‘Personality’ is a big part of being a petrolhead. Yes, speed, style and – let’s be honest – a bit of extravagance is always good. But above all else, a car needs charisma. Judging by some of their latest creations, Chrome & Carbon believe so too.
Based in Dubai since being established in 2007, Chrome & Carbon specialize in automotive body kits. But this isn’t a spare parts bucket and a quick re-paint kind of operation. There’s considerable more effort involved than that.
Crankandpiston recently paid a visit to the company’s workshop in Al Quoz. Company President Ali Thani and Sales Manager Sameer Arshad greeted us with handshakes at the door before giving us the tour of the company workshop and walking us through the process.
Every new car through the doors receives its own unique design in-house. The team then transforms the vehicle to meet this design by affixing their own handmade panels. Not a single element of the original bodywork remains if it is alien to the concept.
“We design everything from zero by ourselves,” explains Sameer. “This business is the first in the world: nobody has it and there’s nothing that comes close to it in terms of design. It’s completely original. Sometimes we have clients who just need certain parts installed, but others want their car to be the only one in the world. Some are even prepared to pay a premium for us never to produce the body kit again!”
Accordingly, perfecting each design is critical: it’s much more than moving ‘this’ to here and tweaking ‘that’ to match this. Each project follows a ‘theme’ tailored to suit the respective car. Recently, for example, the team completed restyling a Chevrolet Camaro, codenamed the ‘Guyver’, which was inspired by a Transformers-esque Japanese cartoon series of the same name. One of the team’s other big projects is a Chevrolet Corvette, codenamed ‘Stealth’.
“A lot of the Corvette design was inspired by fighter jet planes, so that’s where we got the idea for the name,” says Sameer (Ali by this point has disappeared to answer the phone). “Often we suggest to the client that it’s better to go for a paint scheme that matches the style of the body kit itself, and often we don’t go for darker, more aggressive colours. But for the Corvette, we wanted the colour to be [reminiscent] of a stealth plane. And the yellow brake discs…well, actually, they were inspired by the Lamborghini Gallardo. Again, sleek, stealthy.”
Such concepts take time to perfect, and it can be several months before the design is finished. Once the customer has given their seal of approval, work begins on fashioning the individual moulds for the bodywork. The first set creates the ‘theme’, and once these are finished, a second set is moulded to ensure correct alignment between the panels. Once again, such painstaking attention to detail can take up to several months.