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GregLaR

Color Change Effect on Value?

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I see a lot of the earlier cars, when restored to a high level, are painted in bright two tone combinations. Some are attractive while others look a little garish. A good example of this is the 1931 Chrysler CD8 phaeton I posted in another thread. The car is bright, I think it looks good, but far from original. Most sources seem to show these cars were usually painted more sedate and darker shades of maroon, gray, brown, blue, etc. (before you flame me, I do realize there are exceptions to this).

I know with most vehicles from the post war era, at least, original color seems to be a fairly important factor in the restoration process, so I'm curious, when these early cars are redone in these not era correct colors, does that influence their pricing in a negative factor or does it have little, if any impact at all?

Greg

 

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Painting a vehicle in non-original colors is fairly common among non-purists. A purist will tell you that it detracts from the value. It is an extensive thing to repaint back to original colors if already done in non-original colors and that may or may not reflect on the value depending upon the buyer (if selling).

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Many of the cars you show could be painted any color the owner wanted, as they were top of the line cars and purchasers demanded their own colors..................

 

but bright colors tend to kill sales. When I see a white anything, on a Packard or similar expensive car, that too turns me off.

 

Many people like reds and blues. Not everyone is a pale yellow or a mint green person.

 

I have a 31 Pierce with baby blue body and dark blue fenders. The body will def one day be repainted to something a bit less garish.

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I think a well done (quality) paint job appeals to the same number of people whether it is "correct" or not.  That said, some overly loud colors (bright orange, purple, pink) might cut some of the market out.  To many, these old (pre-war cars especially) are so handsome that, as long as the finish is done well, they look good in about any color.

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Posted (edited)

I have made a comment some time ago on period colors, also noted I have color chips ( about 400+) of the 1929-35 era made by Acme that are about 4 1/2 x 2 1/2 inches and list the blending colors. I taught art for 35+ years and also research and write articles concerning automotive history. I am very sensitive to period colors - do you want a period car to look period or will you be happy with a period car that looks like it has "modern" colors on it. In order to get a period "feel" you need to be a bit conservative, the car companies were when the cars were new ( I am talking about pre WWII era cars) Would you paint a house you are restoring , say an English tudor, and see the timber frame work painted orange and the stucco bright yellow? Would you wear a suit in the same bright colors you want on a car.

Re the cars shown, the Chrysler would look totally different if the wire wheels were painted a dark color - dark green for example - wheels are spheres, circles, bullseyes, and in bright colors remain a bullseye. Are you looking at the car or the bullseyes? Also on the Chrysler if the trunk cover were black it would lessen the focus on that ,. add tire covers in a darker color as well. Everyone has an opinion - as to  the other cars shown, to me to look "period" they would need a total color change. Again , everyone has an opinion.....................................To me it is like seeing a really pretty lady with to much makeup on, why?

Edited by Walt G
spelling error hit the worng keys (see edit history)
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I think that it's more of an issue for cars built from the '50's up. The reason I say this, is that's when cars came with data plates. The data plate listed everything including the color that the car had on it when it left the factory. As mercer points out many of the high dollar cars from the '20s and '30s could be painted in the customers choice. It's done today on some high dollar cars. My friend went to Germany to purchase his Porsche and took a tube of lipstick with him in the color he wanted for the interior and they upholstered the car with that color of leather.

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Posted (edited)

Thanks Walt, that is a well thought out reply.

The pics I posted were just random examples.

I've visited the on line Auto Color Library many times and seldom find colors resembling any of these.

So would an award winning full classic lose it's status (or points) if it were painted like one of those shown, rather than a period correct color?

Greg

Edited by GregLaR (see edit history)

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Posted (edited)

As Mercer 09 pointed out, the premium cars of that era

could usually be painted in any striking combination of

colors that the buyer wanted.  Some car manufacturers

offered to paint their cars in the buyer's school colors;  and

the sister of one man I know had a new 1930 Buick roadster

painted pink directly from the factory, to match her

"shocking pink" scarf.  Their father was on the board of

General Motors at the time.

 

There's something to be said for matching a car's original

colors, whether they are to our modern taste or not.  After

all, we're preserving history, not recreating it in our own image.

 

To my eye,  the bright orange Pierce and the purple Mercedes look

horrid, and I think they should be painted those colors only if 

that's what their original buyer chose.  However, anyone offering those

cars for sale today might be significantly limiting the number of

potential buyers.  I'd prefer to see fairly conservative colors,

or a color combination that's clever but still in good taste.

 

 

 

Edited by John_S_in_Penna (see edit history)

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Posted (edited)

Anyone who paints his car a weird/outrageous color inevitably trots out the excuse that the factory would paint the car any color the buyer wanted if he was willing to pay for it. I'm sick of hearing it. It didn't happen nearly as often as the number of oddly-colored cars would suggest today. Not even close.

 

Somehow, I don't think there were many orange/pink/purple/white Packards running around in the 1930s. Yes, it COULD have been painted that color, but I bet it wasn't. Studios and coachbuilders and even the lowliest automakers all had designers on staff who would ensure that the style and color were harmonious, and yes, while you could have thrown enough money at them to make them ignore their better judgement, I doubt many buyers forced them to do so.

 

Painting your car some oddball color combination today can be rationalized in various ways, but that still doesn't make it right. I suspect that many are done that way to make the cars stand out, to make the owners seem unique and to give the some extra visibility in the hobby. "Oh, the purple car? John Smith owns that one." Perhaps some are done because the guy just likes that particular color combination, and an equal number are probably done just because the guy picking paints doesn't know any better and is just making it up as he goes along. None of it that makes it right and you should rightfully expect people to be polarized by the choice, regardless of whether the factory "could" have done it that way. I'm not sure which is the bigger sin: arrogance or ignorance.

 

Resale value is where your choices will hurt the most. Weird colors will probably demand a discount--in many cases, a discount greater than the cost of a repaint. It still doesn't seem to discourage anyone. People will still spend tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars making ugly cars. Not much to be done about that.

 

 

Edited by Matt Harwood (see edit history)
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Yes Matt, I believe it was really the (rare) exception, rather than the rule.

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Matt Harwood is the expert on this, but I'll offer my non-expert opinion: In my experience, the color of a car does have a significant effect on market value -- and the current market favors original or at least period-popular colors for prewar cars.   It seems to me that folks buying 80+ year old cars mostly are the type that favors originality.  To that crowd, a strange or garish color scheme is like putting a Chevy small-block in a Packard.  I wasn't in the hobby then, but I suspect it was a little bit different 40 or 50 years ago, when prewar cars were only 30 or 40 years old and restoration standards weren't what they are now: An old car may have just been a fun curiosity, so a crazy color was putting your own stamp of individuality on things. But these days it seems like originality reigns.  Given the hassle and cost of painting a car over, market values suffer from oddball choices.

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13 hours ago, John_S_in_Penna said:

As Mercer 09 pointed out, the premium cars of that era

could usually be painted in any striking combination of

colors that the buyer wanted.  Some car manufacturers

offered to paint their cars in the buyer's school colors;  and

the sister of one man I know had a new 1930 Buick roadster

painted pink directly from the factory, to match her

"shocking pink" scarf.  Their father was on the board of

General Motors at the time.

 

There's something to be said for matching a car's original

colors, whether they are to our modern taste or not.  After

all, we're preserving history, not recreating it in our own image.

 

It still goes on today: https://www.editorchoice.com/celebrities-cars/2/?ut=ua098

 

Craig

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Hopefully this is not viewed as highjacking, but I'm noticing another area of "could have ordered" but was very uncommon - premium level full size cars of the sixties-early seventies in bright red with aftermarket wheels.  Cadillacs, Electras, big Chryslers and Mercs.  These cars were not typically decked out like fire engines but I am seeing it commonly now.  And they had resonators, not Flowmasters.

 

Sounding like a cranky old fart, perhaps

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43 minutes ago, bryankazmer said:

Hopefully this is not viewed as highjacking, but I'm noticing another area of "could have ordered" but was very uncommon - premium level full size cars of the sixties-early seventies in bright red with aftermarket wheels.  Cadillacs, Electras, big Chryslers and Mercs.  These cars were not typically decked out like fire engines but I am seeing it commonly now. 

I recall GM had optional styled steel wheels that were color-keyed to the main body color, including red.  They were most popular on the intermediate two doors including Monte Carlo, Grand Prix and Cutlass.  The wheels had stainless steel trim outlines that clipped in the cooling slots.

 

Craig

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Posted (edited)

Colors were a big part of the Art Deco era. A lot of the show cars of the time used those combinations. Make that car look like Neon! Once I serviced a 1966 Cadillac convertible that was blue with a red interior. It had a real circus wagon look. A friend and I were discussing it and he said to figure the buyer in 1966 might be 50-60 years old and heavily influenced by the circus wagons he saw at new car shows as a kid. Pretty plausible to me.

My family, going back a few generations, favors black cars with a red interior. As I age and become aesthetically conservative I lean toward black with gray inside.

 

Then you got your guy who stood there shaking his head says the paint chip didn't look like that.

 

Reminds me of the time I was sent to the market unsupervised and was proud of the designer toilet paper I picked out all by myself. Back in the girlfriend days, we were crying from laughing.

Bernie

Edited by 60FlatTop (see edit history)
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Lots of bright colored cars out there when new - but many also were owned by the drive them hard put them away wet crowd.  

 

Try a 1935 Auburn in Neptune Blue and quite a few white ones pictured in era too (all be it white is not color chip in brochure).  

 

We had in the family a 1935 Packard Twelve Coupe Roadster in a blueish turquoise (w/a fine gold metallic flake in it too). 

 

And we had an unrestored 1931 Cadillac 355 V-8 Town Sedan in dark blue with black trim, white pinstripe, and an entirely orange undercarriage including undersides of fenders. 

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There is a very rare Nash being auctioned this weekend down in Mississippi, and the colors are terrible..........so, just watch the results and see if color affects sale price. Same with the 1928 Pierce in orange.........the market will decide.

 

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6 minutes ago, edinmass said:

There is a very rare Nash being auctioned this weekend down in Mississippi, and the colors are terrible..........so, just watch the results and see if color affects sale price. Same with the 1928 Pierce in orange.........the market will decide.

 

My gut is many of the cars could go a little higher than we all anticipate via being 1. Auction, 2. unusual cars, and 3. decent enough condition, but that being said the Nash and Pierce Arrow (plus a couple of the other cars) should all take hits given colors, age of restorations, and non-running (which is my guess as to most of the cars). 

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Posted (edited)

To be honest, I think this auction will be a barometer of the next few years the hobby is headed in. There are quite a few weird, unusual, mostly not chased after cars in the auction. Cars that just don't fit into most peoples idea of "I want that" or "I need that". I expect they will crater into the lower world......IE........sell for very little money. Maybe I am wrong, as there are a bunch of dealers headed out to the sale looking for bargain basement deals.............The Model J, Nash, Tucker, and a small handful of others should do fairly well. Most of the signs are not major league collectibles, they are just wall hangers to keep the place from  looking empty. Best thing that can happen is every car has two or three people chasing it. I wouldn't surprise me that some go very, very cheap............sort of a contest to see who will bail out at 30 percent of wholesale..... we will know in a few days. 

Edited by edinmass (see edit history)
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Color changes are done all the time. We can't loose sight of the fact that what is important is tastefulness. When a chosen color becomes a distraction from the car it does a disservice, on all levels (car, owner and viewer). IMO a builder really has to know what his audience is before choosing a color. There's a fine line between historical correctness, and showing a particular body style in it's best light. Put two identical cars painted differently, on the show field together, stand back and watch how the viewers respond. 

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6 minutes ago, Buffalowed Bill said:

Color changes are done all the time. We can't loose sight of the fact that what is important is tastefulness. When a chosen color becomes a distraction from the car it does a disservice, on all levels (car, owner and viewer). IMO a builder really has to know what his audience is before choosing a color. There's a fine line between historical correctness, and showing a particular body style in it's best light. Put two identical cars painted differently, on the show field together, stand back and watch how the viewers respond. 

 

That's a very good point. A color change by itself isn't a bad thing (except in certain circles where people lose their minds--Ferrari and Mercedes-Benz guys, for example) but the change has to be period-correct. For instance, the Buick Club allows a color change as long as the color you've chosen is on the color chart for the model year of your car. If you want to mount the case that they could have or would have painted it something else, well, you'll need to bring some paperwork if you want your pink 1941 Century to win an award.

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Posted (edited)

Here's an example of a slightly "out there" color that is also correct and original to the car -- my 1949 Cadillac in chartreuse.  In 1949, Cadillac only offered the color on convertibles, and after a few months they dropped the color offering because few people wanted a color that bright. I think it looks really cool, and my sense is that the market actually gives the chartreuse convertibles a slight boost if they are original to the car (color code 21).  And if not, at least it's not a demerit.  But I get a lot of questions about the color, and it's not to everyone's taste.

 

1397943692_ScreenShot2019-04-25at12_50_01PM.png.b115cbc3c0c52c8c8b215d80600d786e.png

 

ETA: More on the chartreuse '49s here.

Edited by 1935Packard (see edit history)
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I like a pretty car o whatever color it's done in.  If I was wanting a judgeable car maybe I would like bland better.Buick@Parkers.thumb.jpg.da5d1109c967f7f7960af97e0a093ec4.jpg

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Our A roadster will eventually get painted maroon.  Very questionable if this color was available on that body but its really attractive so I figure market impact is a wash.  For the scads of As out there most are not fine point cars, certsinly not ours.  😆

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