Precious metals and cars are not mutually exclusive. There are many stories about a wealthy business person or royal family member sporting a roadster with some non-standard features like a gold leaf coated heat shield for the exhaust (as seen on the McLaren P1) or full gold plating for the exterior (like Tata Motors’ golden Nano micro car).
However, the stories behind some of these cars aren’t all true. For a while now, there have been images of both a white gold Mercedes Benz and solid silver Audi A8 floating around the Internet and popping up in email inboxes. However, the full story behind this has never been revealed. Who owns these cars? Who designed them? How were they built?
Creating a car made of precious metals is no small feat, and you can bet that the metalworkers or auto companies behind it would jump at the chance for all of the marketing and brand exposure. But that’s not the case with these cars – a major indicator that they are not what they seem.
So if these cars aren’t really made of precious metal, how do they achieve that look? There are a couple ways. In the case of the silver Audi A8, a custom polishing technique was used by a German company called Motoren Technik Mayer. Basically, they remove the paint and varnish to expose the car’s bare aluminum frame, then polish it to a high-gloss and apply a clear varnish to protect it. Another method is being used by an auto dealer in Davie, Florida. Rick Case Fiat of Davie is the only dealer in the country offering a chrome customization option for the Fiat 500 Abarth. For an additional fee, the entire car is wrapped with a faux-chrome vinyl cover, giving it a high-gloss silver shine.
It pays to be skeptical when you see these types of pictures on the Internet. Just remember, no matter how rich you are, a car made of precious metals just isn’t practical.