Car makers and buyers generally play it pretty safe, color-wise. If you happen to be in a high-rise right now or reading this on your daily hang-glide, just look down and see. It's mostly a sea of silvers and deep maroons, whites, and some blues*. There's exceptions, sure, but generally, colors stay safe.
Land Rover, however, is being a bit more daring for their new Range Rover, with factory options for color-shifting paint.
Even though some of our friends think this is new, these "spectral" colors appear to be offered on current Range Rovers. Plus, you've been seeing them for years on poorly customized Sentras and 280Zs with lots of wings and plastic bodykit. Hell, you can buy the stuff in a rattle can.
According to our global know-it-all, it works like this:
The effect is achieved by interfering with the reflection and refraction of light from the painted object's surface. The paint contains tiny synthetic flakes about one micrometre thick. The flakes are constructed of aluminium coated with glass-like magnesium fluoride embedded in semi-translucent chromium. The aluminium and chrome gives the paint a vibrant metallic sparkle, while the glass-like coating acts like a refracting prism, changing the apparent color of the surface as the observer moves around. Interestingly, ChromaFlair paints contain no conventional absorbing pigments, rather it is a "light interference pigment": the color observed is created entirely by the refractive properties of the flakes (analogous to how people perceive rainbow colors in oil slicks).
It sounds like I'm being harsh, but that's not what I mean. I actually like the kooky color-shifty paint. I think collectively, it's a good thing for people to open up about car colors and to try new, dynamic things with the surface look of our cars. Sure, some will be wildly tacky, but experimentation eventually will breed something interesting and appealing. So I'm all for Land Rover taking some chances.
Now their model names for the Range Rover, that's another story. Vogue and Autobiography? Autobiography? Land Rover owes me a vomit-free keyboard.
And, it seems, pants. Dammit.
* If you're seeing a lot of yellow cars, you're over New York, so watch out for buildings. (oh, and thanks, Tom!)