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. 

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