Coby Gewertz 1934 ford hot rod, south city rod and custom, vertical paint stripes, vertical stripes hot rod

Paint Tips with Zane – Color Inspiration

After being cooped up in the shop for the first half of the winter, I always enjoy getting out and attending the Grand National Roadster Show at the end of January (or, this year, early February). Not only does this event attract big-time debuts with cars and trucks competing for the prestigious America’s Most Beautiful Roadster and Slonaker Award titles, it also showcases a huge variety of build styles from our hobby – everything from hot rods and customs, to lowriders, street machines, custom trucks, motorcycles, and even boats. As a painter, it’s a perfect place to get a little color inspiration to help shake off the winter blues.

Terri Hollenbeck t bucket, brizio t bucket, andy instant t, 1923 ford

Will bold graphics make a comeback? There were some great examples on display in Pomona, including the green fades and panels done by Mike Haas more than 50 years ago on Terri Hollenbeck’s T-bucket, the ’80-style stripes done by Hot Rods by Boyd on the chopped OBS GMC pickup the shop built in the late-’80s, and the controversial vertical stripes inspired by late-’60s drag racers on Coby Gewertz’s ’34 Ford coupe laid down by Compani Color.

body coddington OBS, Hot Rods By Body OBS, chris coddington OBS, sport truck, original OBS

This year’s show provided an expansive palette of color inspiration, with a full spectrum of hues and styles to feast your eyes on. From safe and simple solid colors, to bright and bold candies and expressive graphics and color combinations, there were colors and patterns to satisfy just about every taste and style. Given the show’s stature and its beginning-of-the-year timing, you could also argue that it provides a preview of the color trends and paint styles we might see more in the year ahead.

1932 ford, traditional hot rod, scallop paint

The paint on Brad Lindig’s ’32 Ford coupe is a great example of enduring style and quality. The maroon paint was applied in the ’50s and enhanced with tasteful signature striping by the famed Tommy “The Greek” Hrones from Northern California. It’s a style that still looks great more than a half century later.

If you’re looking for color or graphic ideas for your next project, a big event like this is a great place to gather inspiration. Perhaps you can home in on a specific shade of a color you have in mind for your car. Or maybe you’ll discover a hue you hadn’t considered before, one from a different branch of automotive culture that’s less common on your style of car. Give some thought to the attitude you want your car or truck to have and consider how color will affect that. After all, just like wheels and tires, color is a key to defining your car or truck’s style.

chip foose 1956 chevy nomad

Most of this year’s AMBR and Slonaker contenders used subdued colors – we saw several black and gray roadsters, along with a variety of earth tones, muted blues, and a few maroons and reds. One of the brighter Slonaker contenders was Ken Reister’s ’56 Nomad painted by Foose Design in a red and champagne two tone.

The accompanying photos above highlight a few of the things that stood out to my painter’s eye this year. Are they a sign of trends to come? That’s hard to say, but maybe they’ll provide some color inspiration for your next project.