Laurie Slawson
March 1, 2005
Photos By: Jim Smart

During the '68 model year, Ford offered an exterior C-stripe as part ofthe GT and Sprint equipment packages that accented the sweeping designof the side-body sculpture. What many of you may not know is areflective C-stripe was available on the GT models with the purchase ofthe Reflective Group option, which also included special reflectivepaint on the styled steel wheels. Available C-stripe standard colorswere black, blue, white, red, and gold; reflective stripes could beordered in all but gold. Whether you're doing a concours restoration oradding a little visual excitement to your daily driver, C-stripeinstallation is easily done in your garage.

Stripe Installation

For Project KISS, our budget '68 Mustang hardtop, it was decided a blackC-stripe would offer a sharp contrast against the Candyapple Red paint.Mustangs Plus provided us with the stripe kit to do the job. There aretwo different ways to apply a stripe kit. We followed the manufacturer'sinstructions to align the stripe, use masking tape to hold it in place,peel off the adhesive liner, and press the stripe in place with thesqueegee provided. however, a much easier way to do this is to putstripes on wet with a soap and water mix. Mix a few drops of liquiddishwashing soap in water and put it in a spray bottle. Wet the surfacearea and the stripe down with the soapy solution. This will allow you tomove the stripe into place for easy adjustment. Any air bubbles can beremoved with the squeegee. After about 30 minutes, the protective layerwill be dry and can be peeled back easily.

The C-stripe decal kit consists of vinyl stripes, a protective cover,and an adhesive liner, which must be removed carefully to avoidstretching or tearing the decal. Use your fingernail to separate theadhesive liner from the protective cover. Do only a small section at atime as you work with the stripe. For best results, peel the liner awayfrom the stripe slowly by pulling it back on itself, not at an angle.

No matter which technique you use, it is essential to do three thingsbefore you begin applying the stripe kit. First, make sure thefender-to-door alignment is correct, and all bolts are securelytightened. Second, sweep the work area around the car to remove any dustor dirt, and, if possible, water down the floor to control the dust.Third, thoroughly clean and degrease the area where the stripe will beinstalled. If your car is freshly painted, you won't need to worry aboutremoving wax. If wax is present, it must be removed or the stripe won'tstick properly. Wash the area with dishwashing detergent to remove thewax. Finally, even on a new paint job, degrease the area before applyingthe stripe. Either a naphtha- or alcohol-based cleaner will do thetrick. An excellent product for this purpose is Grow Automotive's 1705Grow Super-Klean, which is a naphtha-based product that is available atmost auto paint stores. Super-Klean is safe on all paint types, and itremoves grease, wax, and silicone. All you do is wipe the product on,and, while it is wet, wipe it off with a clean cloth. be careful not totouch the areas where the stripe is going to be placed as the oil fromyour hands could cause a problem. The wearing of latex or nitrile gloveseliminates this concern.

A final comment about stripe kits--this is one product where it isrecommended you buy a reproduction kit, such as those carried byMustangs Plus. Many people have paid a lot of money at online auctionsand elsewhere for N.O.S. kits, only to find the stripes crumble as theyare unrolled; they are discolored; or they won't stick because the gluehas deteriorated. There really is no benefit in using an originalC-stripe kit, even on a concours restoration.

Quarter-Panel Segment

Begin by applying the C-stripe on the quarter-panel. This is the largestpart of the stripe, which means it will catch people's eyes first. Thealignment of the stripe around the scoop area will determine its balanceand placement down the length of the car. The stripe should followaround the contours of the simulated sidescoop. The wide stripe shouldbe no closer than one-eighth of an inch away from the radius of thescoop. Before peeling away the adhesive liner, place the stripe on thecar to ensure you have the right alignment. Use masking tape to hold itin place where necessary.

Once you're ready to proceed with the stripe application, remove theadhesive liner, starting at the doorjamb with the upper portion of thestripe, slowly working your way around the scoop. Be sure to press theupper and lower edges of the stripe down around the edge of thedoorjamb.

As you press the stripe into place, use the squeegee to press out anyair bubbles, but use only enough pressure to get the job done. Too muchpressure, and you'll stretch or tear the stripe. If you get a stubbornair bubble that won't come out with the squeegee--and you can count onthis--use a pin or point of an Exacto knife to pop the bubble and thenfollow with the squeegee to press it in place.