Metallic paint

Metallic paint

Metallic paint, also called polychromatic or "metal flake" paint, is used on the majority of new automobiles sold.[citation needed] Metallic paint can reveal the contours of bodywork more than non-metallic, or "solid" paint, Close-up, the small metal flakes included in the paint create a sparkling effect.


Metallics nearly always consist of a base coat with a clear lacquer or urethane top coat for protection and extra gloss. Historically, it was difficult to achieve an invisible repair if the paint was damaged because it is critical at which angle the flakes in the paint lie. Modern techniques have more or less eliminated this problem.


Two rarer variations are pearlescent paint, which appears as subtly different colours depending on the angle and intensity of the light, and "flip" colours where the colour changes more radically (e.g. from purple to orange) depending on the viewing angle. Flip colours have been used by Nissan on some special bits, and are frequently associated with TVR cars.

A final variation, hardly ever used on automobiles but common on bikes and motorcycles, is "flamboyant" or "candy apple" paint. This consists of a metallic silver base coat covered with a translucent coloured lacquer, or more commonly urethane. Flamboyant paint gives an unusual effect of depth, but is almost impossible to touch up after damage without leaving an obvious mark.


Manufacturers almost always charge a premium for the "option" of metallic paint on a new vehicle, although metallics usually account for all but one or two of the colours from the palette available (only red, black, and white are available as solid colours from many makers). The price premium is around GBP £500 or USD $1000 for a large car. Most buyers choose to pay it, in some cases merely to maintain resale value. Given that having a car subsequently resprayed in a metallic colour is no more expensive than for a solid colour, many consider the price premium for metallic paint as a way to boost the base price of a new paint.

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