Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Cars and colors...The '50s

Color always seems to be a hot topic especially when referring to what was available on a specific make/model//year, and contrary to popular opinion, you couldn't have any color you wanted just because you had the money to pay for it. There were of course, some exceptions to that rule and those were;

Special Models... Cars like the 53 Buick Skylark, 53 Olds Fiesta, 56 & 57 Lincoln Continental and the 57 Cadillac Brougham had specific paint and interior choices, but since they were painted on their own special lines, it wasn't all that difficult to order a special color...you just had to pay a hefty premium,

Factory Executive Cars. You had to be pretty high up on the food chain to get one of these cars that were, for the most part, painted in the corporate design shops. Harley Earl took it a step further than most by having special models built for his pleasure,

Fleets, of course, could have any color/combination they wanted if the order was sizable enough.

As for the rest of us...Back in the '50s you and I pretty much took what the manufacturer offered. All the major manufacturers took great pains to choose colors, both interior and exterior, that gave the best viewing impression and offered the greatest curbside appeal, and they made few if any exceptions to the general public depending on the dealer body to handle special requests.

Let's look at the 1953 Ford model line for example, starting with the Victoria 2 door hardtop.  The Vicky was available in a single solid color, Sungate Ivory, and 8 no extra cost two-tone combinations. The scan below is from one of the original factory brochures that attests to these facts.

The 53 Sunliner was chosen to be the Pace car for the Indy 500 in 53 to honor Ford's 50th anniversary. It was painted in 'Pace Car White' which is a very close match to what would become 1956 Mercury Classic White. Ford also made available to dealers a Pace car edition in Sungate Ivory with a special gold and black interior. Dealers could also purchase the Pace car decals for use on convertibles out of their inventory and evidently a few did, so it's kosher to build yours in any available light color (parts of the decal set were in black),  just remember to use stock interior colors for it. By the way, the convertible was the only passenger car available in red.

The sedan delivery could be had in all colors available on station wagons, and Mainline 2 and 4 door sedans plus the business/club coupe had no two-tone options at all even though they had the same chrome belt line strip used on Customline models to separate two colors.

The Pace Car Convertible and the Victoria are available from Lindberg, the sedan Delivery, Country Squire, Customline 2 door sedan and Mainline 4 door sedan are available from STAR Models uncleaned and from the Resin Realm cleaned and ready for primer (the Resin Realm version of the Country Squire and Sedan Delivery include the color of your choice in a one ounce bottle of single stage acrylic enamel). A Ranch Wagon is also available from STAR Models.

Look for more color facts here in the near future. If you're a strictly stock builder you might find them useful. And please remember too, that we have all 1953 Ford paint in stock including Spring Colors for those of you wishing to build a 'Documented' Car.

Thanks for stopping by and happy Modeling

Jerry K

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