Celebrating 90 Years of Iconic Colour


Celebrating 90 Years of Iconic Colour


To celebrate nearly a century of colour expertise, we have launched a commemorative brochure ‘Celebrating 90 Years of Iconic Colour’ that builds on its tradition of providing dependable insights into consumer colour trends from the 1920’s to today and beyond.

Axalta’s ‘Celebrating 90 Years of Iconic Colour’ brochure examines the different perspectives of colour choices in the past, the latest trending colours of today, and a glimpse into what will influence consumer decisions in the future.  It considers what makes a generation tick, each era’s lifestyle and the factors that influence decisions when it comes to choosing an automotive style, brand and colour.

We have made it our business to understand what makes each generation tick. From the era of mass produced automobiles with black coatings in the 1920’s, the introduction of the first Muscle Car in the 1960’s, to environmentally friendly coatings of the 80’s through to today, By having a better understanding of colour choices of yesterday and the latest trending colours of today, we can help our customers take a glimpse into what will drive consumer decisions into the future.

Since the launch of the first-ever Color Advisor Committee to craft colours specifically for cars in 1927, Axalta has remained committed to working closely with automotive original equipment manufacturers, refinishers and customers to drive the future of iconic car colours and technology. It is what drives Axalta colourists to become industry leaders in research and development and why Axalta throughout each era has always offered one of the most extensive colour databases in the world.

The 1920’s historic car era saw great wealth, meaning more cars on the road, greater choice as well as competition.  This era of luxury saw car manufacturers for the first-time appeal to consumer emotions with colour, changing the automotive process forever.

The 1930’s and 1940’s was defined as the racing car era, where international race cars were decorated in colours specific to the manufacturer or sometimes the driver. Some of the most popular colours included the Bleu de France Bugattis, Rosso Corsa Alfa Romeos and British Racing Green Bentleys. This era also saw the birth of Formula One.

The 1950’s exemplified how customers’ tastes were becoming more sophisticated, with curved windshields and tail fins dominating this era. Cars with dramatically different interior and exterior colours hit the showrooms. Light colours, two-toning, pinstripes, custom wheels... the ’50s had it all. In fact, colour complemented and accentuated every square inch of these dramatic designs.

The 1960’s and 1970’s is arguably best defined as the Muscle Car era. In 1964 the first ever Muscle Car, the Pontiac GTO, was manufactured followed by the Ford Mustang, a pet project of a young Lee Iacocca. These cars were adorned with medium-shade red metallic finishes with warmer colour ranges, such as medium gold metallics and light copper browns. 

From the 1980’s through to today Axalta has made significant gains in environmental, cost, safety and productivity innovation initiatives. The introduction of waterborne paints, portable multi-angled spectrophotometers and mixing machines helped to increase an automakers ability to produce multiple colours with incredible accuracy. Not surprisingly, this idea of “green” led to an increase in popularity for greens and blues, replacing browns and whites. Vehicle designs ranged from the very boxy to aerodynamic styles inspired by airplanes.