Special Event Design

Pimp My Police Car

Brad Hillier from Bay Life Church in Brandon, FL brings us this junker car on their stage made to look like a police car.

This set design was an idea that came out of a planning meeting. Their production coordinator said facetiously, ”We need to have a police car on stage!”

Their big hurdle was obviously the car. They didn’t need a great car or even one that ran, so they called a guy that owns a junkyard. Within a few minutes and for free, they borrowed a non-running, rollable, gold-painted Crown Vic that was headed to the crusher. He didn’t care if they painted it or did almost anything to it, but they’d have to tow it to the church and they were responsible to return it as soon as we were finished with it. The car had been sitting and was full of bugs, had a flat tire, was missing a passenger side door, and had lots of other problems. But the driver’s side looked great. They filled in the missing door panel with foamcore, bombed the car for bugs, pumped up the tire, swapped the other bad tire on the good side for a good one on the passenger side and made a plan to create a police car.

The car was gold. After masking the car off, an air compressor, paint nozzle, and some latex paint was all that was required to give it a police car paint job. They used roll magnet sign shop material to put the sermon series art, black insignias, and door stripe on it and they painted up the rims with shiny black paint.

To set the car on stage, they called a flatbed wrecker company to lift it up to their backstage bay door. They inflated the bad tire and were able to roll it into its place at centerstage. The car looked a little boring just sitting level on the stage, so they jacked up and blocked the inside wheels, tilted it so that the hood and roof were more visible.

The rest of the set was a backdrop made from some framing and galvanized sheeting (available at your local hardware store) that they had used before. They lit the backdrop with gelled par cans to match the colors of the sermon series art and put lights under the car to visually separate it from the rest of the stage.

Finally, their tech guys purchased a police car light kit online and once they had an electronic guru rig the control box to do what they needed it to do, they installed it in the car and ran it during appropriate moments in their services. Other than the towing company charges, the whole project probably cost less than $100. The only annoyance was that they had to re-inflate the car’s tire each week before the services.










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