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Published June 13, 2010, 12:14 PM

Minnesota man covers his '86 Oldsmobile in carpet

BRAINERD, Minn. (AP) — When Ron Jannette cares for his car, he uses a touch-up tool most people wouldn't think of — scissors. That's because his vehicle, a 1986 Oldsmobile wagon, is covered — nearly every inch of it — with indoor/outdoor carpeting.

By: RENEE RICHARDSON, Associated Press

BRAINERD, Minn. (AP) — When Ron Jannette cares for his car, he uses a touch-up tool most people wouldn't think of — scissors. That's because his vehicle, a 1986 Oldsmobile wagon, is covered — nearly every inch of it — with indoor/outdoor carpeting.

A neat little square indicates where the gas tank cover resides. Tidy strips of carpet cover the luggage racks atop the vehicle. Even the hubcaps are carpeted, right down to the lug nuts.

Jannette said that can make it a little more complicated to change the wheel but it's not too cumbersome. The Brainerd resident came up with the idea years ago when he wanted to cover some rust on a previous automobile. He tried working on the rusted areas with paint but found it did little to help. So he thought why not use carpet. His first foray wasn't as successful as he hoped. He covered a red Ford Fairmont with red carpet. Over time the sun did a number on the carpet, turning it pink.

When Jannette got the Oldsmobile wagon, he promptly envisioned it carpeted again, choosing a shade that matched the tan car's original color and interior. There is little doubt it's an eye-catcher of an automobile as it travels around Brainerd. Jannette said people often stop and ask him if they can take a photograph of his car. He quietly obliges.

A quiet man, Jannette was born in the Twin Cities and moved to Brainerd with his parents in the mid 1960s when he was in his 20s.

The work to transform the car isn't easy. Jannette measures and cuts with precision. People regularly asked him what he was doing as he worked on the carpet. The work on the Olds took him about a month and more than one pair of scissors. He cut out the door handles and matched the car's curves. The goal is to create a look that fits like a glove. The work requires a considerable measure of patience. A tube of construction adhesive is pasted on the carpet's underside and used to bond it to the vehicle's skin.

"I just thought about it and did it," he said. "I didn't think it was going to turn out that good but it did."

The question he hears the most is about upkeep. How do you wash the car? He uses the car wash stall that let you operate the spray nozzle by hand for a rinse. A pair of scissors takes care of the occasional errant fiber that may pop up after the wash job. A clear spray used as a topcoat was used to give the carpet a shine.

The carpeted car is a regular traveler on area streets as Jannette travels to the 371 Diner for coffee or to see a friend in Barrows or just run errands around town. His biggest complaint about modern vehicles is the sameness in design and color. With his Oldsmobile, Jannette said it's nice to have something that isn't average and ordinary.

As a bonus, Jannette said the carpet provides a protective coating against further rust. He hopes this vehicle will continue to provide for his transportation for some time.

Jannette has already thought about his next challenge — carpeting a bicycle.

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