The hand-engraved Civic that’s more than a 5,000-hour piece of art
Scratch art lives mostly in the toolbox of grade-school art teachers as a way to demonstrate how etching can create images as subtle as drawing or painting. But for self-taught engraver Shawn Lisjack, an old high-school scratch art project became the inspiration for a fully realized piece — this Honda Civic, covered from bumper to bumper in detailed engravings. He calls it the world's first fully hand-engraved car; I call it the Sistine Chapel of bodywork by Dremel.
Like the Sharpie cars, Lisjack's Engraved EG car started as a fairly pedestrian ride, a 1992 Honda Civic VX hatchback. Lisjack told me after picking up engraving in 2007 and playing with various materials, he realized he could recreate a scratch-art surface using painted metals: "I wanted to create something that was truly unique and 'one of a kind' that the world has never seen before."
More than three years ago, the Honda was upgraded with a few custom carbon-fiber parts, then painted with a white primer and a black top coat. Using a Dremel with a diamond-bit drill, Lisjack then set out to hand engrave the entirety of the body, integrating Japanese-themed designs, company logos and freestyle layouts to fill in between.
Lisjack estimates he's spent 5,000 hours slowly removing layers of paint, and the amount of detail on pieces like the dragon-themed Seibon hood that took 600 hours alone back that up. (Click the photo to see what I mean). It's not just the surface; Lisjack has engraved the valve covers, strut towers and other pieces of the Honda that can withstand a bit of drilling. The car isn't complete; Lisjack says there's still engraving to be done. "I will be adding color within the hand engravings to make the engravings pop. After that, the car will be clear coated to help preserve the engravings and finally a clear bra protection film will be added to protect the car from getting rock chips and other damage."
The total amount of time Lisjack estimates he will have spent when he's finished: 6,000 hours. "I like to push myself with each and every hand engraving I complete," he says, and it's hard to see how Lisjack will ever top this.