I metallic paint on “Original 25′”””

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    Hi everyone,

    I was at Hershey this year and had the opportunity to see all the auction cars. Wow!

    I came across the 1925 pierce arrow runabout. I think it sold for 93k or there abouts. It was described as original. I was within inches of this car and looked at the navy blue paint. Yes it was old but it had a metallic flake in it. The pinstripe was crooked on one spot. I can’t imagine Pierce letting it out the door with an esthetic flaw like that.

    Back to the paint. I thought the metallic paint came on the scene around 28 -29′. Anyone know for sure when the metallic paint was offered by pierce?



    Oops! Sorry for the typo in title.


    28 was the first year for metallic paint, from DuPont if I remember correctly.


    Ed is correct of course. The other thing to remember is that the metallic paint which was first used in the late 20’s and into the 30’s was NOT the bold metallic that we see on current cars, hot rods, customs, and so forth. It was a very subtle paint, made to highlight, not to overwhelm.



    Thanks! Your description is the exact reason I wondered if it might be original. The metallic in that car was very fine and not bold at all. Maybe that beauty was repainted in the late 20’s or early 30’s. The paint was obviously old. That is why I stood there scratching my head. Lolol



    Most PA’s dont look that good in HEAVY metallic paint, most seem out of place when parked on the show field. Suttle metallic comes off very nice….. but I have yet to paint any of my cars with it…….Ed


    The Classic Car Club of America states in its judging rules that no

    deductions should occur for “metallic” paint jobs on Classics made

    after November 1927.Studebaker, Hupmobile and Chrysler(and I’m sure

    others) offered “metallic” as standard colors in 1932. I own a 1935

    845 sedan painted in “Prostitute Blue” metallic, so I had to educate

    myself in what’s proper and available in this finish. Though Pierce’s

    paint shop probably didn’t come across many owners that required

    metallic, it could have been obtained and likely was. Records are

    not available, I assume.


    I’m not sure about records, but there are paint sample cards that are out there for Pierce for most years in the 30’s, a factory publication from the Art and Styling department if I remember correctly. I think that one I have states that they had 15,000 paint formulas on file, so am sure by the 30’s that metallic was included.


    Has anyone seen a 20’s or 30’s Pierce with original metallic paint?

    – Side note:

    I am selecting colors for the Phaeton. Or should I say, STILL, selecting colors. Its not the color that is that difficult, but matching the tones of the leather and convertible top seems almost impossible. Everything seems to be just OFF! Grrrrr Now I know why one of the reasons for a different color top is to contrast the color because its difficult to match it.

    Ill keep looking. Any ideas?


    It’s a little harder giving advice when we don’t know what basic colors you’re working with.

    Phaeton tops in Haartz cloth, for example, are usually either black or tan. Haartz cloth with other colors or woven color combinations have been available, but make things hard to match. They can also make a car look very busy from a color standpoint.

    There are a lot of shades of leather, of course. It can be very difficult to match leather to paint color, unless, again, the leather color is a basic one (such as black). Even with black, there are a lot of different textures and shades to deal with. I recently upholstered a 1940 Packard 160 convertible sedan, black with black top, and you’d think black leather would be an easy task…but the owner and I went through about 40 different leather samples before finding something that looked appropriate.

    If you want any advice from a trimmer’s standpoint, feel free to email me, but would need to know what you’re working with.


    Do what you like and don’t sweat it.

    No matter how much you worry about it, the end product will be excellent.

    Matching colors across different materials is hugely difficult, and that is why people use contrasting colors rather than matching colors.

    Keep it simple and contrast.

    Even purple and green are a wonderful combo, given the selected shades of each.

    Have fun with it and stop worrying.



    I am not using black or tan. It will be an unusual color. It will be tasteful, not a car that sits in front of a bordello. :) It will look like its on its way to the Opera. :)

    My 88 yr old mother came up with an idea on paint scheme that I like alot. the car might be a hair diff than the norm, but it will accomplish what I am looking for. :)

    With all that said, I must agree, matching paint, leather and tops is a B****.


    p.s. I cant tell you guys the color. I have to have one surprise left for the reveal :))))))


    Dr. Pete,

    Thanks for the advice. I am doing what I like. However, being a lawyer, just as you are a DR, want it to be just so. I am also smart enough to know that Perfection does not exist and I will finally come to that conclusion when the final decision is made.

    Rick :)


    Yes, I have seen a Pierce with factory metallic paint. It was a factory show car. The paint color was unstable but the metallic was very very fine. Several other unusual colors have been documented as factory, but they were not common. Francis Owens described a very subtle metallic paint in a unusual but conservative color to me on a custom bodied 35 Pierce sedan.


    The good news is that it really is impossible to match exactly what a car was delivered with. I don’t believe the paint chips were accurate to start with, then they change with time even being protected. same goes with the paint itself, the pigments and mixes weren’t perfectly uniform and if you find someone who can mix the original paint code with original pigments there is no reason to believe they haven’t shifted with time. The best guide is probably paint protected such as being covered by upholstery, but this is simply closer – not dead accurate.

    I have gone through over 10 mixes of hues and I can say that to really judge how it looks on the car you have to shoot parts of it on the car. It is amazing how two different colors can look indistinguishable on painted sheet metal samples, and look very different actually on the car. A color that seems wonderful in the can or on a small sample can look hideous on the car. This is amplified by metallics. What I have been doing is using the color books at the paint store, and for metallics have them change the metallic to substitute all the courser grade to the finest grade flakes to approximate the very fine iridescence of the original metallics (I have heard it was actually oyster shell, and the oyster shell deteriorates in the can over a few years).

    I sometimes feel I am going blind trying to get a nice contrast (I am trying to approximate the lighter belt molding/modest contrast that were done on ’35’s)

    At any rate, as said above, it is your judgement and taste you need to please in the end. Good luck!



    A long time ago, past president and chief judge Leo Parnagian told me that ground fish scales were used as the first metallic.

    What I have found for top color, is to use Hartz cloth, but to pipe the top with skived leather close to the color of the car. Both my ’36 and former ’31 were done this way. It looks very pretty, and eliminates (in my opinion) the ordinary look of binding/piping done with the same material as the top.


    Ah, but was the picture of the Hershey bars a clue, possibly brown and silver paint for the car?

    Just glad you’re saving this car, whatever color you decide to paint it!



    lololo I am not a fan of brown cars. (though some I must admit, work) I’m afraid the hershey bar was just an amazing size that I thought I would share. :)



    Allow me to suggest a visit to:http://www.autocolorlibrary.com/EraChips.html

    Here(TCP Global) you can look at vintage color combinations and with a little navigation of the site be informed as to the standard colors available on your ’29.




    A couple thoughts. As an electrical engineering student, we actually used to study lighting design for both interior and exterior spaces. I am bringing this up because, as a builder, I have watched numerous “interior designers” spend countless hours with a client going over flooring, tile, wall, fixture, etc. colors in a number of stores with vastly different light, only to find when it is installed, it looks awful together in the ambient light. When selecting colors, make sure you select them in the environment you want it to show best. That can be in a museum or outdoors or wherever, but the specific location will change the look of the color. Forget the sun’s effect on the colors! I am just finishing a zero energy home, and spent literally months picking the right color of LED to use inside the house, as well as outside for the floods and mood lighting. It can drive you nuts. I remember a previous thread where one of the members spent a couple of months tweaking colors, and showed a picture of a car with dozens of color spots on it. David’s ’31 Phaeton is an unusual color combination of grays, it looks beautiful (and tasteful) in person.

    Many of us have had cataract surgery. I have had one eye done and the other is still original. There is a marked difference in color perception between the two eyes, especially in lighter colors.

    In sum, I agree with Dr. Pete, do what you want. Just make sure it IS what you want.


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