December '22

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1 2 G R A P H I C S P R O • D E C E M B E R 2 0 2 2 G R A P H I C S - P R O. C O M a talent for hand-drawn pinstriping and lettering. The dying art not only earned him "street cred" among enthusiast vehi- cle owners but also solid business relation- ships with the highest volume dealerships in Long Island, New York. Years later, Montemurro leaned on his solid reputation to pursue budding busi- ness opportunities south of the Mason- Dixon line. He flew to Charlotte, North Carolina, ever y other weekend for a year before deciding to take the plunge full-time. When it came time to launch a new shop in 1994, affectionately named Monte's, he recognized the industry was evolv- ing. During the heyday era of NHR A, hot rods were mostly pinstriped and let- tered by hand. While a vast majority of cars were still striped the old-fashioned way in New York, Montemurro noticed decal-type applications starting to rise in popularity among shifting demographics down south – though not without pitfalls. Early paint protection film was rigid and finicky to handle, guaranteed to yellow or crack, and "a disaster" to remove, he explains. Today, both vehicle wraps and paint protection film are noticeably high- er quality, wildly popular among diverse consumers, and relatively economical al- ternatives to customize for personal enjoy- ment or mobile marketing efforts. Armed with a foundational background in bodywork and a reputable skill set in

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