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Project Mercedes X-Class. Chapter 2: Wrapping and Modification

If you want your car to stand out from the crowd, there's a lot you can do. In this chapter about my X-Class project, we're covering physical modification with Delta 4x4 products, as well as the wrapping of JWSR Folie & Solfilm with Hexi's products.

Delivery to JWSR Folie & Solfilm in Västerås straight from Veho Bil, with the protective plastic on the seats still on.

Delivery to JWSR Folie & Solfilm in Västerås straight from Veho Bil, with the protective plastic on the seats still on.

After the smooth and professional delivery of my new X350 from Veho Bil in Segletorp, I drove straight to JWSR Folie & Solfilm in Västerås. Normally you would start with the physical modifications, but due to the lack of time we had to start with the wrapping. Most importantly, it is the addition of the fender skirts that should precede the wrapping, as there is a risk that the adhesiveness of the glue will be compromised. So, even though I haven’t had any problems thanks to the professional execution, my recommendation is to do it by the book, starting with the assembly before the wrapping,

The feeling of taking a brand new car, with the protective plastic still on the chairs, and hand it off is special. Joakim at JWSR Folie & Solfilm received the car at his workshop outside Västerås and started working immediately. I had a general idea of a design that would work as a starting point, taking Joakim's thoughts into consideration if something wouldn’t work or if he had a better idea.

My former Amarok was Nardo Grey with the sponsor logos in the back under the actual wrap, the idea being that they would create a relief pattern. Unfortunately, the end result was not what I had hoped for and the logos were not visible enough, but I did like the positioning of the logos. I was also craving a matte black car, something a lot of people were opposed to, claiming that the matte-black-hype died out like ten years ago. But when I saw the end result, I was very happy that I stuck to my decision. Joakim started by covering the entire car with the matte black base wrap. This is a time-consuming task but he’s exceptionally fast, partially thanks to his own inventions, combined with the tools Hexi provides.

After the base wrap, all chrome parts were wrapped in either matte or glossy black. In the industry, eliminating chrome details on a car through wrapping is called "chrome delete". With this completed, work began on the logos on the back of the car. They were going to be shiny black, placed in a row diagonally starting at the bottom of the front doors. To make this as easy as possible, Joakim printed out large sections of the logos, allowing for a hassle-free and precise application.

“The feeling of taking a brand new car, with the protective plastic still on the chairs, and hand it off is special”

My original idea was to wrap details like rear-view mirrors, fender skirts and the grill in carbon fiber. Hexis had just launched a new product called "Forge Carbon", a wrap made to resemble a material that Lamborghini, among others, use for their cars. Instead of weaving the carbon fiber wires together, they are instead “squeezed” together, resulting in a speckled pattern.

As I mentioned, we wrapped the rear-view mirrors and the grill, as well as the B-pillar. However, after some deliberation, we decided to leave the base wrap on the fender skirts, applying only a layer of Xspel’s rock chip protector film. It simply looked better to keep them glossy black. As the icing on the cake, the decals from the Mercedes AMG Edition 1 were applied on the hood, roof, truck bed hatch as well as the sides and rear mirrors.

After JWSR Folie & Solfilm were done with the car, it was time for Keltech Car Interior to sink their teeth into my X-Class. A 40-millimeter suspension lift kit, fender skirts, a bull bar and new rims from Delta 4x4 with Cooper tires were to be added. A modification for the hatch of the truck bed from Black Sheep Innovations was also going to be put in place. To raise a car, you can either lift the suspension or the body. I have tried both on my previous Amaroks and if you are in it for the look and have the time, the latter is definitely the way to go. Especially because you don’t affect the chassis and therefore maintaining the ground clearance, even though the center of gravity moves up slightly. However, if you are looking for higher ground clearance, you should go with a suspension lift. Or do both and if you're looking for maximum results.

On the X-Class, we chose suspension lifting, mostly because raising the chassis is considerably more advanced than on the Amarok, where it is relatively easy. Suspension lifting is even easier though; we basically only had to add washers to the springs to increase their length. One advantage of raising the car is that it allows for bigger tires, but to fit them you have to add spacers as well as modify the wheelhouses, so that the wheels don’t collide with the car when turning. The brand new 20-inch rims from Delta 4x4 were a 2-inch larger substitute to my previous go-to of the same design, the Klassik_B. On these rims, the Cooper Discoverer AT3 all-round tires were mounted.

The modification of the truck bed hatch involved opening it and emptying its contents to make space for the Black Sheep Innovations compartment, providing lockable storage for weapons or, in my case, other non-hunting-related tools. This is where I keep things that need to be accessible, like towing equipment or jumping cables. In addition to the Delta 4x4 bull bar, a lightweight rolltop from ReTrax was also mounted, protecting the contents of the bed from dust and moist.

In the next chapter, I will cover the lights from Vision X, a surveillance camera from BlackVeu as well as a very special roll bar from GoRhino. An engine optimization from BSR Performance for some extra “oomph” and optimized fuel consumption has also found its way into the X-Class. Stay tuned.

Joakim in the process of wrapping the entire body matte black.

Joakim in the process of wrapping the entire body matte black.

With the special tools he keeps on his bracelet, Joakim is capable of remarkable edge work.

With the special tools he keeps on his bracelet, Joakim is capable of remarkable edge work.

From glossy black to matte black. A lot of people tried to dissuade me, but I stood by my original idea because I had a clear picture of the end result would look like, which I knew would be great.

From glossy black to matte black. A lot of people tried to dissuade me, but I stood by my original idea because I had a clear picture of the end result would look like, which I knew would be great.

The rear-view mirrors and other details such as the grill and b-pillars were wrapped in the new Forge Carbon" from Hexis, which mimics the material Lamborghini liberally used in their latest models.

The rear-view mirrors and other details such as the grill and b-pillars were wrapped in the new "Forge Carbon" from Hexis, which mimics the material Lamborghini liberally used in their latest models.

The logos on the back section were placed in diagonal lines in a glossy black wrap on top of the matte black.

The logos on the back section were placed in diagonal lines in a glossy black wrap on top of the matte black. 

Keltech mounting the 40 mm suspension lift kit from Delta 4x4.

Keltech mounting the 40 mm suspension lift kit from Delta 4x4.

In order to perform the suspension lift, washers are used to extend the springs.

In order to perform the suspension lift, washers are used to extend the springs.

The hatch was modified with a compartment from Black Sheep Innovations, allowing for convenient storage of weapons or other items you want to keep accessible.

The hatch was modified with a compartment from Black Sheep Innovations, allowing for convenient storage of weapons or other items you want to keep accessible.

The fender skirts were base colored before they were mounted on the chassis.

The fender skirts were base colored before they were mounted on the chassis.

As the first car in Sweden, I got the brand new 20-inch rims from Delta 4x4 that were equipped with some all-round tires from Cooper.

As the first car in Sweden, I got the brand new 20-inch rims from Delta 4x4 that were equipped with some all-round tires from Cooper.

As the icing on the cake and a novelty, a helipad was added to the roll top, where I can land my drone.

As the icing on the cake and a novelty, a helipad was added to the roll top, where I can land my drone.

From a standard X-Class to something completely different, and incredibly cool in my opinion. That's the result you get when you work with the right people and products.

From a standard X-Class to something completely different, and incredibly cool in my opinion. That's the result you get when you work with the right people and products.

ARTICLE CREATORS
Photographer, Writer
Automotive
I started my photo career when skateboarding. My friend and I liked to take pictures of each other doing tricks. Before I knew it, I was working with Swedish skateboard magazines. After a couple of years in art and photography schools, I established my company, James Holm Fotograf.
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