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Paint colors. There has to be an easier way to do this.


Dwight Romberger
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Hi All,

I need some friendly advice.

I would like to paint a 1922 Buick speedster I am building the color of the car in the picture.

Low budget single stage paint. I will shoot it.

Without trying to sound obsessive compulsive, I would like to paint it this exact color.

I have looked at online color charts until they are showing up in my dreams!

What is the best way to determine this color?

Thanks,

Dwight

perfect color.jpg

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 If you have access to the car in the pic. you can have it scanned with a camera that many auto paint suppliers have that will give you the "closest match possible".

 You could take the pic, to the store and see if that would work and have them mix up a pint and you can spray it out and decide if that is close enough.

 

 Online color matches are not close enough for a match

 The paint stores will have master color chips arranged by color and different hues that do not necessarily go to any certain car.

 

 The paint store should have spray out papers that are black and white. Spray the color until you no longer can tell the black and white areas. It may take 3 or 4 coats.

 Take them out into the sunlight for best viewing.

Edited by Roger Walling (see edit history)
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A standard burgundy like that shouldn't be hard to find. Whatever you get may or may not be an EXACT match, but who is to say what you are seeing on your computer is how the car looks in person anyway? Nobody will be able to tell the difference, including you. Based on the photo, that car is (or was) at Streetside Classics--you might drop them an E-mail and see if they know what color it is. Often with a hot rod like that, the builder will take a color from a late model and knows the name. Streetside does a pretty comprehensive questionnaire with their sellers and if the seller knows the name of the paint, they may have recorded it there.

 

You can also look through other car images until you find a burgundy you like that is identifiable. That car in your photo doesn't look to have much metallic in it, and if you're doing single stage I'd recommend you stay away from metallics anyway. A shiny deep burgundy should not be hard to find at all. What about Ford Maroon?

 

1936-ford-5-window-coupe-beautifully-restored-original-light-fast-maroon-1.jpg

 

Or 1965 Mustang Vintage Burgundy?

 

38-3-798x466.jpg

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with due respect to paint chips, old formula books, and photos - forget them.

Is the color a special effect like metallic or pearlescent or Xirillic?

If not, you can use a spectrophotometer to get an excellent match - provided it's not metameric (depends on viewing angle)

If special effect, it's a skilled visual match, and make sure that includes different lighting and viewing angles.

This is based on decades of how OEM parts are matched to paint standards - a typical vehicle has a number of colored items either painted elsewhere or matched by incorporation of pigment.

 

All spectrophotomers are going to read the standard about the same.  the difference in the match will be what pigments that paint company offers and has characterized.  The software "overlays" the spectral curves (essentially the colors in a pigment) until the combination is a close match to the standard.  Note I said close - "exact" is not a word that applies in measurement.  So close that you can't see the difference is a real thing.  In a simplified version, this is how the paint department at a DYI does it.

 

Matt's advice is as usual practical - find a current color you like, or if you have access to the car in the photo get the info or a borrowed piece to measure or use as a standard.  Since you are neither matching adjacent panels nor an OEM standard, you have some leeway.  Reds are typically pretty translucent.  the color you see may also depend on the primer color underneath.  Somebody here with more expertise than I in painting can comment on that.

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Cars look different on computer screens than in real life.  They also look different in the sun vs. under light.  The only way to get a car the exact color you want is to take a sample to a body shop and tell them to match it and order the paint for you--if you can find one to do that. 

Edited by 39BuickEight (see edit history)
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I agree !  provided 1) they have someone with a good enough eye (color discrimination varies from person to person)

2) they look at it under more than one lighting, or match under the lighting you specify, for the reason you give 3) they look at the "travel" and "flop" - the change with viewing angle, since the car's surfaces are at different angles

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I sampled the color in Photoshop, though every spot on the car produces a different answer because of the lighting.  I averaged three spots to get RGB values of 69,20,15 for a computer screen close match.  This converts to a Pantone color of 45140F, though I'm not sure which paint company would mix paint to match.  As several people have said above, matching on a computer screen is not a real life match.  Here is your photo with a rectangle of RGB=69,20,15 overlaid.  In CMYK color space, the values are 0,71,78,73.

 

 

paint color match Romberger.jpg

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Thanks everyone for all the great ideas!

I think I will try them all:

 

Matt, I will contact Streetside Classics and see if they have a record of the color.

 

If that fails, I will try to track down the owner of the car (or another one that looks like the same color to me)

 

I will also visit an auto paint store and look at chips and/or the Sikkens color bank.

 

Gary, thanks for your work with Photoshop. I really appreciate it,

I do not know anything about Pantone, but my wife was a big time graphic artist. She will know.

Maybe Pantone will give me a starting point to match auto paint colors with.

I did have success searching for  RGB=69,20,15!!!!!

Google says it is 23.3 miles off the northern coast of Norway in the North Sea!

 

BTW I do not want to use any metallics or pearl. I want it to look as close as possible to  a period paint color.

Thanks again,

Dwight

 

 

 

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8 minutes ago, Dwight Romberger said:

 

BTW I do not want to use any metallics or pearl.

 

The car in the picture looks like it IS metallic!

 

Are you painting something pre 1928? Because that was when metallics were introduced.

 

No, they did not look like a Bass boat or drum set, but they were paints with aluminum flake embedded.

 

Back 20+ years ago, Sikkens had both metallic and non-metallic color books.

Edited by Frank DuVal (see edit history)
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Matt has a good answer and Gary did a great job with the photo shop. That 37 Chevy was most likely photographed under fluorescent lights - those lights will distort colors . When I was in college as an art major and had a painting class, what I painted at home in natural light looked totally different when viewed in the college studio under fluorescent lights!  Acme was a paint supplier in the 1920s-30s era and had paint chips that were about 2 1/2 by 6 inches  , much easier to match a color to now and there are scanners that can do that as mentioned here as well. Most of the period paint samples are postage stamp size and you can't get a good color match on something that small. I am currently trying to match up some colors now from the 400+ Acme samples I have for a friend who owns a restoration shop and is restoring a friends sedan. If you find a color you like spend the $ to have a quart mixed, then have a separate piece of panel painted in it so you get a sample at least 12 x 12 inches to hold up against the car , if you like it order the rest of the paint .

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I was seeking a deep blue for my Metz, and I ordered several rattle cans of touch-up paint online from one of the specialist dealers (like www.automotivetouchup.com). They list the colors by model and year. This was cheaper than purchasing a quart from the paint shops. This would only help with your project if the color was used on another car.

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Bryan the paint chips are marked on the back with the year and make of car they go to by the ccmpany and all makes from Reo to Packard, to Hupmobile etc are represented. I do not doubt that the colors are correct as I have seen these colors ( on unrestored original paint cars) . They just aren't paint chips that say on the back the name a paint company gave a color. They are very specific and if you compare say a dark blue among a variety of makes there is all a little difference between each example. This is not just a general guess on my part - I taught art for 35+ years, studied color, and have been researching and writing about automotive history for 50 plus years. I do not make statements lightly.

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I know you understand color  Walt, and acknowledge your experience- I understand and agree that the original colors were distinct and specific.  I'm saying that even if the chip originally matched the car finish  (and the typical paint company chip books often do not), paint "weathers", even as  a chip.  So the color of the chip today can be different from the color of the chip when it was new..  With best practice of storing a metal panel spray standard  (not a color book chip) in an envelope (no UV) in climate controlled area, this can be reduced, but it is a measurable effect.  The shift can be at the 0.2 delta E level a typical person can see.  A color expert like yourself may see 0.1.  As you know, certain pigments are more sensitive than others.

Also, the "OEM" standard is not typically made by them, and not always by the paint company that supplies the assembly plant.  I have seen cars coming off the line which don't match the standard - discovered because the off-line painted parts (matched to the standard) did not match the car. The above is all based on supplying color-matched materials for a few decades

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The exact shade really doesn't matter if you are not matching a panel. I was at a Buick show where three of our 55's were Cherokee Red. They all looked correct and all three owners swore they had matched the paint perfectly. We parked them side by side and then decided to separate them before judging because they were ALL slightly and noticeably different..........Bob

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How about the Black Cherry color used on 1951 Studebakers?  

 

You can always have a shop mix up a small quantity of paint, even have it put in a rattle can, and spray it on an old door or fender from a junkyard.  That's better than a small, flat panel for judging how it will look on a car.

 

 

paint-1951_Studebaker-Black_Cherry.jpg

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I have paint sample books covering cars from 1949-1985, Sherwin Williams, Ditzler, CIL, etc. Maroons, Browns, Reds galore, a million different shades and names. Your color does not suggest Maroon to me based on a quick look at the dozens of Maroon variations, looks more brownish red. In 1983, S-W shows GM had an "Autumn Maple", A-3433075-Y and Dark Carmine, A34-30086-Y. If you wanted a real GM color close to this one you picture, the S-W QpexFleetx book for 1948/9 shows GM colors "Wiltshire Maroon Code#902", or "Commercial Maroon Code3933", and Mikado Maroon Code#802" and for 1941/42 they had "Rex Maroon, code 142&242". I suggest you look for an old time paint shop who might have older period paint catalogues, the chips are usually perfect, been kept out of the light, and will give you too many colors to choose from. Would be nice if you could tell future admirers that it is an original period GM color. JMHO.

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Gary-Ash, I looked earlier at S-W's book and specifically the 1982-83 GM Truck color called Black Cherry, #A-34-32350-Y, appears darker on the color chip than you show, but a nice color. I guess the Cherries get darker as they ripen. The OP photo has more of a Terra Cotta tone, red/brown/orange. 

Edited by Gunsmoke (see edit history)
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If you don't find that EXACT color, you'll never know anyway. Close enough really is close enough. Check this out:

 

Two Montero Red 1966 GTOs that have won multiple trophies at the national level:

 

001.thumb.JPG.e45c66feddf86b7bd430c58a6d23936c.JPG

 

001.thumb.JPG.a4113844ca5254d438b605dde09a7f7e.JPG

 

Next to each other, however...

 

2043514021_20190905_1330391.thumb.jpg.d26e3e3da52658f6a33fcb10a342a1d7.jpg

 

So don't sweat it if you don't find that exact color. You will never see the difference, especially since you're going off a photo in a studio on a computer. Find a burgundy that's pleasing to you and run with it. The eye isn't sensitive enough to notice the difference unless that Chevy somehow ends up parked next to you at a show.


Good luck!

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2 hours ago, Gunsmoke said:

Gary-Ash, I looked earlier at S-W's book and specifically the 1982-83 GM Truck color called Black Cherry, #A-34-32350-Y, appears darker on the color chip than you show, but a nice color. I guess the Cherries get darker as they ripen. The OP photo has more of a Terra Cotta tone, red/brown/orange. 

 

This is 1995 Chevrolet Impala SS Black Cherry:

 

015.thumb.JPG.5eaa00f961380d5f68b0b4a48f02bb0e.JPG

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18 hours ago, Walt G said:

Bryan the paint chips are marked on the back with the year and make of car they go to by the ccmpany and all makes from Reo to Packard, to Hupmobile etc are represented. I do not doubt that the colors are correct as I have seen these colors ( on unrestored original paint cars) . They just aren't paint chips that say on the back the name a paint company gave a color. They are very specific and if you compare say a dark blue among a variety of makes there is all a little difference between each example. This is not just a general guess on my part - I taught art for 35+ years, studied color, and have been researching and writing about automotive history for 50 plus years. I do not make statements lightly.

 

To add to What Walt said.

 

I have some of the Acme White Lead and Color Works paint chips from the early 30's that were so common at dealerships.  They are make specific, and they have the mix proportions on the back of each card.  I've have had a few opportunities to match them to original paint on unrestored cars of the same make.  Problem being is those pigments are tough to translate to modern paints. 

 

I have worked with PPG's color lab a number of times by scanning an original, or custom mix color that pigments are no longer available for. So far, they do a very good job of coming up with an exact match  formula to the scans using their modern pigments, .... if a matching formula is not already in their extensive color library.

 

Pictures are some of my Acme cards, front and the matching backside.

 

Paul

Spring 1931,1.JPG

Spring 1931,2.JPG

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5 minutes ago, mike6024 said:

OP likes the brownish color originally posted, not the maroon or reddish, and I can see why. I like his original color much better too.

This points out what some have mentioned. On my computer screen the OP's picture is a rich deep maroon and not "brownish" at all.

 

Beauty is not always in the eye of the beholder - the software gets first crack at it. :)

 

Paul

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Mike, more so in your second picture, the sides are darker because they are not in as much direct light from above.

 

Look at how red the tail end of the front fender is in the same picture, where it is getting hit more directly by light from overhead.  You can see more of that lighter color effect near the top of the rear fender.

 

Same picture, car in the same place, yet two very different looking reds because of the angles of the surfaces to the light source.

 

BTW, anyone contemplating using any shades of red or maroon, have you check the price of it compared to other colors, lately ? :wacko:

 

Paul

Edited by PFitz (see edit history)
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Matt's right, I used to look at hundreds of colors, fuss and toss and turn and worry about the exact shade of whatever color I wanted. I would go the the paint shop and take their chips outside in the sunlight and into the shade and compare them. I've found that all that fussing isn't worth the trouble. I'm an old school single stage paint guy. I pick a color that's close and that will hopefully be available in the future if I ever need to touch something up. After the car's back together with the new upholstery, tires and wheelcovers and all the chrome and trim back on those tiny differences in shades are forgotten about anyway. The overall quality of the painted finish is much more important than the perfect match to the color. In all the years I've done this no one's ever walked up to me and told me my car's color is off. Go with your gut, pick a color you like and stick with it!

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Paul shows the same Acme color ships I have , and as noted on the back it gives the year and make of the car. As I mentioned I have used a microfiber cloth and a tiny bit of very gentle compound to polish the chip and if there is any ( yes any) slight ( very slight) chalkiness or white haze from age it goes completely away and stays away. I guess a few of us have all made our point so far as color matching . I still will go with the larger Acme chips as what can be as close to original as you can get despite the comments in disagreement from the expert(s?) .

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no need to be snide.  The big chips or an unexposed area of an original car, both polished as you describe, are the closest standards we are likely to get.  Better than old little chip books from the paint store or body shop, better than old formulae unless maybe you have access to both old and new pigment characterizations, certainly better than any photo.  so a good discussion on how to recreate an original OEM color.  

 

 

 

 

 

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