The Evolution of Automotive Painting

automotive painting

Anyone pursuing an auto career knows that automotive painting worked a little differently in the early 1900’s than it does today. Cars were once painted with a varnish-like product which was brushed on the surface of a vehicle, then sanded, smoothed, and refinished. Once multiple layers of varnish were applied, the vehicle would be polished to achieve a shiny surface.  Time consuming work, for sure. Back in those days, one paint job would take close to 40 days to complete!

These days, car painting progresses at lightning speed by comparison.  And colour options are virtually unlimited. Continue reading to find out how painting has evolved since the 1900’s and which car colours you should be looking out for in the years to come.

Spray Guns of The 30’s

The early 30’s introduced stoving enamels, which were similar to the varnishing method of the past, but rendered quicker results. Before 1940, the spray gun was invented. Spraying paint on a vehicle was much faster than brushing it on, and it was also easier to maintain an even coat throughout the entire surface of the car – which meant less sanding was needed afterward.

1950’s: Just Baked For a Smooth Finish

General Motors started a new trend in the 50’s by experimenting with a different method of painting. A spray gun was still used to cover the surface of the car in paint; however, a large oven was then used to help the car dry more quickly. The only downside to this method was that the cars did not turn out very shiny.

Swinging 60’s Brings Back Colour & Shine

Ford reintroduced stoving and started using this method again, noticing that consumers appreciated the lustrous results more than the unpolished effects of baking. Acrylic stoving enamels were applied with a spray gun, and then baked to generate a strong surface. This method had everything: shine, durability and colour!

Metallics Rule the 70’s

Japanese and European auto manufacturers began using two-coat acrylic painting systems on their cars in the 1970s. While American manufacturers were offering glossy and durable paint jobs, Japanese and European auto makers were taking the tech a step further by providing the option of metallic hues.

If you are pursuing an automotive career, you probably know that today, automotive painting is much more advanced, and the most popular method is called electrocoating. This involves submerging the frame of the car in a primer, and using electricity to draw the paint finish to the metal.

Monochromatic Rules 2014

According to data collected by PPG Industries – a global auto industry paint supplier – the most popular car colour choice of 2014 is white. While 28 percent of consumers went with white as their vehicle colour of choice, 18 percent of consumers chose black, and 15 percent selected silver or grey.

Colour Forecast: 2015 – 2018

PPG has also gathered data and made predictions about which car colours will rule the streets up to three years from now!  Here’s what they say will dominate the auto industry up until 2018:

  • Natural earth tones
  • Bright colours, pastels and neutrals
  • Reds, greens, plums and indigo blues
  • Pale blues, greens, corals, purples and neutrals

The future looks like it’s going to be very colourful – a far cry from the monochromic white, black and grey cars we’ve been seeing as of late.

What colour would you choose to paint your ride?

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