PPF Projects: The 2023 Chevrolet Corvette Z06

The first production model of the 2023 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 rolled off the line at General Motors’ Bowling Green, Ky., Plant in November 2022. And it didn’t take long for automotive enthusiasts to seek protection for their new 670 horsepower beasts. Just two months later, in January 2023, Finishing Touch Detailing and Paint Correction in Maryville, Tenn., got to work on a Torch Red model of MotorTrend’s Performance Vehicle of the Year.

The 2023 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 packs 670 horsepower.

Owners David and Hope Francis, lead paint protection film (PPF) installer James Burger, shop manager Zach Roberts and lead paint correction tech Daniel Herman all contributed to the project. The job took six days with two days of pre- and post-prep work. Applicators installed XPEL Ultimate Plus PPF and a ceramic coating post-PPF installation.

David Francis, who used a Roland GX640 Camm-1 Pro Series 64-inch plotter for all of the panels, says, “The front bumper required 15 pieces of PPF alone. I stopped counting pieces of film after 50.”

PPF: How much of the car did you install PPF on?
James Burger: All of the painted panels, with the exception of the rear bumper, were covered in XPEL Ultimate Plus PPF. The rear bumper was not covered because XPEL’s Design Access Program (DAP) does not have a rear bumper pattern, and the customer did not want to risk cutting on paint for a bulk installation. We placed rear splash guards behind the rear tires in the meantime until a full pattern is released for the car.

PPF: What tools did you use?
James Burger: DAP, XPEL Ultimate Plus PPF, a black squeegee and a small blue angled squeegee; Roland plotter, two five-gallon tint kegs (one with slip, and one with tack); and race ramps to elevate the vehicle and plenty of lighting.

The 2023 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 in Torch Red.

PPF: How did you decide which elements to tackle first?
James Burger: We typically install front to rear. This was how I was trained, and I continue to do so. I start with the front bumper or sometimes the hood first.

PPF: In terms of installation difficulty, how would you describe this installation?
James Burger: Some of the Z06 panels are similar to other C8 Corvette models. However, some panels, such as the front bumper, have been given a more aggressive look and sharper angles. There are sharp edges near the vents on each side, which makes wrapping them very difficult. In DAP, I modified the pattern in several places to get maximum coverage. DAP only had a Z07 Performance Package front bumper which is similar. The more aggressive front bumper proved difficult, but as more Z06 models come through the shop, we fully expect to have our installation methods perfected.

PPF: What were the difficult elements of the installation process?
James Burger: Difficult aspects of the installation are tacking the PPF on to fresh paint, debris control and it being an unfamiliar vehicle. Our process is similar to every other vehicle we work on because we get awesome results with it. We systematically clean our PPF bay, remove all badging, wash the vehicle, use a clay bar, wipe each panel with isopropyl alcohol and then plot and weed the pattern. Finally, we apply PPF at the front of the vehicle and work our way to the rear.

PPF: Can you share tips and tricks for those tackling the car for the first time?
James Burger: Tips and tricks are extending the PPF edges in DAP along the front bumper and around the vents for maximum coverage. For the most part, all panels were pretty simple.

Please contact me at ccollier@glass.com if you’d like to participate in this new series. And check out the series’ first two entries below.

PPF Projects: The 2022 Toyota Tundra

PPF Projects: The 2022 Ford F-150 Raptor

PPF Projects: The 2022 Ford F-150 Raptor

The 450-horsepower 2022 Ford F-150 Raptor is one of many shiny toys rolling into paint protection film (PPF) shops these days. Former National Hockey League coach Mike Babcock brought his truck into Lingenfelter Auto Spa in Brighton, Mich., for a PPF project handled by installer Matthew Celotto and 22 pieces of XPEL Ultimate Plus PPF.

I look forward to covering a variety of PPF projects in the future.

WF: What would you compare this vehicle to in terms of installation difficulty?
Celotto: This truck was fairly simple. I would compare it to a Ram TRX—simple but time-consuming and awkward. The height and width of the truck cause issues with the ability to reach parts comfortably.

WF: How does this truck rank against others, difficulty-wise?
Celotto: This is one of the easier trucks to install [PPF]. The hood is made easier due to the hood scoop towards the back, allowing you to feed film there to reduce the amount of tension you need along the front edge. The bumper is much easier than any other trucks the big three [Ford, General Motors and Dodge] make. It doesn’t have any deep valleys and is much less convex towards the edges compared to the regular F-150, Rams and Silverado/Sierra.

WF: What was the most challenging part of the installation?
Celotto: The most difficult part for us was the fender flares, not because they were super hard but because of the harsh valleys they have surrounding the side markers. It made installing film on them very tedious and time-consuming. On this Raptor, the owner had the flares and hood scoop painted and color matched after the fact, which means we had to make sure there was little to no tension on the film in the valleys of the side markers, mainly because we risk pulling the paint. So in this situation, we laid the valley with no tension as far over the radius as we could then cut a relief and persuaded the film throughout the rest of the flare where we had more surface area for the film to bite to reduce the chance of the film and paint failing.

WF: Can you share tips and tricks for those tackling the truck for the first time?
Celotto: Your biggest issue will most likely be dirt management. When we installed the film, we removed as much as we could. We removed the fender vents, which pull off unbelievably easy, and we removed the hood vent.

WF: Did you plot or hand-cut for this vehicle?
Celotto: I did a mix of both. On the bumper and more intricate/small pieces like the headlights, grill and mirrors, I used the kit, but the hood was completely bulked. The fenders and flares were customized kits that we edited to get the coverage we wanted.

WF: What tools did you use?
Celotto: MMM X-Style large and medium squeegees; spray tank from Dirty Tools; NT Cutter Pro; 30° Carbon Blade (Japan NT); electric spray bottle from Amazon; and a Fusion Pink Clean Squeegee.

WF: Which sections did you tackle first?
Celotto: In order—hood, fenders, front fender flares and then the rear, mirrors, headlights, grill and bumper

Please contact me at ccollier@glass.com if you’d like to participate in this new series. And check out the series’ first entry below.

PPF Projects: The 2022 Toyota Tundra