Fiat scion Lapo Elkann recently educated me on the cost of customizing a car. It turns out that changing a vehicle’s look is not nearly as expensive as I though – if you keep things simple. But if you want something exotic you better have a lot of money in the bank.
Those were the takeaways from my recent meeting with Elkann, who last year founded Garage Italia Customs, a Milan-based company that specializes in custom bodywork, paint and upholstery.
Elkann, whose great-great-grandfather Giovanni Agnelli co-founded Fiat, told me that changing the exterior of a car via a partial wrapping with a special foil costs as little as 500 euros while a full foil wrapping costs 5,000 to 6,000 euros. One example of that full wrapping is the camouflage Ferrari 458 Elkann is seen with in the photo above.
If you want a custom paint job get ready to pay between 5,000 and 15,000 euros.
Things get really expensive if you want to change the car’s interior
“The sky is the limit,” Elkann said.
He noted that a customer could easily see costs rise to 300,000 euros if special treatments were chosen such as a carbon fiber instrument cluster wrapped in marble and a handbrake lever with the same finish as a samurai’s katana sword handle.
How many people spend that much money to customize a car? More than you might think. The car customization sector is worth an estimated $93 billion a year.
Editor's note: A previous version of this story confused Lapo Elkann's great-grandfather and his great-great-grandfather.