Rust adds a certain kind of charm to older cars. When it’s just a little harmless surface corrosion (as opposed to terminal structural rot), the brown stuff adds character. You’re likely not looking for that kind of thing in a brand new car, but regardless, one company seems to think there’s a demand for it.
Heritage Customs, part of Niels van Roij Design, has developed what it calls a “unique metal binding technology” for its Valiance (based on the new Land Rover Defender) and Vintage (based on the old Defender). “Through spraying a thin layer of aluminium, brass, bronze, titanium, zinc or even gold is applied, which then assumes the same flexibility as the parent material and will hold its qualities for 20 years,” the press release notes.
Once that’s applied, it’s possible to give it either a brushed, polished, sanded or oxidised finish. It can be coated to stop it from rusting any further, or left alone to “let the natural course of corrosion start”. If the customer goes for the latter, they can stop the natural oxidisation process at any time and seal it that way to preserve forever.
For the Defender seen in these images, the customer opted to give the side vents and the chequer plate bonnet inserts given a rusty treatment. If you want, it’s also possible to do the same to the wheels, dashboard trim and door inlays. A company representative told us the team “might look into the possibilities of branching out in the future to other makes and cars” with the technology.
Although this is the first time we’ve heard of a company pre-rusting components for a new car, preserving rust and patina is already a thing for older motors, with numerous companies offering such a service. Icon, for instance, will lock in the weathered appearance of your restomod Ford Bronco, if you’d rather retain the unique character. Along similar(ish) lines, Porsche lacquered over the dirt and expired rubber that coated its ‘Pink Pig’ 911 RSR after winning the GTE-Pro class of the 24 Hours of Le Mans a few years ago.