car look fast even while sitting still”.  I humor him, even while thinking, it’s a Ford Focus Station Wagon with a turd on the top for God’s sake.  Yeah right, “it looks fast even while sitting still”.

The website for Arizona Auto Graphics is: http://azautographics.com/


  1. I've always liked your car matching the coach and just assumed it was a paint job. Love your last two sentences,

  2. The whole story cracked me up! And reading about your profile, I guess we own a 1988 Winnebago Hoopty...The new one I was going to trade it in for was 2" too tall for my shop..So 8yrs and 48,000 miles later she's a great 'ol Hoopty...

  3. Don't you just love vehicle problems! Repairs are always quoted in thousands, not hundreds.

    Thanks for suggesting Betty's RV Park in Abbeville, LA. It is going to be hard to leave here.