Muscle Cars

Cars and Guitars: How They Used The Same Paint

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If you have ever wandered past a guitar shop and seen guitars from the 60s and 70s and thought their paint jobs were remarkably similar to some car colours, then don’t be surprised.


Fender and other guitar manufacturers at the time, used car paint for their guitars, simply as it was the easiest paints  to get hold of and the paints made the guitars look fantastic.
Some colour names were changed, but mostly they stayed the same in at least the early days.
As guitar manufacturers grew bigger and more popular, they started to use a wide variety of paint manufacturers. But in the majority of cases, these are the colours that were popular overall at the time. So why not use them.
Even today, many flat coloured guitars use primer, then a version of car paint on top, but mostly by DIY’ers.
Basically, no car paint, no guitar colors!




1968 Cadillac Eldorado in Topaz Firemist Gold (purchased by Elvis Presley!)
1969 Fender Stratocaster in Firemist Gold.



1965 Buick Wildcat in Burgundy Mist metallic.
1965 Fender Stratocaster in Burgundy Mist metallic

Common paint manufacturers










Example Car/Guitar Colors.


Pelham Blue Poly
Lacquer Source(s): DuPont 4038L
1960 Cadillac’s only. No other aliases. A lighter version of Fender’s Lake Placid Blue. Tied with Cardinal Red as the most popular custom Gibson color.


Cardinal Red
Lacquer Source(s): DuPont 2931L, Ppg DDL70961
Low VOC Source(s): DuPont 2931K
Original Car was 1959 Oldsmobile. Other aliases include Mandalay Red (59,62 Pontiac), Seminole Red (59 Cadillac), Tampico Red (59-61 Buick), Roman Red (59-62 Chevy), Chariot Red (62 Oldsmobile), Cardinal Red (62 Buick). One of the most popular Gibson custom color. Similar to Fender’s Dakota Red.
Used in 1959 by all GM lines. In 1960 all lines dropped the color except for Buick and Chevy, until 1961.
1962 the color was brought back to all GM lines, but the name “Cardinal Red” switched to the Buick name plate.


Ember Red
Lacquer Source(s): DuPont 2721L
Low VOC Source(s): DuPont 2721K
Original Car was 1958 Edsel. No other aliases. Similar to Fender’s Fiesta Red.


Polaris White
Lacquer Source(s): DuPont 2697L, Ppg DDL8160
Low VOC Source(s): DuPont 2697K
Original Car was 1959 Oldsmobile. Other Aliases include Cameo Ivory (59 Pontiac), Arctic White (59 Buick), Snowcrest White (58-59 Chevy). This color was actually first available in 1958 in the Chevy line as “Snowcrest White”. The name “Polaris White” was not used until 1959 in the Oldsmobile line. Similar to Fender’s Olympic White.


Golden Mist Poly
Lacquer Source(s): DuPont 2935L, Ppg DDL21722
Low VOC Source(s): DuPont 2935K
Original Car was 1959-1960 Oldsmobile. Other aliases include Shoreline Gold (59-60 Pontiac), Pearl Fawn (59-60 Buick), Fawn (60 Cadillac). The exact same color as Fender’s Shoreline Gold, just Gibson used the Oldsmobile name “Golden Mist” instead of the Pontiac name “Shoreline Gold”.


Silver Mist Poly
Lacquer Source(s): DuPont 2934L
Original Car was 1959 Oldsmobile. Other aliases include Silvermist Gray (59 Pontiac), Silver Birch (59 Buick), Silver Metallic (59 Cadillac), Grecian Gray (59 Chevy). Similar to Fender’s Inca Silver.


Heather Poly
Lacquer Source(s): DuPont 4304L, Ppg DDL71257
Original Car was 1962 Cadillac. No other aliases. A lighter version of Fender’s Burgundy Mist color.


Frost Blue
Lacquer Source(s): DuPont 2937L, Ppg DDL12003
Original Car was 1959 Oldsmobile. Other aliases include Castle Blue (59 Pontiac), Wedgewood Blue (59 Buick). Similar to Fender’s Sonic Blue.


Inverness Green Poly
Lacquer Source(s): DuPont 2940L, Ppg DDL42480
Original Car was 1959-1960 Cadillac. Other aliases include Jademist Green (59 Pontiac), Glacier Green (59 Buick), Emerald Mist (59 Olds). A very light version of Fender’s Sherwood Green.


Kerry Green
Lacquer Source(s): DuPont 4148L, Ppg DDL42838
Original Car was 1961 Buick. Other aliases include Seafoam Green (61 Chevy), Seacrest Green (61 Pontiac), Alpine Green (61 Olds). Similar to Fender’s Surf Green.



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