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You are wrong. We just call them as we see them. No one here said to stay out of discussions. And it is okay to voice your side but when you get argumentative, then we step in. And there are several here that restore these cars for a living and they know them inside out. And 1 book doesn`t always have the correct answer and sometimes just 1 persons opinion. So you should also listen when someone here says that author ir wrong.
Terry
Well said.

The way I see it - we're here to socialize and to help each other out. New knowledge is gained through constructive discussion.

As far as one book not always having the correct answer - heck, sometimes original GM documentation doesn't even agree. I ran across a new case of that this past week.

Now, what percentage of tri-fives were originally painted a given color really isn't all that important in the grand scheme of things. OTOH, it's a legitimate question to ask. Better to put our heads together on it and reach a decisive "we'll never know" than to allow misinformation to propagate until everyone believes "fabricated facts".
 

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It's been mentioned that we have records of exactly how many cars of each model and body style were produced, but no data on their colors. For a moment, let's stop thinking like a car guy and think like a car company.

GM, being publicly held, had to report its earnings both to the IRS and the SEC. If you look at an income statement in a company annual report, the first two line items are 'total sales" and "cost of goods sold". GM cannot possibly know those numbers unless it knows the exact number of cars (and trucks) of each model and body style it sold. Each model and body style had a different price sold to the dealers and a different cost structure.

Accounting for sales and costs is a huge task in a company the size of GM. For example - I just bought a NOS accelerator pump in the original orange Rochester Products box. Now whatever year that accelerator pump was made - somebody somewhere in GM's accounting department had to tally up all the replacement accelerator pumps GM made and sold that year, because sales of replacement parts figure into overall sales and costs. And that's just one itty-bitty replacement part...

You never know when the IRS or SEC might stop by and have a few questions about the financial reporting. So, GM had to be able to say exactly what cars they sold, even several years earlier.

On the other hand - there's paint.

The purchasing department is very interested in how many gallons per week of each color paint is used, because they have to keep the appropriate amount on order and in inventory. Total weekly usage and trend is very important, but what car the paint goes on isn't important to them. Even if a few colors have a surcharge, it's the average cost of the paint used per car that matters to the accounting department.

The styling and marketing department are also interested in the quantities of paint used, as it's a good measure of what the public likes. Now, they might also be interested in what colors sell best on what models for future planning. But, once the model year is over and the next year or two has been planned, those statistics lose value pretty quickly. Undoubtedly, there are memos circulating keeping tabs on these things, but there's no reason to save them after the model year is finished.
 

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Please note guys....Any further replies to this thread that are not discussing car colors will be deleted.
 

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57 210 post dressed as a Bel Air
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There are certain color combinations that I like even though I wouldn't want them for my own car. Kind of like that Nomad, I like the way the colors play off each other but I wouldn't want it for my own car.
Edit to add that a 56 chevy is the perfect car for two tone paint. 55's as well but a 56 just needs two tones...in my humble opinion.
 

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My 55 BelAir sportcoupe was originally painted Neptune green on the roof, deck and upper qt's. And Shoreline beige on the hood, fenders and lower qt's. It was a I6 standard heater also.
Couldn't have been many that way? IDK.
Todd
Have you checked the paint code, or codes that are listed on the trim tag plate (located on the top of the firewall) to see if your car left the factory that way? Reason I ask is I have my Grandpa's 55 Sport couple he bought new, and it was Harvest Gold lower with Neptune Green upper...but the trim tag only shows the code for Harvest Gold. I'm assuming two tone cars have both #s on the trim tag? Guessing maybe the dealer shot the green upper on my car to make it a two tone. My grandmother told me that back in the day, when she left the department store and jumped in her car, the key wouldn't work...meaning it was the same color combo, but not her car. Hard to believe you would see that color combo around...maybe just a fluke. G-pa bought the car in San Francisco, CA....built in Oakland. I've read that most early 55's were a single color...not sure if thats true.
 

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I've always been interested in the stock factory colors on our beautiful cars. While I don't know if there might be regional aspects to the number of orders they took on these per color, I thought it might be fun to quiz you originality experts. I'll nominate two or three colors per year as rarest and most common, I am interested in your thoughts. We know Chevy didn't keep track of number of cars produced in each color, but our anecdotal observations must be worth something!

1955
Rare:
Autumn Bronze, solid or in a two-tone
Onyx Black solid or with India Ivory (not super rare but not common)
Shoreline Beige or India Ivory as a solid color
Copper Maroon
Navajo Tan seems fairly rare

Common:
Regal Turquoise/India Ivory
Glacier Blue
Neptune Green
Shadow Gray/Coral (I hesitate to say this great combo was exactly common, but I have seen a fair number of them over the years)

1956
Rare:
Dusk Plum/India Ivory
Inca Silver/Imperial Ivory
Dawn Gray (I'm vague on what this looked like; maybe I've mistaken it for Inca Silver).
India Ivory as a solid color
Onyx Black as a solid color on Bel Airs.

Common:
Matador Red/Ivory or Beige
Sierra Gold/Adobe Beige
Crocus Yellow/Onyx Black- my favorite '56 combo. Not super common, but I've seen a fair number over the years.
Tropical Turquoise/India Ivory

1957
Rare:
Laurel Green with or without Colonial Cream
Coronado Yellow solid or w/India Ivory
Harbor Blue (not super rare but kinda uncommon)
Larkspur Blue (ditto)
Highland Green (ditto)
Surf Green
Adobe Beige as a solid color
India Ivory as a solid color

Common:
Matador Red/India Ivory (on BelAirs, anyway)
Sierra Gold/Adobe Beige
Onyx Black (much more common on '57s than 55 or 56 I think)
Tropical Turquoise/India Ivory
Canyon Coral/India Ivory
Colonial Cream/India Ivory
Dusk Pearl/Imperial Ivory

Note that color I listed first above is main body color, second is top or contrast color. And in this era a solid color of any kind is rarer than a two-tone, except for the 150s.

Of interest to me also are possibility that certain colors are more common on certain models or bodies. For example, for awhile it seemed to me that every 1957 210 four-door sedan was Canyon Coral, whereas you would rarely see a Bel-Air Sport Coupe in that color. Also, Matador Red was often found on Sport Coupes but seemed rare on 150s.

Onyx Black seemed much more popular in 1957 than '55 or '56. Of course the speed streak on '57 BelAirs looks great on Black cars.

What do you guys think? Give me your rarest/commonest colors by year!
The 55 Bel Air I had almost 60 years ago and the one I have now came green and white from the factory. A customer's 55 wagon was solid Navajo tan originally and when I finished the repaint about 16 years ago.
 

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Have you checked the paint code, or codes that are listed on the trim tag plate (located on the top of the firewall) to see if your car left the factory that way? Reason I ask is I have my Grandpa's 55 Sport couple he bought new, and it was Harvest Gold lower with Neptune Green upper...but the trim tag only shows the code for Harvest Gold. I'm assuming two tone cars have both #s on the trim tag? Guessing maybe the dealer shot the green upper on my car to make it a two tone. My grandmother told me that back in the day, when she left the department store and jumped in her car, the key wouldn't work...meaning it was the same color combo, but not her car. Hard to believe you would see that color combo around...maybe just a fluke. G-pa bought the car in San Francisco, CA....built in Oakland. I've read that most early 55's were a single color...not sure if thats true.
Yes the trim tag is.........No 601-SPEC-S ..
Neptune Grn / Shoreline Bge.
And according to all the numbers I have only the sport coupe came in that color combination. I'm not saying that's true, that's just the information I have.
When I got the car in 1998 it had a bad turquoise and white paint job. I stripped that and the original Neptune green was under the flippers, dash and under side of the deck lid. And the firewall was beige underneath. It's now painted Tropical turquoise and white.
Todd
 

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1955 Bel Air 2drht
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Discussion Starter · #75 ·
That's a great and rare combo, it was a bit more popular in 1956 IMO. I know Chevy ran at least one ad with the car in this combo, used to have it in my collection of old car ads.


Back to original colors, I have only ever seen one 57 that had onyx black top with colonial cream like the pic below.

View attachment 365610
 

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Discussion Starter · #78 ·
There was a '56 Nomad in this combo at the 1976 Classic Chevy Convention in Tulsa. I think the owner's name was Ron Pittman, but it was a long time ago. The car was a 3 speed standard w V8, he took it down the dragstrip on drag night.



A 1956 Nomad in Crocus yellow and Onyx black is also very eye catching. It is hard to beat the two-toning scheme of a 1956!

Steve

View attachment 365641
 

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Yes the trim tag is.........No 601-SPEC-S ..
Neptune Grn / Shoreline Bge.
And according to all the numbers I have only the sport coupe came in that color combination. I'm not saying that's true, that's just the information I have.
When I got the car in 1998 it had a bad turquoise and white paint job. I stripped that and the original Neptune green was under the flippers, dash and under side of the deck lid. And the firewall was beige underneath. It's now painted Tropical turquoise and white.
Todd
Should have kept the original paint color and scheme.
 
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