One of the most important things you can do to guarantee a successful project car buildup is to have a clear idea of the project's outcome. Sometimes describing what you have planned isn't always sufficient, especially when you're working with another shop. Our advice is to spend the money and time to get a visual rendering.
You'll soon find out that seeing your car on paper doesn't always turn out like you thought it would in your mind's eye. Some people have the talent for knowing exactly what they want before they even buy a car, but as we see every time we go to a show, most guys need a little (or a lot of!) guidance to avoid visual "violations." It's the job of these designers to hear what you've got to say, and translate it to an image you can be proud of. A professional artist will help you avoid mismatches in color, texture, or proportion that arise when free-wheeling good intentions go awry.
This is an example of what...
This is an example of what three-dimensional computer renderings look like beneath the skin. This is PHR's Project Talladega drawn by Chris Gray with half of its skeleton exposed. A computer rendering is but one method-freehand drawing and photo illustration are also very common and effective.
Having a rendering done of your project car isn't very expensive compared to the cost and time of buying parts, fabricating, painting, and assembling everything. You might think that having a rendering done is a luxury only for professional car builders or wealthy enthusiasts, but you'd be wrong. Renderings have become a regular stop in the journey of building a car, especially in an Internet-savvy age where guys like to show off their dreams to fellow enthusiasts. The cost of a rendering tends to be proportional to the amount of work in the piece, and the experience or notoriety of the artist. (There's nothing like saying your car was designed by the likes of Steve Stanford, Chip Foose, or Chris Ito-provided you followed their visual direction.) At the bare minimum, if you're looking to just try on a different set of wheels or different paint colors over a photo, it can be done convincingly for as little as $100. In contrast, a custom piece of art that's hand drawn and suitable for hanging on the wall can cost up to $3,000, depending on the number of views you have rendered. Either way, if a mistake is avoided on paper, the fix is always cheaper than on the actual car. Picking up the wrong set of wheels or grafting a scoop you thought would look good can cost you tho in high school usands in parts and labor when a simple rendering for a couple hundred dollars could've saved you from that fate.
A large percent of home-based projects aren't completed the same year they're started. Harsh winters and busy schedules can slow the progress to a crawl. One thing that can keep you motivated is to have the end in sight. When you can see the finished product hanging on your garage wall, you'll gain a little more motivation, and carry some extra inspiration into your build.
Now, we introduce to you some of the guys whose passion is to help you visualize your project and share that vision with others. We've even used some of them-such as Chris Gray, John McBride, Chris Horton, and Eric Brockmeyer-to design recent projects for Popular Hot Rodding. We can honestly say they've saved us from many visual violations along the way! Some of these guys design cars full time, and some do it as a hobby, but you'll see the amount of work and communication it takes to bring something very impressive to the table.