Big rig customization shop Outcast Kustoms wrapped up filming its first season of its self-titled series, which has been airing on the Discovery Channel’s Velocity Network. April and Kelvin Locklear are the shop owners and stars of the show. They opened Outcast Kustoms in Florence, South Carolina in 2000 and, in 2011, expanded to a second site in Mooresville, North Carolina. Along the way, they’ve starred in CMT’s Trick My Truck and appeared in Speed’s American Trucker and Travel Channel’s Outrageous Rigs.
In Mooresville (used in production of their show), Outcast Kustoms occupies a 44,000-square foot facility. The graphics room alone measures 5,000 square feet. Outcast Kustoms employs fifteen people during the filming season. April is the lead designer, working with two other designers to complete the graphics. The remainder of the staff handles vehicle customization along with graphics production and installation.
To handle the additional production needs for their new show, Outcast Kustoms brought in a Roland SOLJET XC-540MT 54-inch printer/cutter with metallic ink. “The SOLJET is fast and reliable, and the sparkly silver ink is great,” said April.
Fans of the show know that Outcast Kustoms’ biggest wrap was a thirty-eight-foot-long RV wrapped inside and out for the Bristol Motor Speedway to create the ultimate fan experience.
The big controversy depicted on the episode was trying to decide on the design that would work best. “Bristol officials wanted a wrap that would represent both Bristol and the fans,” says April.
To begin the RV’s transformation, Outcast Kustoms sent initial designs for the wrap graphics to the marketing team at Bristol Motor Speedway. The two groups went back and forth for three weeks, discussing a total of thirty-eight unique designs before settling on photographs of actual races. “The key to it all was trying to make the graphics flow from one element to the next,” said April.
Ideas here morphed from nostalgic pictures on the sides to pictures of the track to something that would look like a racecar to something incorporating mountains. It seemed like nobody could make up their mind. “One of our designers brought me an idea early on, and I told him, ‘That’s not even close to what they want. While the officials were still debating, I pulled out our designer’s earlier idea and sent it to them. Of course, they said that’s exactly what they wanted!” chuckles April.
Outcast Kustoms had a total of seven weeks to finish the project—as Kelvin described it, “the world’s fastest restoration for the world’s fastest track.” April did manage to convince Bristol officials to unveil the wrapped RV at their track’s first race of the season instead of the earlier Daytona 500 in Florida, which brought some extra time.
Finalizing the designs alone took almost five weeks, significantly tightening their production timeframe. The graphics were designed in Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator and output to the Roland SOLJET XC-540MT 54-inch printer/cutter with metallic ink through VersaWorks RIP software.
Wrapping the RV inside and out used slightly more than two full rolls of material. Outcast Kustoms ran their SOLJET MT for thirty-six hours straight and installed as they printed.
To make their deadline, they had four people installing graphics inside the RV while four more installed the exterior graphics. “We were still doing the final interior installation as we were driving to the Speedway,” said April.
The first thing visitors see as they enter the RV is a replica of the Speedway’s flag stand. The kitchen area is wrapped to look like a team pit box. Along the back wall of the interior is a nostalgia collage with photos from years of racing at Bristol Motor Speedway. The interior walls are edged with glass sets containing printed photos of Bristol race season winners. There are also graphics representing drag strip towers. The graphics on the RV’s exterior highlight the history of Bristol Motor Speedway and Bristol Dragway, including images of the track during the day and at night.
The finished vehicle was revealed at the Track’s fan event and continues to be a showpiece for the venue. “While this wrap was by far the most challenging one for us design-wise this season,” says April, “I honestly think it came out the best.”
To read more about Kelvin and April’s shop and its TV work, be sure to check out our January 2013 issue!