The Columbia Wagon Co.
Circa 1900: Early car manufactures were also carriage makers. The cars made by them and others were painted carriage colors.


Rogers Paint & Varnishes
Circa 1914: Although color selection was enlarged, paint technology had not progressed beyond varnishes and japan color. Wagons were still the largest user of paint and varnishes for that purpose.


Murphy's Color Book
Circa 1922: By the early twentites the trend shifted to more colors and more standardization. the mid-twenties brought lacquer to the auto industry with speed and specialzation.


Intermix or IM Colors
The beginning of auto color codes around 1928 was the Intermix or IM code system. This selection of standard colors, was used in the twenties and thirties. Many of the colors were used with different names for the same color, depending on whether it was on the Ford or a Pierce Arrow (example Vineyard Green).


Colors of the Era
Gives you some painting schemes that were suggested by paint manufacturers on the mid to late 20's and early 30's autos often including 2-tone plus an additional stripe and accent color.

All the colors can be reproduced in today's auto finishes: acrylic lacquer, acrylic urethanes, acrylic enamels or basecoat/ clearcoat, all with the muted hues of yesteryear.

Modern car colors do not work well on cars manufactured prior to the early 60s. Modern car colors are formulated to appear bright and are made with 50-80 choices of toners and clears. Modern colors look out of place on antique and collector cars. Colors on all older cars were made from a selection of only 12 to 15 toners, all that were available with the chemistry of the time.