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Is It Time To Reintroduce 2-Tone Exteriors?

hpmctorquehpmctorque Member Posts: 4,600
edited July 2014 in Maybach
Two tone paint jobs (and sometimes even three) had their post-war hayday in the '50s. Arguably, the popularity of vinyl tops in the '60s and '70s kept the trend going longer, albeit in a different form.

With cars becoming more generic in appearance in recent years, would tastefully done two tone exteriors allow designers to add some positive visual interest to car styling? Could this complement recent improvements in interior designs of many models?

Take a look at drawings of the Maybach coupe (by Xenatec) that will be introduced. You can view it on the AutoWeek site. What do you think of its two tone styling?


  • steverstever Guest Posts: 52,454
    My '97 Outback has that lower body cladding that's painted a neutral dark color. It works ok with the red sheetmetal.

    I've always been fond of old VW Bugs with doors that contrast with the rest of the body. And don't forget the MINI roof treatments.

    Works for me. I'm not quite ready for airbrushed van sides again though. :)
  • andre1969andre1969 Member Posts: 25,554
    When two-toning made a bit of a comeback in the late 70's, I thought it worked really well on the angular cars of the time, because they had creases that gave a logical "break point" between the two colors. Even if the cars had a little bit of curviness to them, it still often worked. For instance, I had an '86 Monte Carlo that I thought looked great, with its 2-tone gray-over-silver.

    Once the cars started getting more aerodynamic though, it seemed like two-toning really started limiting itself to the lower body, and was often accomplished with plastic cladding.

    Nowadays though, cars are enough of a mix-and-match in styling, with re-hashes of styling themes that have come and gone before, that it might work on some of them. For instance, I think 2-toning would look good on something like a Chrysler 300. It's squared-off enough to pull it off.

    That Maybach coupe manages to look rounded and slab-sided at the same time, and has strong enough creases to pull off that two-toning, IMO.
  • euphoniumeuphonium Member Posts: 3,425
    White Sidewall tires make a comeback as well? For those who park by Braile, not. :blush:
  • fintailfintail Member Posts: 56,759
    I think you're right. For me anyway, two toning looks a lot better on an angular car. For slightly rounder cars, it can only be pulled off with lower body differentiation, like on many 80s era MB.

    I don't see it coming back...I bet the expense alone, especially on non-cladding setups, makes it prohibitive.
  • explorerx4explorerx4 Member Posts: 18,928
    edited May 2010
    they make tires that have curb protection built in. i have a set. :surprise:
    one the best 70's cars for a two tone paint job was a mid/late monte carlo.
    2023 Ford Explorer ST, 91 Mustang GT vert
  • writerwriter Member Posts: 121
    I think that if the "tuner" market sees an interest in two-tone paints then the manufacturers might put an effort into bringing them out. I do not think you could say that has been much sign of such a trend yet.

    I was actually thinking about doing this to my last previous car, until I got it in an accident and had to replace it.
  • davv62davv62 Member Posts: 76
    I'd say no. I remember the ugly two-tone cars from the '70s and '80s.
  • smarty666smarty666 Member Posts: 1,503
    edited June 2010
    GM seems to be going to the two tone route. I mean, they first brought it back with the 08 Malibu with the light colored interior choices and I think the new LaCrosse does that a little bit in the gray and beige colored interiors, so does the Equinox, etc and they seem to be sticking with it!

    What will be interesting to see, is if Honda, Nissan, and Toyota copy and have two tone options on their next round of redesigned models, Altima/Camry next year, followed by the Accord the year after!
  • xrunner2xrunner2 Member Posts: 3,062
    edited June 2010
    I had a 1986 Chevy, er Chevrolet, Suburban for many years that was two-tone. There were a number of choices of two-tones. Mine looked pretty good until the silver-gray on the hood and the roof started to deteriorate.

    The black on the sides was very rich and deep and shined up well. It took a lot of work to get a shine on the hood.

    The roof was another story. In the later years, kept it till late 2003, I had to get up on a ladder (twice over time) with orbital sander and fine sandpaper to remove remnants of paint and very light rust. Roof never rusted through. I was lucky to find popular brand spray can paint (Rustoleum), masked off the sides and hood and used many cans to spray. It matched the original color very well. Unless you were a basketball player, you could not really see the top of roof, only a little bit of it.

    I decided to refinish the roof by myself when I got some estimates from auto paint shops that quoted the work to be more than the value of the truck.
  • uplanderguyuplanderguy Member Posts: 15,822
    I, too, was happy when two-tones became commonplace again, in the late '70's. I especially liked it on the downsized Impalas and Caprices, and also the Malibus, '78 and later. My first new car was a factory two-tone light jade over dark jade '81 V8 Monte Carlo. The roof and hood were light and the rest of the car, dark.

    Unfortunately, the divider decals GM used then were no more durable than a model-car decal, and often washed or flaked off too soon.

    I'd be all for two-toning again. That, and red and blue as interior colors.

    Remember the '76 Monte Carlo "Fashion Tone" two-tone? There was a huge blob of second color around the 'pontoon' lines of the front fender and onto the door. Worst-looking two-tone ever, IMHO. And otherwise, back then at least, I was a big fan of that Monte Carlo generation.

  • fintailfintail Member Posts: 56,759

    This isn't beautiful? :shades:
  • smarty666smarty666 Member Posts: 1,503
    Oh my God :surprise: !!! Nice pimp mobile you got there ;)
  • omarmanomarman Member Posts: 2,702
    I've always been fond of old VW Bugs with doors that contrast with the rest of the body.

    And now for something completely different...inspired by the VW Polo Harlequin:

    A time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing.
  • iwant12iwant12 Member Posts: 269
    Look how thin (narrow) those A-pillars were back then!

    There was a Chip Foose Mustang a year or so ago that was two tone, and I thought it was a looker.
  • fintailfintail Member Posts: 56,759
    Fintails look good in 2-tone (and wide whites)

  • fintailfintail Member Posts: 56,759
    Yeah, the Custom Cloud wasn't sponsored by GM...just 70s tackiness in vehicle form. Your linked car is much better.
  • andre1969andre1969 Member Posts: 25,554
    My first new car was a factory two-tone light jade over dark jade '81 V8 Monte Carlo. The roof and hood were light and the rest of the car, dark.

    Do you have any old pics of that Monte that you could scan and post? I'd LOVE to see that...sounds like a gorgeous car! My '82 Cutlass Supreme was only one color, light jadestone, I think. There was another color GM had that year that they simply called "silver-green poly", and it looks close enough to that light jadestone that I can't tell which one my car was!

    I remember one day, driving to a junkyard in my Cutlass to find some new grille inserts, I passed another Cutlass of similar vintage that was the dark jadestone. That was the only time I think I've seen a car in the dark jadestone. It was beautiful. I imagine a two-tone of the two must have been drop-dead gorgeous!

    About the closest I've seen to that 2-tone was a 1979 Dodge St. Regis that used to be in my neighborhood. It was this color scheme. And ironically enough, it went up for sale the day after I bought my '79 NY'er 5th Ave, for only $500! My 5th Ave has a bigger engine and is more luxurious, with leather and power galore, but I'd much rather have that 2-tone green! If I'd had the money to buy it and a place to store it, I probably would have bought it, too. But this was like a month after 9/11, when the economy was plummetting, and I had just quit my second job delivering I didn't exactly have money to burn!
  • uplanderguyuplanderguy Member Posts: 15,822
    I do have a decent photo of the car after I cleaned it all up, but unfortunately don't own a scanner and am otherwise a 'low tech' guy!

    In '81 the Dark Jade was lighter than the '82 Dark Jade I also had on an '82 V6 Monte Carlo that I bought to replace the '81 when it was stolen and not recovered. I much-preferred the '81 for its V8 (even though a 267) and the narrow bodyside molding. In '82 they had a wide molding that (IMHO) was too low and too closely situated to the rocker molding.

    My '81 had the V8, posi, AM/FM radio w/ rear seat speaker, tinted glass, whitewalls, remote-control outside (chrome) mirror, and Custom Two-Tone paint. It had the standard metal full-wheel covers. For options, that was it. No air. Come to think of it, it had the tilt wheel too. Odd options. Most Montes in '81 were the V6. My folks had an '80 Monte V6 and although it had Rally Wheels, belt moldings and sport mirrors my '81 didn't, I much-preferred the '81 styling, and the V6 sounded agricultural to my ears!

    My parents' '80 was a dark green with gold factory pinstripe. It was sharp in its own way.

  • berriberri Member Posts: 10,165
    Nice pix - That's back when a Mercedes looked unique and could be spotted a block away.
  • berriberri Member Posts: 10,165
    If two tone comes back, will that mean whitewalls and vinyl roofs too?

    Green shades are unusual in that they are always coming in and going out of style for some reason. I once owned a' 71 Plymouth Sebring in dark green with a gold pinstripe. Nowadays I prefer silvers and golds that don't show dirt.
This discussion has been closed.