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How to Install Your First Stripe Kit

Don't Drive Around With A Crusty Chicken On The Hood; Get Gold-Chain Glory When You...

By Jefferson Bryant, Photography by Jefferson Bryant

Installation is only part of the process. There are things you need to know before ordering a kit. There are two styles of SE graphics: '77-'78 and '79-'81. The early SE used an Old English script, and the later SE used block-style lettering. In addition, the engine originally installed in the car makes a difference. The hood Shakers were marked with either T/A 6.6 or 6.6 Litre. The T/A 6.6 was used on cars installed with the Pontiac 400 engines, which have a Z listed as the fifth digit in the VIN. For those who lived in California or high-altitude locations, the Oldsmobile 403 engine notated by a K as the fifth digit in the VIN was offered and marked with the 6.6 Litre decal. The Olds 403 cars are quite rare, with only about 1,200 T-topped Y82 SE cars produced in 1977. You can also have the 6.6 Litre decal with the optional L78 400 engine.

The factory didn't specify a measured placement for the decals, though there are some general guidelines. The hood bird should be centered on the hood, and the Phoenix Graphix decal uses notches in the paper to locate the centerline. The front-to-rear placement is a little different. The tail feathers should rest about 1 inch above the front of the hood. The bumper and fender lines are more generic; these are placed in approximate locations. The rear decklid decals are centered, side-to-side on the panel. The hood Shaker decal should be placed just below the radius of the top and about 1/2 inch past the back of the Shaker (toward the windshield). The double-line striping will take the longest, as there are a couple hundred feet of it on the car.

We followed along with Fred Murfin and the guys at Red Line Auto Sports in the process of striping a '79 Y84 SE Trans Am. The car had been repainted and was in need of fresh decals. The entire process took about four hours. These guys have done quite a few of these jobs, so experience shaves time off a project like this. Expect to take a full day if it is your first time applying decals.

By Jefferson Bryant
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