As we move further into the future and computers get more precise, we find that it is less common for builders to practice the art of pinstriping. Although hot rodding isn’t commonly associated with the word “art”, it really ought to be. From top to bottom, every build is an expression of some sort. And pinstriping is a method that really captures a particular feeling with a range of subtle and intricate designs.
Don’t believe us? Well, we scoured the internet to find some of the most eye popping work to change your mind. If you’re in the middle of a project and considering leaving pinstriping off the table, we urge you to keep reading.
Flaming 1929 Ford Model A Roadster
Out of the gate, we need to say it: early hot rods and motorcycles are really what make pinstriping shine. That’s why this 1929 Ford really speaks to us. The era is perfect, the styling is classic cool, and the pinstripe design is timeless. Frank Norwood wanted to put together a car that really evoked the feeling of his glory days in the 1950s. We say he knocked it out of the park.
With tasteful upgrades that convey power and style, the roadster’s striking lines are greatly enhanced by the handlaid pinstriping. The cascading flames down the sides are classic hot rod but are accomplished in a way that isn’t too over the top. And the intricate scrolling on the trunk is an elegant touch. One that suits a vehicle who’s nickname went from “B Bone” to “Goldfinger”.
Sharpie Pro-Street Camaro
Sometimes the best results come from stepping outside the box. Chris Dunlop, a highly skilled artist among multiple mediums, is also a talented pinstriper. But he doesn’t go about his work in a traditional fashion. Dunlop uses Sharpie markers to create clean and edgy designs for commissioned vehicles. This isn’t simple doodling on cars, though. Dunlop’s art is deeply intricate, featuring a complicated mix of flowing and rigid designs in bold and thin lines.
Check out this Pro Street Camaro. On its own, the car is already a perfect blend of beautiful and aggressive. Add in Dunlop’s amazing details, and the ride gains some serious ‘tude. Makes you see a black marker in a whole new light, huh?
Eye-Popping Salt Flats Racer
While pinstriping may often be found on street cars and bruisers, it pops up in many other environments as well. Take Rick Harris’ work for example. “Tricky Ricky” got in to pinstriping back in 1969 when his father refused to cosign on a new Z-28 Camaro. Harris made the best of the situation by personalizing a more affordable VW Beetle instead. A blessing in disguise, he’s gone on to enjoy a long and successful career in pinstriping, applying his designs to everything from motorcycles, cars, and trucks to guitars, helmets, and even leather jackets.
Check out Harris’ examples here and pay particular attention to the salt flat racer halfway down the page. The smooth exterior and glass-like paint make the car look like a speeding bullet, even at a standstill. But truly, without Harris’ pinstriping, the body lines would all blend together, rendering the vehicle shapeless and dull. Harris’ touch ensures that the racer’s natural curves can really pop, reinforcing that this car was designed to do more than just look good.
Inside Out Red Flathead
We often think of pinstriping as being reserved for a vehicle’s exterior. And indeed, it’s often found as a singular design on a flat panel or used to accentuate body lines. However, the design style is more versatile than that. Take, for instance, the Ford Roadster that the guys over at Hot Rod Surf got their hands on.
The outside of the vehicle boasts its fair share of impressive pinstriping, but since the exposed engine is very much a part of this ride’s overall appearance, these artistic enthusiasts laid some sweet designs on that, too. A daring stylistic choice to be sure, but well worth the investment of time and skill.
Model A Hot Rod
Model A’s are big cars with equally big, wide-open panels just begging for the magic touch of a pinstriper’s brush. And that blank-canvas potential is only magnified if the vehicle in question is painted a sleek, midnight black. Hamilton Design Company knew this when they took on the task of hand pinstriping such a ride.
Sure, the hot rod was cool (if not a little bland) before they started. But once pain brush met body paint, it was transformed. And the craziest part? All the work was done in front of an audience at the Cleveland Autorama in 2017, proving that even the most precise computer can’t win over a crowd like the trained hand and keen eye of an artist.
This may conclude our two-part coverage of the “Dying Art of… Pinstriping,” but there’s plenty more where that came from. We want to hear from YOU! Dig up those old pics and share with us in the comments section. Who knows, maybe your art will be good enough to hit The Engine Block Facebook page…