Monday, October 3, 2016

Brilliant Blue Cars under a Brilliant Blue Sky

By Dan Benton, Axalta Color Marketing Manager

September 18, 2016 was truly a brilliant day at the 21st annual Hagley Car Show. More than 500 exhibitors from all around the Mid-Atlantic region brought their pride and joy to display for the thousands who came to experience the wonders of more than 100 years of automotive innovation.

As I walked among the enthusiasts, I couldn’t help but overhear the many conversations about beloved cars from the past, and the colors that adorned those rides.

“Oh that’s the same blue I had on my ’68 Tempest,” and “my boyfriend used to pick me up in his ’67 Corvette – just like that one.” Car owners proudly discussed the authentic colors on their vehicles. “That is the exact shade of Nassau Blue that was offered on the original ’56 Chevy.” “Hey that’s the original Shelby Guardsman Blue on that Cobra replica.”

The color blue was everywhere at the car show, including on this 1937 Ford sedan. 

Nostalgia was everywhere, and the smiles could not be contained. As music, and radio advertisements from the 1950’s played over the speakers, many were taken back to a simpler time when your car said a lot about who you were – and what you loved.

Many conversations were about that “first car,” and the freedom that came with it. Folks reminisced about dates at drive-in theatres, and cruising with friends. “Look at that Plum Crazy ’70 Challenger. That was my high school buddy’s first car – we used to cruise Concord Pike in Wilmington, Delaware in one just like it!” They talked about cruising from one hot spot to the next – looking for friends who were also out for a drive. Cruising was more than just a social activity; it was an obsession for many, much like in the movie American Graffiti when high school seniors cruised the town before graduation. Axalta helped restore the classic Impala from the film and will debut it in November at our booth at SEMA, the largest aftermarket automotive tradeshow in the country. Most of the cars at the Hagley car show could have been in the film. 

Although you could see an array of car colors at the event, blue seemed to be the most popular. From original authentic blues to some new and creative uses of the hue – we saw blue everywhere. We even brought our own special blue with us – Axalta’s North American Automotive Color of the Year for 2016 – Brilliant Blue.

This 1973 MG MGB had a stunning shade of blue!

We displayed Brilliant Blue on mini hoods, color cards, and a special Pedal Car. Many attendees stopped by the Axalta booth to admire the super saturated color that shimmers in the sun. Brilliant Blue is a mid-shade blue that has both depth and vividness with slight turquoise highlights. It is made with Axalta’s Vermeera technology. This multi-layer process provides both an intense blue color and a unique sparkle effect.

An eye-catching color like Brilliant Blue is sure to be a classic, and I predict that one day it will be the talk of some future car show where someone will say, “Oh look – Brilliant Blue!  I painted my 2016 Mustang GT with that color.”

Dennis Whitaker’s 1965 Superformance Shelby Cobra replica 

In the spirit of Brilliant Blue, judges selected one vehicle owner to receive Axalta's Best in Blue Award. Congratulations to Dennis Whitaker of Pennsylvania! His 1965 Superformance Shelby Cobra replica took home the prize. To learn more, see the press release.

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