Of all the performance parts, accessories, modifications, and upgrades you may make to a custom car, truck, hot rod, or racecar, a cover is not likely on your “to-do” list. However, leaving it out of your budget is a bad idea. During your project planning, you should definitely make a car cover one of the must-have items on the build wish list. While most think of it as a luxury, a good car cover is actually a necessity.
Whether your ride is kept inside or outside, a good car cover can go a long way in protecting your investment. To get all the details on how to get the best car cover possible, learn about all the benefits of a well-made cover, and have a first-hand lesson in how to order a custom cover to perfectly fit any car or truck, we went to one of the automotive aftermarket’s largest car cover manufacturers: Covercraft Industries.
Covercraft has been in the business of making high-quality car covers since 1965, and has the ability to produce fully customized covers with all the proper input from the customer. It also offers off-the-shelf perfect-fit covers for the approximately 80,000 different vehicles already pre-measured. So, it’s highly probable that your car or truck is already in Covercraft’s extensive library of patterns.
We have 80,000 patterns in our library, but a series of dimension sheets on our website will help you create a custom cover. – Jeff Jegelewicz
We talked to Jeff Jegelewicz at Covercraft about its custom covers. “The process of measurement to create your own Covercraft car cover is pretty simple, but first, we suggest the customer check out what we already make,” he said.
Jegelewicz continued, “We have 80,000 patterns in our library, but a series of dimension sheets on our website will help you create a custom cover. The dimension sheets show how to do the measurements on any vehicle, even it has modifications, so that we get the right dimensions and measurements from the customer. Those measurements are input into our AutoCAD system and a unique pattern for the new cover is created. That way the cover perfectly fits the customer’s vehicle no matter what shape it is or what modifications have been made to it.”
This custom service is invaluable to the automotive enthusiast. After all, just because you started with a stock vehicle it doesn’t mean the dimensions of the body shape are the same once all of your modifications been performed. We chose two perfect examples of this–a custom 1935 Ford Coupe, and the Dragzine Chevrolet Camaro NMCA Street Outlaws class “BlownZ” dragster, to demonstrate the measuring process involved in ordering a custom car cover from Covercraft.
Even more modified is BlownZ. Although it’s based on a 2002 Camaro, the body has been altered with a large induction cowl hood, a rear wing, and twin parachutes that protrude well past the rear wing and bumper.
We found the online dimension sheets pretty straightforward, but as Jegelewicz advised, “One of the most critical things we stress regarding those dimension sheets is that when taking length measurements, the customer needs to be sure to take the measurements on a straight horizontal line from point to point, and not to measure following the curves or angles of the car or truck body lines.”
“The customer must also be sure to take each height measurement from the ground, not the bottom of the car or truck body,” Jegelewicz said. “We also ask for a body ground-clearance measurement so we can make adjustments from those numbers to the final pattern of the cover for that vehicle.”
Covercraft offers 14 different fabrics for its custom car covers, and the company categorizes them in two basic ways. They are either for indoor use, or they are outdoor covers. The first question for a customer who is asking about which cover would be best for his vehicle is, “Will the vehicle be stored outdoors or indoors the vast majority of the time?”
If the customer is storing the car indoors or in a structure, Covercraft recommends one set of covers, since the customer is primarily looking for dust protection, and possibly minimal ding and dent protection. However, Jegelewicz advises, “Our covers don’t offer a great amount of dent protection, and that’s not what a car cover is really for. Some of our covers are better than others for dent and ding protection, but their main job is dust and dirt protection.”
Within the total of 14 car cover fabrics currently in the company’s product line, Covercraft has five fabrics that are meant for indoor use. According to Jegelewicz, one of the most popular is the Dustop Block-It fabric made by Kimberly Clark. Jegelewicz said, “This fabric has been around for years and is a favorite of rod builders and custom car builders because it has a great reputation for blocking dust, and has a very soft liner on the inside for protecting the fine finish of the expensive paint and clearcoat that is often on these sort of vehicles.”
“The Dustop Block-It fabric is exclusive to Covercraft, and it blocks the dust and dirt because it’s a three-layered fabric. The top is a polypropylene fabric that allows for some strength as well as softness,” Jegelewicz said. “The middle layer is another polypropylene fabric that has some breathability and the inner layer is a softer cloth that protects the finish. That inner-most layer is a cloth with a soft ‘cottony’ type feel, almost like a very fine flannel.”
Covercraft’s outdoor products come in nine different fabrics, ranging from a basic cover that’s usually recommended for use on a vehicle that will be covered for just a few hours outdoors, to a fabric that can protect the vehicle for an expended period of time. This is the main reason that Covercraft wants to connect with the customer–to talk to the vehicle owner and determine exactly how the cover will be used. For instance, if it will be used at the office for a few hours, that’s one fabric. If it will cover the vehicle while sitting for a few days at the airport parking lot, that’s another fabric. Or, if it will be used to protect the car for weeks at a time, that is yet another fabric.
Needs and uses determine what fabric Covercraft will suggest to customers for an outdoor cover. One of the most critical determinants for an outdoor cover is location. If a customer is in the Southwestern or Southeastern United States, then of course sun (UV) protection is very important. If it is for a person in the upper Midwest or Atlantic U.S., where there are a lot of weather problems, Covercraft would recommend a different type of fabric.
Jegelewicz told us “For a place such as Southern California or Florida, we would recommend either our Weathershield HP, the Ultra’tect, or the Evolution Block-It (another Kimberly Clark product exclusive to Covercraft) fabric. All three of these are excellent UV protectant fabrics, and are also very breathable. However, even among these, the choice must include the type of use, as some are more compact than others for storage purposes.”
Both of the covers custom-created for the 1935 Ford Coupe and BlownZ were from the outdoor line and were made using the Ultra’tect material. This cover material offers excellent UV protection, features a highly water repellant HydroMax finish, has superior shape retention, is for outdoor or indoor use, and can be ordered in a choice of four colors.
When it comes to Covercraft car cover colors, Jegelewicz said, “We don’t really have a wide range of color options because the fabrics are made in huge production runs by the fabric manufacturers. The very popular Weathershield HP has eight color options, and the Ultra’tect has four color options. Other than that, it is mostly limited to one or two colors. We do, however, offer custom embroidery and limited logo services.”
Covercraft thrives on its car cover business, but when it comes to the company’s wide selection of other products, Jegelewicz mentioned that car seat covers are big sellers. “The Custom Seat Savers are our second most popular accessory item. At the moment, though, they are only available for trucks and SUVS,” he said.
Surprisingly, the company’s DashMat is the biggest seller of all its accessory products. “Some people don’t realize how much protection from the sun that a DashMat can provide to keep your car’s dash from cracking and fading over the years from exposure,” Jegelewicz said.
The Covercraft UVS100 Windshield SunScreen has also really taken off in the past few years. It’s a custom sunscreen that it goes up inside the windshield, blocking sunlight from coming through. It protects dash and interior fabrics, and helps keep the vehicle’s interior cool during hot weather.
Like A Glove
We spent a day with two Covercraft representatives, watching as they used painters tape, a tape measure, paper and pen, as well as a keen eye, to demonstrate the step-by-step measurement process on the custom 1935 Ford Coupe and the Dragzine BlownZ Camaro. By following these steps and using the dimension sheets that can be downloaded from the Covercraft website and then printed out, we built the beginnings of the custom cover patterns that fit like a glove on these highly modified vehicles.
The comprehensive information we provide in this article, along with detailed photographs and captions included, can help you determine the measurements to create your own custom Covercraft vehicle cover. You don’t need to be in a rush, take your time. As we like to say, “measure twice, write once.”
Complete the process precisely, provide all the measurements necessary, get the information to Covercraft after a consultation with one of its customer service reps, and soon those numbers will be translated into a finished custom car cover delivered to your doorstep.