Have a sticker collection? We'd love to see it | Column

David S.
By David S. Wallens
Jun 5, 2021 | Stickers | Posted in Shop Work , Columns | From the Oct. 2018 issue | Never miss an article

The ingredients needed to make a sticker are rather simple: vinyl, glue, ink and a backing material. Then there’s the magical pixie dust, the artwork that gives a sticker life, value and meaning.

Who among us hasn’t attached something special to a sticker? Exactly: zero.

It’s how we show support, remember events, and tell the world about ourselves. My wife, the runner, has a 26.2 on the back of her Civic Si. The side widows of my 911, I admit, have become a mosaic of vinyl. My friend Phil, a graphic illustrator, just posted a picture of some vintage Apple Computer stickers along with a thank-you. 

Our message board community recently hosted its own sticker exchange. I participated and received an envelope full of sticky vinyl, a mix of car and bike logos save for one showing Minnie and Mickey kissing. (I know, awww.)

A while back I came across some Datsun Li’l Hustler stickers. They’re totally ’60s, showing a cartoon Datsun pickup erupting from a cloud of psychedelic smoke while pulling a most righteous wheelie. The redline tires only add to the effect. I did the only proper thing with them: Posted a photo to Instagram. I wasn’t the only one enamored with the find. 

Should I die tonight–hit by a bus, attacked by a wild pack of chihuahuas, whatever–the detective assigned to the case would only have to open my top-right desk drawer to find my life story. (Please let it be Jerry Orbach, Abe Vigoda or Tyne Daly.) The pile of stickers found inside paints an immediate picture of who I am and what I like. It’s a mix of cars, bikes and music, from Porsche Punx and Condor Speed Shop to Vans and Park Ave. CDs. 

All of us have such a collection–or, rather, collections. Dig through the artifacts on my bookshelf and you’ll find several envelopes stuffed with reminders of places I visited while in Japan: Tokyo Auto Salon, Twin Ring Motegi, Super Autobacs, Ebisu Circuit and more. Somewhere I also have a collection of vintage stickers–lots dating back to the ’70s–and while looking for something here in my office I recently unearthed some from later decades. I think they multiply at night.

Then there’s the other sticker haul that we all own–those that are stuck to something. If you think about it, that’s really allowing each sticker to fulfill its true meaning of life. What’s covering up our toolboxes? Stickers. The lift? Stickers. The garage fridge? Yep, more stickers.

Our weekly live show takes place in J.G.’s shop, which was built by Butch, his father-in-law. The bits of colored vinyl scattered throughout are a testament to Butch’s SoCal hotrodder roots. It’s a mix of sanctioning bodies and iconic American speed shops like Mooneyes, Honest Charley’s and the ever-sneering, cigar-chomping Mr. Horsepower. Sadly Butch is longer with us, but 5 minutes in his shop would tell you a lot about him.

The other day I passed a dark-green Miata here in town. I’d never seen the car before and, obviously, didn’t know the owner. On the front fender was a GRM sticker, though. I’m going to assume that we’d probably have plenty to talk about. 

Have your own sticker collection? I’d love to see it.

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View comments on the GRM forums
Slippery GRM+ Memberand UberDork
5/19/21 11:16 a.m.

As soon as I get home I will post my vintage 80's mini collection ... or what my mom did not throw away. 

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
5/19/21 11:35 a.m.

In reply to Slippery :

Please share. Remember those prism BMX stickers from the '70s? I have a ton of those--like, the full inventory from a shop that went out of business in the mid '80s. One day I need to photograph and share. 

logdog (Forum Supporter)
logdog (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand UberDork
5/19/21 1:18 p.m.

I used up the majority of my sticker collection a few weeks ago on the exposed wheel well in the van. 

Placemotorsports GRM+ Memberand HalfDork
5/19/21 1:34 p.m.
David S. Wallens said:

In reply to Slippery :

Please share. Remember those prism BMX stickers from the '70s? I have a ton of those--like, the full inventory from a shop that went out of business in the mid '80s. One day I need to photograph and share. 

Had a bunch of those that you would get out of the little coin slide machines at the skating rink as a kid

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
5/19/21 1:58 p.m.

My latest sticker project. 

slowbird UltraDork
5/19/21 2:43 p.m.

I'm weirdly hesitant to actually use stickers, like if I stick them to a car then the car will someday go away and I'll lose my sticker along with it. Or the laptop will break and my sticker will be wasted, etc.

That said, I think I'm going to start putting stickers on parts that could be transferred to another car, like a spoiler or something.

Here's some of the ones I picked up recently from OHOAT (I know David will know):

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
5/19/21 3:00 p.m.

Ha, I ordered one of those same stickers. Plus I have Syd's stickers on the M3. 

pirate HalfDork
5/19/21 3:03 p.m.

Well the beer fridge is the target out in the shop.

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
5/19/21 3:05 p.m.

It's a long story, but everyone needs a brick of Vans stickers, right? 

Mr. Peabody
Mr. Peabody UltimaDork
5/19/21 7:25 p.m.

I have a box full of run of the mill stickers, but a bunch of oddball and vintage bike stuff. But here's some car stickers


This is my porting vac. I have different attachments for different size ports. After I sold my first house I drove by one day and saw it at the curb so, knowing how well it always worked, I scooped it. It has to be at least 40 years old and still works great.

These are really cool. The material is like chrome and the individual stickers pull out. 

That's my buddy's Metro on the tech stickers. I set a record in that car


Appleseed MegaDork
5/19/21 7:28 p.m.

Stuck on my kid's head, thanks to some very good people here.

JThw8 UltimaDork
5/19/21 7:48 p.m.

Reminds me of when I took the Merc wagon on BABE8 and everyone kept adding window stickers along the way.


Tom_Spangler (Forum Supporter)
Tom_Spangler (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
5/19/21 8:30 p.m.

This was as of a few years ago. There are more now:

CrustyRedXpress Reader
5/20/21 7:54 a.m.

They really do turn into a visible personal history. I'd love to throw this toolbox away but don't want to loose the stickers!


Purple Frog (Forum Supporter)
Purple Frog (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand HalfDork
5/20/21 8:28 a.m.

Slippery GRM+ Memberand UberDork
5/20/21 8:42 a.m.

Could not find the little box. Its there somewhere, but found one of them:

EricM SuperDork
5/20/21 10:32 a.m.


I work in IT, but here is where we keep our Wiha tools.

flynbryan86 GRM+ Member
5/21/21 6:45 p.m.

First post so not sure if my pic is loading correctly but my sticker fridge can be seen behind the suspended rear suspension. 

crankwalk (Forum Supporter)
crankwalk (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand SuperDork
5/21/21 10:28 p.m.


The toolbox is the only current cluster. Every skateboard, helmet, car, bike, and bass drum head was filled up until I hit 30 though. Ha!

irish44j (Forum Supporter)
irish44j (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
5/22/21 12:12 p.m.

KyAllroad UltimaDork
5/22/21 1:54 p.m.

I had the young men at the last autocross apply a million stickers to the front of the Zoomboni.  Amazon sells piles of band stickers for super cheap.

preach (fs)
preach (fs) HalfDork
5/22/21 1:54 p.m.

I have some all over:

thashane GRM+ Memberand New Reader
5/22/21 3:12 p.m.

corolla2tcte27 New Reader
5/22/21 4:07 p.m.

In reply to slowbird :

I put some of my stickers on magnetic material from Walmart so that I could remove them when I needed to.

Nitroracer (Forum Supporter)
Nitroracer (Forum Supporter) UltraDork
5/22/21 8:46 p.m.

Found a way to display a few in the house that looks presentable.  For trips and Breweries.


hybridmomentspass Reader
5/29/21 8:22 a.m.

Stickers? Yeah I got a few.

Here is the tote I keep them in and then some of the stickers I have. Some. The gf gets 'mad' at the constant buying of stickers, "You need MORE stickers?!"

Most of mine are punk rock. But some from my motorcycling days, some from car stuff, some from random things like college or my favorite soda etc


frenchyd UltimaDork
5/31/21 4:29 p.m.

In reply to David S. Wallens :

Newest sticker is probably 30 years old. 

Mr. Peabody
Mr. Peabody UltimaDork
5/31/21 4:39 p.m.

I could see it needed work so I upped my sticker game on the shop vac



hybridmomentspass Reader
5/31/21 9:08 p.m.

Hope more post here, I love this thread, I love stickers!

stuart in mn
stuart in mn MegaDork
5/31/21 9:34 p.m.

When I was a kid, this was the only sticker that really mattered.  smiley

They were free at any gas station or auto parts store.  I see now they go for 4.50 on Amazon.

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
6/1/21 3:37 p.m.

In reply to Mr. Peabody :

The FMF logo is timeless. 

Red5 New Reader
6/5/21 11:28 p.m.

Tim Suddard
Tim Suddard Publisher
6/6/21 7:11 a.m.

Not a great picture, but in the back ground you can see the sliding door I have been putting stickers on for years.

Floating Doc (Forum Supporter)
Floating Doc (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
6/6/21 11:17 a.m.

I thought that by the time I got around to getting pictures of my old tool box, this thread would have died. 

Stickers from the 80s and 90s. I finally have a garage, with better tools in a much bigger box, but this was all I needed to do an engine swap in the parking lot of my apartment complex while I was in vet school. 


frenchyd UltimaDork
6/6/21 11:23 a.m.

The Newest sticker on that dates from the 1990's. 

hybridmomentspass Reader
6/7/21 6:43 p.m.

I've been stickering up my current toolbox for the past twenty years or so with a bit of everything. Lots of bicycle stuff as that is my day job, plus motorcycle stuff, AE86 stuff, Toyota stuff, car stickers I collected while travelling in Japan, and some of the events I have done as well.


David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
6/8/21 10:42 a.m.

Woot, Cannondale. I still have my early SR400.

hybridmomentspass Reader
6/8/21 6:37 p.m.

This is all I got...for now.


I always get more, I LOVE stickers. I hope this thread lives on and more post up their stuff, stickers rule.


buzzboy Dork
6/8/21 7:15 p.m.

I have a collection and a fear of commitment. I always feel like when I get my car stickers right, something happens and I end up selling the car.

j_tso GRM+ Memberand Reader
6/8/21 9:37 p.m.

Most of mine just remind me that I buy too much crap

the big ones were handed out at races

In reply to David S. Wallens :

Cool! I'd hang on to that one; they don't make 'me like they used to! 
I had both a US-made M400 mountain bike I really enjoyed for a while before selling (and it was yellow/orange!) plus a US-made CAAD X cyclocross bike I loved, rode, and raced for multiple seasons before selling due to a move. Ah...hindsight!

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