How And Why Auto Color Trends Changed In The US
In part two of “Why Modern Car Paint Colors Are Kind Of Boring (But Weren’t Always)” We will see that a dramatic shift of auto color offerings and consumer tastes happened in the 20th century–leading to bolder, brighter and in some cases questionable colors.
Post War Auto Innovations Usher In A New Era Of Colors
After WW1 We start to see American innovation shifting less from wartime needs to please the modern consumer instead. A mixture of evolving tastes and paint technology led to brilliant shades being explored. By the early 1920s, We see General Motors working with the Dupont chemical company to create pyroxylin, which can be mixed with pigments to come up with new automobile coatings and even brighter color. Although color options again waned during the second world war, the American public was now hooked on color and after WW2 we see another explosion of color, this time complemented by the WW2 innovation of chrome. Metallic colors are introduced and quickly become an iconic part of the auto history of the post-war era. Likewise, car colors have now become an expression of pop culture in the US–and boy do the 70s show this to be true!
Car Colors In The 70s–An Era Of Radical Change
Just like the country went through some pretty dynamic social and political changes in the late 60s and 70s–so too did the colors on cars. Think the bright colored buses of the Merry Pranksters in the 1960s. Then a rash of earthy-toned brown, mustard, and maroon cars that appeared in the 70s –largely attributed to the gas crisis and a renewed ecological mindset that dominated the 1970s. Every year that is, except for 1976 a Bicentennial year where the popular colors were, not surprisingly, red, white and blue.
So what happened from 1980-until now that shifted auto-colors back to where we see them now–a sea of muted colors and unexciting variations of beige and grey?
We will explore that in the final part of our blog series: “Why Modern Car Paint Colors Are Kind Of Boring (But Weren’t Always)”