Colour at the Motor Show

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Lighter and brighter—this was the trend in car colours at the International Motor Show. In particular, coffee and cream shades have been used extensively, both individually and in two-tone combinations.

Duo-tone schemes were again a feature of the Show, not so much by force of numbers, but by the use of colour combinations, which are bolder and more imaginative than in previous years. Colour divisions seldom coincided with the centre line of the cars—in some eases, roofs only were painted in the second colour; in others, the roof colour was repeated in a waistline ” flare” with the upper and lower body sections in contrast. More noticeable than ever this year was the important part colour can play in motor car design, and in many cases the use of two colours was evidently an integral part of the design conception.

These were among the facts to emerge from the annual investigation of Motor Show colours, conducted by the Paints Division of Imperial Chemical Industries Limited, principal suppliers to the British motor industry.

Metallic finishes as a class showed something of a revival after losing favour last year and they, too, followed the trend toward brighter colours; the dark greys, so familiar a few years ago, have given way almost entirely to cleaner, lighter shades.

The number of all-black cars was the lowest ever—a mere 3½ per cent. of the total —and the proportion of exhibits in full colours and pastel shades remained much as last year.

Of the full colours reds and maroons slipped a little from their high position in 1957 but were still the most popular. Full, bright blues gained in favour and greens continued the decline that has been evident since 1955.

The decline in pastel coloured exhibits noticed in last year’s survey was halted—due largely to the swing towards creams, ivories and “coffee” colours and not to any strong revival of the other pastel shades. Greys increased slightly over last year but there were fewer cars in pastel blues and greens.

Although metallic finishes were used on more exhibits as single colours their use in dual-colour schemes, whether combined with a “straight” colour or with another metallic, decreased sharply compared with 1957. Duo-tones composed of two metallic finishes have in fact declined steadily over recent years.

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