Wednesday, August 30, 2017

The Gallant Gray Q&A

Axalta’s year-long celebration of Gallant Gray is more than half way through. Over the last eight months, it has been great talking with Axalta customers, colleagues and fans all around the world about the beauty and depth Gallant Gray provides, as well as gray’s rising popularity in the automotive market.

During these valuable discussions, a few questions kept cropping up, so we thought a Gallant Gray Q&A can help answer the most common questions that you may have. Leave a note in the comments if you have a Color of the Year question we didn’t answer.

Q: How did Axalta come up with Gallant Gray?

A: Axalta’s color experts put a lot of time, thought and energy into crafting the Color of the Year. Hard data, daily inspirations and knowledge of the automotive market led Axalta to the color.
Data shows that a high percentage of the market is interested in a neutral palette. Adding slight hints of hues can add life to these colors. Statistically, gray’s popularity on vehicles is on the rise around the globe and silver continues to fall. Behind white and black, gray tied silver in 2016 at 11 percent. Gray leads silver in popularity in Europe (by six percent), North America (five percent), and South Korea (seven percent). Gray is most popular in Europe (17 percent), North America (16 percent), South Korea (19 percent), and India (12 percent). 

Q: Can I buy a Gallant Gray car?

A: Yes and no. Gallant Gray, like each of Axalta’s Color of the Years, is a concept color devised using data from global automotive trends and inspired by nature and culture. The shade is not currently on any production vehicle. However, after its release, custom painters were eager to use Gallant Gray on their projects and so you may come across Gallant Gray on a hotrod or custom car near you! Axalta will feature one of those projects at this year’s SEMA show, so stay tuned for more. Gallant Gray is also at the track. Axalta sponsored driver, William Bryon drives a Gallant Gray Chevrolet in NASCAR’s Xfinity series races.

William Bryon drives a Gallant Gray Chevrolet in NASCAR’s Xfinity series races.

Q: Can I paint my house Gallant Gray?

A: Turn on any home improvement show and there’s a good chance you will see gray inside. Especially in kitchens and living rooms. Axalta’s Gallant Gray was specifically developed as a metallic automotive coating. If you just have to have Gallant Gray in your house, check out Pantone color 430 C for a similar solid color space.

Q: Is it "gray" or "grey"?

A: They are both pretty much acceptable. “Gray” seems to be more popular in the US while “grey” reigns in the UK. 

Q: How do different generations react to Gallant Gray?

A: Gallant Gray is designed to look spectacular on any size vehicle and has had great response globally.  With color complexity and a fresh look to this classic color space, the intent of the color is to have not only global appeal but multi-generation appeal. It may be working, a New York Times story titled, “For Millennial Men, Gray Hair Is Welcome” details several cases of young men going for a Gallant Gray look and reports that Amazon has “seen a threefold increase in the last year in customers searching for gray hair dye.”

Q: Can you tell me next year’s Automotive Color of the Year?

A: Yes! Check back with us around the North American International Auto Show in January 2018.

Friday, May 26, 2017

First Ever Gallant Gray Peddle Car to Live as “Art” in 50s-Styled Room

By Destiny Driftmeyer

As part of the introduction of Axalta’s Automotive Color of the Year 2017-Gallant Gray, Axalta had a few peddle cars refurbished and painted by students at Roseville High School in Michigan. You may remember the children’s toy cars that are still popular today.

Axalta displayed the cars at the MotorCity Automotive Industry Night (MAIN) kick-off even tat the 2017 North American International Auto Show in Detroit. At the end of the evening, Axalta’s Nancy Lockhart and Dan Benton raffled off one of the cars.

Destiny Driftmeyer, an automotive product specialist and Toledo School for the Arts student, from the greater Detroit area, was the winner of the car. Destiny she recently visited Axalta’s Color Styling Studio in Clinton Township, Michigan to pick up her prize.

Here are her thoughts on being the first-ever winner of a CotY car and the surprising place she picked to park it.

Destiny Driftmeyer, an automotive product specialist and Toledo School for the Arts student from the greater Detroit area, won Gallant Gray peddle car.

For someone that has never won a raffle or giveaway in her life, I was shocked to hear my name announced at MAIN event in Detroit during NAIAS Preview Week! And I couldn’t be happier that I won an amazing, 1950s-style peddle car painted by Roseville High School. Since I do not have any children yet, the most pressing question I had was “what am I going to do with such a prize?”  

Well, to give you a little background, I am a huge automotive/motorsports fan. I grew up around muscle cars, listened to the Motown Sound at car shows and loved driving around in my grandma's Corvette. My childhood love of cars followed me into adulthood and now I am a Promotional Model at many automotive/motorsports events all across the United States. I even unknowingly checked out Axalta's booth at the 2016 SEMA show in Las Vegas. Small world, right?

No question about it, this peddle car is art and I believe I should give it the treatment it deserves as an art piece.

At first I thought, “what a great theme for a living room.” Then it hit me, “no, this is going in my vanity room.” The room has a 1950s Hollywood vibe going on … think Marilyn, Elvis and James Dean. I think this Gallant Gray peddle car will find a nice home sharing space with my high heel shoe chair and light up mirror sitting on top of a stylish makeup dresser. The car will really help finish the room off. I will accent the room with a framed print of my pin up modeling feature from Lipstick & Lashes magazine and I may snag an art piece or two from my boyfriend, an automotive designer at one of the car companies.

I can see it now. Picture red, black, Gallant Gray and white all put together to form this vintage glam look. How stunning.

I love Axalta's Gallant Gray and cannot imagine a better color for the peddle car. It is the perfect shade with beautiful metallic undertones that really make the car’s features pop. I would love to see more cars on the road with metal flake paint. It is so interesting and different, and makes a car stand out from the crowd. I have always been a chameleon paint fan, so to me it is okay to have some wild styles. There are no rules in the color world!

Follow Destiny on Facebook at

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Talking Gallant Gray with Mobsteel’s Adam Genei

By Nancy Lockhart, Axalta Color Marketing Manager

Detroit native, Adam Genei knows cars from the inside out, he is the owner of Mobsteel, a custom car business in Detroit, and the Detroit Steel Wheels company, which makes steel auto wheels, or “steelies,” for vehicles of any size.

Detroit’s own Adam Genei at the Mobsteel Shop

You may know Adam, his wife and business partner, Pam and their team of awe-inspiring employees from a reality series titled, Detroit Steel on the History channel (

Axalta enjoys a fun and collaborative relationship with the Mobsteel crew. One of the highlights of that association came to life at the 2016 SEMA show in Las Vegas, when Axalta and Mobsteel introduced the Artist Signature Series – Cromax® Mobsteel® Midnight CFX™ Candy Colors line. Mobsteel and Axalta color designers worked together to refine this vibrant set of custom colors. The colors, including “8 Mile Maroon” and “Motorcity Sunset,” are part of the dynamic series that appear to be a shade of black but under light, reflect rich reds, purples, golds and more.

“This line is exciting for both Axalta and the artists with whom we work. I’m thrilled that Mobsteel founder, Adam Genei, and his team helped to reveal this exciting new collection in the Artist Signature Series,” said Harry Christman, Axalta Cromax Brand Manager at the unveil. “We are extremely proud that this talented design/build team uses Axalta refinish products in their shop and that they partnered with us to create a line of colors inspired by their city of Detroit and their craft.”

Nancy Lockhart, Axalta Color Marketing Manager recently sat down with Adam to talk about color, inspiration and the Motor City. 

Nancy: Adam, back in January you and the guys gave the full Mobsteel treatment to a kid’s pedal car and painted it in Axalta’s Automotive Color of the Year 2017-Gallant Gray. The paint job got rave reviews and the project seemed like such a natural fit for you. Did you have a pedal car growing up? What automotive themed toys did you grow up with?

Mobsteel sprayed a pedal car in Axalta’s Automotive Color of the Year 2017-Gallant Gray

Adam: As a kid, I knew someone who had a pedal car and I remember going down the sidewalk in it.  It’s a good childhood memory for me.  We didn’t have the luxury of such expensive toys.  Star Wars was popular but I remember playing for hours on the floor with my matchbox cars.  It was cool to build up new tracks and jumps for the cars, I loved it.  Still today, I keep matchbox cars around me all the time.  I have a bunch at the shop I like to give out when kids come by.  

Playing with cars and being around cars is just in my blood.  I grew up in Detroit, Dad worked in a shop, my grandfather was an auto supplier, my other grandfather worked in a dealership.  Many of our friends and extended family had connections to the auto industry either on the line, as mill rights, electricians or other.  My dad would fix up old cars and tractors or anything mechanical in our garage.  We would also go out and look for free snowmobiles, then we would fix them up and turn them into dune-buggies.  Just crazy stuff like that was normal fun.

Nancy: What are your thoughts on Axalta’s Automotive Color of the Year 2017- Gallant Gray? What do you think of the blue glass flake technology in the coating?

Adam: It is super cool.  When Axalta approached us to spray a pedal car in the Color of the Year we were excited to see what it was.  We weren’t let down.  We had plans to do a bunch of stuff on the car but once we laid down the paint and saw the color we took a step back and said “let’s not ruin it.” The color was so powerful that we thought doing anything else would diminish the look. That is not always the case with all colors.  A red Ferrari is great not because of the color, but because of the car.  Gallant gray was cool because of the color.   

The color has so many different layers to it.  The blue flake with the gray paint gave it so much character and depth.  The appearance changed when we took the car around the shop under different lighting.  A great product with unique characteristics helps make the job easy.

Everyone knows paint is the most important part in a build.  It’s the first thing you see.  It’s got to be good and high quality.

Nancy: We love what you did with the pedal car. Is this an example how the Mobsteel brand can transfer to other segments even outside of automotive?

Adam: Human beings are born to create things.  I love to dream and create.  Not just automotive or things with gears and wheels. I have designed and built furniture, artwork, even sculptures. I enjoy seeing something made with quality and care. I enjoy watching a project come to life. I really enjoy putting myself back in time to capture what someone dreamed up in a different era.  It is a challenge to preserve the heritage of the piece while making it my own and paying respectful homage to the original design.

For instance, when I see a car that I love, I think “Why do I love it? How can I keep the essence of it but make it my own?” and “How do I retain the unique allure that attracted me to it?”  The Gallant Gray pedal car was a perfect example. Pedal cars have a unique history and allure. I think what we did with the car was keep that authentic old school feel with crisp, simple lines. The blue glass flake in the Gallant Gray provided the modern twist.

Adam Genei with his 1966 Lincoln Continental in a gray body color and Radiant Red roof

Nancy: What do you like about restoring cars?

Adam: Being in Detroit, I find it really cool that I can drive by the plants and offices where the car I’m restoring was originally built and designed decades ago. You just breathe in that history in this town. And in the same regard, it is insane to think that these spaces and the industry has changed so much in the same amount of time. 

Skilled trades have more tools and technology today but older cars have some of the best build quality and are beautifully designed. It is amazing some of the car designers could dream that big back then.

Nancy: How do you decide what color to put on the interior and exterior of a vehicle?

Adam: Mobsteel is known for spraying a lot of black Lincolns. Black is an appropriate color on an old Lincoln and it looks great. But there are many factors to consider when choosing an exterior color, including what year the car is, the lines and curves on the chassis, historic connection with a particular color etc. At the end of the day, it must feel right.

We start with the outside of the car and work our way in; the exterior color influences the color choices on the rest of the car.  Influences come from everywhere but the exterior paint plays a large role in determining the interior color.

Thank you to Adam for his insights and for sharing his story, and don’t forget to check out Detroit Steel on the History Channel.