Mystic — The Look of Car Colors to Come
Mount Olive, NJ, February 12, 1996 — Today, the first cars to be painted with a revolutionary new automotive coating start rolling off the assembly lines. Soon buyers will be able to purchase 1996 Ford Mustang® Cobra coupes coated in an innovative paint color called “Mystic”.
This amazing new automotive finish appears emerald, purple, black, blue, teal, maroon, and gold depending on the angle from which it’s viewed. As viewers change their angle of view, the color miraculously changes right before their eyes like an opal. The phenomenon, known as “travel” or “flop” in the industry, involves color changes dependent on the relative angle between the light source and the viewer’s eye. At every new angle the viewer sees a new color.
This truly remarkable paint color is the result of a cooperative effort between BASF Corporation, Ford Motor Company and Flex Products, Inc. “This unique pigment should be viewed as breakthrough technology,” said Jon Hall, BASF’s chief color designer.
The project began when Al Calfin of Ford’s Color and Trim department became aware of unique ChromaFlair® interference pigments which Flex Products had developed. Ford brought in automotive coatings supplier BASF to work with Flex Products and evaluate and test the pigments’ ability to become an automotive finish.
“The pigments needed full testing and evaluation which BASF conducted while working closely with Ford,” said Jerry Droll of Flex Products. It was felt that BASF, a leader in coatings and colorants technology, was uniquely competent to handle the new color development. BASF was chosen to conduct research on applying these innovative pigments to automotive applications and to help perfect the technology for coatings.
For three years, Ford completed experiments with a variety of the new-technology paint colors supplied by BASF. “From a commercial point of view, we were looking for something wild,” said Hall. Ford tested the output on a number of vehicle platforms from pick-up trucks and vans to luxury sedans. At the same time, BASF conducted tests to ensure the durability of the finish. Ford decided to debut the new paint color on their 1996 Mustang(R) Cobra coupe. These high-performance cars, equipped with 305-horsepower, 4.6-liter double overhead cam (DOHC) Cobra V-8 engines, deserve to be coated in an equally high-tech paint finish. The sleek lines of the car are perfect for showcasing Mystic’s prismatic color effect.
An exclusive run of just 2,000 Special Vehicle Team (SVT) Mustang® Cobra coupes will receive the remarkable new Mystic color. Other Mustang® Cobra coupes will get the standard colors of Laser Red, White and Black. These limited production cars will be sold only through SVT- certified Ford dealers. The price for the optional color selection, Mystic Clearcoat Metallic, is an additional $815 due to the higher cost for the unique pigment. BASF produces the new coating at its Detroit, Michigan manufacturing facility, one of several plants meeting the needs of auto makers in North America and part of BASF’s integrated production network supplying the transportation industry around the globe. The paint is shipped to Ford’s assembly plant in Dearborn, Michigan and to Ford’s suppliers for trim and parts. Up front development work ensured that the paint is easy to match on car trim components.
But what happens if cars with this brand new, state-of-the- art finish need repairs? If you think repairs will be tough, think again. The two-step Mystic color refinish is very easy to apply and it gives even better results than standard two-coat refinish approaches.
Automotive Refinish Technologies, Inc., a subsidiary of BASF Corporation, will supply Mystic color refinish materials for these limited edition cars. BASF representatives will counsel any repair technicians who may not be familiar with BASF refinish paint.
“This is the future of automotive color styling, because of the effect you can achieve,” says Patrick Mormile, applications supervisor, at BASF’s Automotive Refinish Application & Training Center south of Detroit. “The degree to which you can obtain a color shift effect in a paint has never been this great.”
Although the Mystic color finish is just starting to be commercially available, industry experts believe it will eventually command a substantial share of the color market, once people see the shifting array of colors they can get. “In just a few years, many vehicles will be covered with prismatic coatings,” says Frank McKulka, BASF’s group vice president for automotive OEM coatings. “We are anticipating substantial consumer demand for auto coatings containing special effect pigments.”
BASF Corporation, with headquarters in Mount Olive, NJ, is the North American member of the BASF Group. It is among the ten largest chemical companies in the United States and produces coatings, colorants, polymers, chemicals, fibers, and consumer products, such as vitamins and pharmaceuticals. The company, which had 1995 sales of over $6.3 billion, has approximately 15,000 employees and 40 major production sites in North America.