Hemmings Motor News Blog Blog

Hemmings Motor News Blog

Hemmings Motor News has been around since 1954. We're proud of our heritage, but we're also more than the Hemmings full of classifieds that your father subscribed to. Aside from new editorial content every month in Hemmings, we have three monthly magazines: Hemmings Muscle Machines, Hemmings Classic Car and Hemmings Sports and Exotic Car.

While our editors traverse the country to find the best content for those magazines, we find other oddities related to the old-car hobby that we really had no place for - until now. With this blog, we're giving you a behind-the-scenes look at what we see and what we do during the course of putting out some of the finest automotive magazines you'll ever read.

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Throwing Shades: Historic Paint Colors Versus Modern Monochrome

Posted November 10, 2021 4:00 AM by dstrohl
Pathfinder Tags: Automobile marketing

What might be the most challenging task in automotive marketing today? How about trying to come up with imaginative names for silver, gray, white and black? Since their various hues seem to constitute about 90% of current vehicle production, it must be a daunting task to creatively name them.

Many wonder why today’s new vehicles have such boring colors. Might it be suggested that car colors follow the culture? Cars were too expensive to be anything other than toys for the wealthy when the automobile was in its infancy. Hence, a variety of colors were offered to buyers.

Henry Ford is rightfully credited with changing all that with the Model T. Ford allegedly said you could have your T in any color you want… as long as it was black. That quotation wrongly suggests all Ts were black. In fact, they were offered in various colors through at least 1914. According to Beverly Rae Kimes and Henry Austin Clark Jr.’s Standard Catalog of American Cars, black wasn’t even listed among the available colors before 1914, although a few early Ts were apparently so painted.

World War II’s victory generated boundless enthusiasm for the future. Although immediate postwar colors remained somewhat muted, some creative hues were offered.

One of them was Hudson’s 1950 Legion Blue, the blue in The American Legion crest. Imagine all the World War II veterans at American Legion bars around the country, sharing war stories in 1950. I give kudos to Hudson for its marketing creativity.

The Fabulous Fifties’ unfettered optimism produced wild styling and colors by mid-decade. Who can’t appreciate a 1955 Ford Crown Victoria or Sunliner in Tropical Rose [pink] and Snowshoe White, or a Canyon Coral 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air sport coupe with an India Ivory roof?

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