Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Cromax Restores Beautiful 1923 Bugatti with a Brilliant Shade of Blue

By Frederica McCauley, Axalta Marketing Communications Specialist

As loyal Cromax® customers for nearly 20 years, the team at Goldmark Body Works in Queensland, Australia trusted no other brand when they restored Mick Freestone’s rare 1923 Bugatti Type 13 – a 50-year family heirloom.

The Type 13’s lightweight design and remarkable craftsmanship left all naysayers speechless when it took the top four places at the Voiturette Grand Prix in Brescia, Italy, in 1921.

Nearly three decades after its last coat of paint, selecting the perfect blue proved to be difficult, explained Goldmark owner, Scott Millington. Historically, Bugatti’s were painted in honor of the French national racing color – but the official color is unknown, because it was matched to the cigarette packet favored by inventor Ettore Bugatti’s wife. “The blue changed over the years, depending on the color on the packaging,” said Millington. “But we could have matched it if we had the right packet.”

Bugatti’s were painted in honor of the French national racing color – but the official color is unknown.

Instead, Millington color-matched a photo of a European Bugatti. After stripping the car to bare metal, the Goldmark crew used the Cromax 840R VOC Epoxy Primer-Surfacer and the LE2004 high build primer to prepare the surface for the blue basecoat.

Attaining an authentic vintage finish also presented a challenge. Modern paints are glossier than the finishes available in the Bugatti’s racing days, so Millington experimented matting out the gloss by mixing the Cromax 3050S clear coat with AU175 flattening binder. “We did quite a few spray outs to make sure Mick was happy,” said Scott. “We were able to work with him to give him exactly what he wanted, and how he wanted it done.”

With the Bugatti reassembled and ready to return home, Millington is happy that in the hands of his experienced crew, Axalta’s Cromax paint delivered an impeccable and authentic finish for his customer. “It was a privilege to work on a vehicle of that calibre,” said Scott. “And the finish is beautiful, as we expected.”

Mick is also thrilled with the results. “Being a very old and unusual car, the finish of the paint was important. I couldn’t be happier with the result. It’s authentic, and still looks like a top restoration project.”

We think you’ll agree that this car is a brilliant blue success story.

Fast Facts About the Type 13

Totally unique in its design, the Type 13 surprised the world of racing when it took second place at its French Grand Prix debut at Les Mans in 1911.

Created by Italian-born Ettore Bugatti, the distinctive Type 13 bucked all the popular trends for appearance, and was one of the first race cars to feature four valves per cylinder instead of two.

The Type 13’s lightweight design and remarkable craftsmanship left all naysayers speechless when it took the top four places at the Voiturette Grand Prix in Brescia, Italy, in 1921.

It’s estimated only 2000 Type 13s were produced, and today the model is so rare that the whereabouts of each is recorded.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Brilliant Blue Shines at SEMA

By Jason Reitz, Owner of The Hot Rod Barn

It was an honor for me and my staff at The Hot Rod Barn, a body shop focused on hot rods and muscle cars, based in Joliet, Illinois to have our work displayed in the Axalta Engineered for Speed booth at the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) tradeshow at the Las Vegas Convention Center earlier this month.  Our Brilliant Blue 1934 Ford Coupe brought smiles to so many faces and was a major draw at the truly massive tradeshow.

The Brilliant Blue 1934 Ford Coupe was a hit at SEMA.

Looking back, it is almost unreal to think about how this car got to SEMA.  This project started more than 18 months ago.  The owner, Mark Stewart, wanted the car to have an old-school feel, with a modern twist.  The Coupe has an original all-steel body, but the driveability and attitude of something much more modern.  The vivacious curves and details on the car demanded a color that could truly do it justice.  It had to be vibrant and eye-catching.

I decided to investigate shades of blue because I knew a rich blue would pair well with the Coupe’s tan leather interior.  One day, as if by fate, I opened a magazine and saw an ad for Axalta’s North American Automotive Color of the Year 2016-Brilliant Blue.  Made with Spies Hecker® Permacron® Magic Sparkle Effect (MB 590), this shade piqued my interest.  I had to see if this was the color I was searching for.  The Hot Rod Barn is an exclusive Axalta shop, so I made a few calls, and in no time had a sample paint chip sent to me.

The vivacious curves on the 1934 demanded a bold hue of blue.

The color on the paint chip immediately jumped out at me.  I wanted to truly experience the color so I looked at the chip in a wide array of lighting: the sun…the shade…even a flashlight.  All beautiful.  The glass flake dazzled at so many angles.  We then decided to spray out the color in our paint booth to experience the color over different contours.  The hue was vibrant, danced in the sunlight, and emitted shades of turquoise, royal blue, and onyx; all of which added a depth and complexity that I knew would look great on the curves of the 1934 Ford Coupe.  We shipped the spray out to Mark for examination and approval.  Shortly after Mark witnessed the color in person, he called us with a tone of excitement - he definitely wanted Brilliant Blue to be the color on his car!

The Spies Hecker® Permacron® Magic Sparkle Effect (MB 590) finish laid down well and was easy to apply.  It was apparent that Brilliant Blue was the right color for the Coupe.  The folks at Axalta agreed and invited us to show the car at SEMA and the rest is history.

This was my first time at SEMA, and I couldn’t have asked for a more amazing experience.  I feel humbled by the number of people who paid the car compliments, took pictures with the car, and asked me questions about the build.  Brilliant Blue was the star of the show and clearly demonstrated why it is Axalta’s North American Automotive Color of the Year 2016.

Jason Reitz, Owner of The Hot Rod Barn
About Jason Reitz
Reitz is the President and Co-Owner of The Hot Rod Barn, a leading builder of custom muscle cars and hot rods based outside of Chicago, Illinois.  Early in his career, Reitz designed electrical components for Chrysler and worked at Ford Motor Company as a new product analyst.  Reitz later held an industry position on the prestigious Fleet Advisory Board at Ford Motor Company.  Mr. Reitz holds a bachelor’s degree from Purdue University and an MBA from the University of Notre Dame. 

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

The Best Blue Songs, Ranked

By Dan Benton

To honor our North American Automotive Color of the Year-Brilliant Blue, our color team created a top 25 list of songs with "blue" in the title. After some discussion, and a lot of “study time” they came up with the list below.

It should be no surprise that Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels have the number one spot. Eiffel 65’s song at number two will get stuck in your head. Check out YouTube for any that you aren’t familiar with and leave a comment to let us know if you agree or disagree with the picks.


1.     Devil with a Blue Dress – Mitch Ryder & The Detroit Wheels
2.     I’m Blue (Da Ba Dee) – Eiffel 65
3.     Forever in Blue Jeans – Neil Diamond
4.     Barefoot Blue Jean Night – Jake Owen
5.     Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain – Willie Nelson
6.     Blue Jean – David Bowie
7.     It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue – Bob Dylan
8.     Folsom Prison Blues – Johnny Cash
9.     Blue Suede Shoes – Elvis Presley
10.  Blue Christmas – Elvis Presley
11.  Courtesy of the Red, White, and Blue - Toby Keith 
12.  When the Stars Go Blue – Tim McGraw
13.  Blue Bayou (Man on Fire) – Linda Ronstadt
14.  Mr. Blue Sky – ELO
15.  Blue Money – Van Morrison
16.  Blue Moon – Sam Cooke
17.  Song Sung Blue – Neil Diamond
18.  Behind Blue Eyes – the Who
19.  Don't It Make My Brown Eyes Blue - Crystal Gayle
20.  True Blue - Madonna 
21.  Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain -- Willie Nelson 
22.  Forever Blue -- Chris Isaak 
23.  Out of the Blue -- Debbie Gibson 
24.  Counting blue cars -- Dishwalla
25.  Blue – LeAnn Rimes