Nuke My Ride – Tips for Transforming Your Vehicle

Themed vehicles are not required, but why not complete your experience with a Mad-Maxed vehicle to go with your costume and the Wasteland backdrop? Here are some tips for turning that Prius into a desert prowler.


Go to a car parts place,  junkyard, or discount megastore and buy offroad lights, trucker marker lights and chrome horns, a hoodscoop, hood ornaments, magnetic bullet holes, a new steering wheel. Add packs and crates to your luggage racks. Add weapons and guns when you arrive to the event site. (Remember to cover your off-road lights when not off-road.)

Less is More

Removing parts is a cheap and reversible way to dramatically change your vehicle’s appearance. And sometimes the stuff underneath the panels looks cooler than the panels themselves. Take your grill or front end off, take your front fenders off, take your hood off. If you’re going all-out, take your doors off, too – just remember you’re legally required to have a driver’s side mirror.


Weld up or bolt on some new bumpers and armor. Weld or bolt steel mesh to your car. Take some chrome bumpers or grills off a classic beater and make it fit your car. Weld or bolt a Jeep front onto your car. The possibilities are endless!


Go crazy with the flat black, or spray paint some cool racing stripes. Add some wicked car art: skulls, bats, snakes, demons, spiders or scorpions. If you don’t want to ruin your car’s paintjob, try magnets, grease markers, or colored hair spray that will wash off. Better yet, try some tempera paint:

From Paul D.:

A bottle of poster paint and an hour or two of your time, can transform your vehicle into a PA Road Ranger!
Try at your own risk!  WW makes no guarantees, but some of us have had great success with this technique.
Mixing a small amount of liquid dish soap into the paint will make it easier to clean off.
Make sure you use ONLY POSTER PAINT!  Poster paint can be bought at Lakeshore teacher’s supplies.

The Suburban was hand painted in 60 mins with a sponge, and $10 worth of black and white poster paint.

The Land Crusher was covered in masking tape, then painted with a roller for it’s intricate dazzle pattern.

Use brushes, or rags to apply rust or dirt-coloured paint to your ride for a great Wasteland look.
Find photos of rally cars or RW vehicles for decoration inspiration!

More tips from Paul M.:

I’ve painted car parts with tempera paint (you can get big jugs of the stuff at Pearl Art Supplies), and it works great, HOWEVER, red can stain even car paint. I would suggest waxing your truck before painting. If you need to do two coats to make it even, you let the first coat dry, then when you apply the second coat, you just do one swipe of the brush with the second coat. Any more and the second coat will dissolve the first and the paint will streak.

A mixture of brown and white tempera paint applied to a black late-model station wagon using a spray gun.