I’ve long been anti faux patina. The idea of it just seems so dumb to me. If a vehicle has patina, it’s create to preserve and celebrate that. There’s a notion that the vehicle has been on a journey that’s taken it places. It’s made people smile. There’s a story to be told. When you fake that, it’s like the automotive equivalent of stolen valor. That might be a bit extreme, but it’s the easiest way to show how poorly I think of fake patina. And now Dutch designer Niels van Roij is taking it to a new level with oxidized panels for the Land Rover Defender.
This is… not good.
Those trim pieces with a time-worn look? When a Defender rolls off the assembly line, those pieces are plastic. And they’re surrounded by body panels crafted from aluminum. None of this will rust. So what you see here is not only faux patina, it’s impossibly faux patina. To achieve this look the RVJ design team binds metal to the panel and then can achieve whatever look is desired for the finish.
I’m actually for swapping out the plastic bits on the Defender. I think it’s sill that Land Rover put plastic here than stamped it to look like the metal pieces on the older Defenders. Those were useful hood elements that could bear weight. These plastic trim pieces are No Step zones. So for a company to develop a metal-based alternative here is actually something I assumed would happen from the get-go. Just not like this.
You don’t have to make the panel look rusty though, which is good to hear. Neils van Roij will finish it to look like aluminum, brass, bronze, titanium, zinc, and even gold. Some of those will look goofy, but they’ll be much more ornamental and fitting to the vehicle at that point. Fake rust just looks extra goofy. And I hate it.
If you buy a Land Rover Defender, do what you want with it. But if you decide to go with fake rust on your plastic trim, we’re all allowed to shake our heads in disgust. This is dumb. And it’s a shame too because the RVJ design team does some great work. I think those trim pieces on the Defender are definitely ripe for customization… just not like this.
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