We have access to so many car colours today, more than ever before, but why are car colours still so boring?
Nolan from Donut Media goes into depth to explain why cars are so boring in colour today, even though car paint technology is so advanced.
Cars from way back at the beginning of the twentieth century used an oil-based paint that was incredibly expensive and literally took weeks to dry. They got their colour schemes from elaborately painted horse carriages which was fashionable at the time, much like how Jesse rolled with his crazy vinyls on the side of his calliper-less Volkswagen Jetta! However, the paint on those pimped out 1910's cars would fade over time and have to be re-painted, costing a pretty penny once again.
This was recognized by no other than Henry Ford himself and, being one of the first companies to mass-produce cars on a production line, there was no time to wait for paint to dry (so to speak). In response, he developed a cheaper, more suitable and faster drying type paint which was asphalt-based. According to Nolan, Henry Ford was so determined to get a perfect paint job done to his cars, that he requested the painters to paint the cars coming off the production line naked, you know, to prevent any possible hair or dust falling onto the wet paint. However, Henry Ford's newly developed asphalt-based paint would only be available in black.
Relatively soon after, an innovative chemical company named Du Pont got on top of car paint technology. They seriously opened up the doors to produce car paint that includes a compound called pyroxylin, which offers availability in colour. It's also cheap, durable and fast drying.
Then after the future looked so bright and colourful, World War I broke out and people didn't want to have flashy colourful cars. There was even a study that showed that the car colour of choice is directly dependant on what is happening worldwide, such as a war. When times were all good again, the study shows that more bright and colourful cars were sold. Even the richest of the rich would opt to have a car in metallic which, back then, was made by including fish scales into the paint to give it that glittery effect. To put it into perspective, it took 40,000 herring fish to make just 1 kilogram of metallic paint! Really good if you're in the market for a new whip, not so good if you're a fish... however, in later years they replace the poor fish method with metal flakes.
After the bright and colourful 1930's, World War II broke out and, yet again, car colours became much duller with greys, blacks and dark greens. That lasted until the 1950's when the world was introduced to what we now call the "classic" sports cars, these were available in vibrant reds, blues, oranges and the like.
So, now we know that car colours follow trends, even today we notice that white cars are clearly the most popular followed by silver and black.
Take a look at Donut Media's break down as to how and why car colours become boring in certain times and really exciting and vibrant in others.
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