The History of Car Paint

The paint job is one of the first things people notice when looking at your car. Automobiles with bright color and high gloss topcoats are what draws people’s eyes. When a car looks faded, dull and lackluster, it will look old no matter how new or good of shape it is in. However, automotive paint, wasn’t always what it is today. History provides a very interesting understanding of the development of modern automotive painting processes. Take a look at how the different technologies of painting have changed through the generations below. 

THE ROARING 20’S

The discovery of chrome plating and paint guns- in the 1920s Ford Motor Company revolutionized the automotive paint industry and started using paints made from nitrocellulose lacquers on assembly lines, this formula dried significantly faster than the older varnishes making it the choice car varnish. 1924 was the year of the chrome plating and spray gun advancement. Colin Fink and Charles Eldridge of Colombia University discovered this process making it the most popular of its time.

The 1930’s

Spay on chrome was all the hype in the ’30s, these paints provided glossier shine and much faster drying times. Dr. William Peackock was the first to develop the silvering spray to silver mirrors. Originally, mirrors were extremely expensive because they were individually produced by master craftsmen. With Dr. Peacocks 1932 discovery, thousands of mirrors were being manufactured each day, lowering the cost and making them widely available.  

The Age of Acrylics: 1950’s and 60’s 

In 1955, General Motors started using a new paint technology that required a base layer of new acrylic paint to be applied followed by the car being baked to give the car a consistent finish. This process was still under development as the finish was not as glossy as the stoving enamels that were previously being used. In 1960, Ford Motor Co. changed the game and began using acrylic stoving enamels which gave the long-lasting tough finish with the same eye-catching shine as the earlier technology.

The 1980’s: POLYURETHANE AND URETHANE

The late 80s brought the usage of urethane and polyurethane paints on vehicles. Car manufactures deemed this the most practical of its time. After the application, multiple clear coats were then applied which resulted in durable ad highly glossy finishes. 

TODAY

As the technology of automotive painting continues to evolve, some car manufacturers now use a process called electrocoating. This process submerges vehicles into a primer bath using electric currents to bind the coating to the metal of the frame of the car.  Here at Ric’s Body and Paint, we specialize in collision repair. We use not only quality automotive paint but also environmentally safe paint. Our painters are certified by PPG to use Aquabase Plus, a waterborne basecoat paint.

From the times of chrome to present-day techniques, such as Aqueabse Plus, a lot has changed in the car paint world. At Ric’s Body and Paint, we find innovative ways to integrate new technology to provide precise color alignment to solid colors and metallic—including today’s tri-coat pearl and special effect colors. To learn more about Ric’s and getting your vehicle back to like “it never happened” condition contact us today.

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