Candy Apple Red is a distinctive automotive paint color that has been used on cars since the 1950s. The name refers to the bright red hue similar to that of a candy apple. Over the years, Candy Apple Red has been offered on models from several major automakers.
History of Candy Apple Red
The exact origins of Candy Apple Red as an automotive paint color are unclear, but it emerged as a popular offering in the 1950s and 1960s. During this era, car colors were shifting away from more traditional black, gray, and tan hues and towards bold, vibrant colors. Candy Apple Red was one of several bright red metallic paints that became fashionable in the postwar era.
General Motors is often credited with first using Candy Apple Red, offering it on the Chevrolet Corvette in the late 1950s. It was also used by Ford on some models like the Thunderbird. The vivid red color was a bold styling statement and often associated with sports cars and high-performance vehicles.
The name Candy Apple Red is a reference to the shiny, glossy finish reminiscent of candy apples. It was one of many evocative paint color names Detroit automakers used during this era, along with names like Plum Crazy, Limelight, and Lemon Twist.
Candy Apple Red on Iconic Cars
Candy Apple Red has adorned some of the most iconic American cars through the decades:
– 1958-1960 Chevrolet Corvette – The 2nd generation Corvette was the first model offered in Candy Apple Red. It showed off the fiberglass-bodied sports car’s curvaceous new design.
– 1964-1966 Ford Mustang – The original Pony Car could be ordered in vibrant Candy Apple Red, which suited its sporty image. It remains one of the most remembered Mustang colors.
– 1968-1970 Dodge Charger – The Coke bottle styling of the iconic Charger muscle car was accentuated by bright Candy Apple Red paint. It was a bold hue choice for a brash, powerful car.
– 1970 Chevrolet Chevelle SS – The Chevelle SS muscle car is forever linked to Citrus Green and Cranberry Red, but Candy Apple Red was also a popular choice.
– 1993-2002 Chevrolet Camaro – After a hiatus, the Camaro returned in the 1990s with Candy Apple Red as an option once again. It carried on the model’s tradition of vibrant colors.
Candy Apple Red in Modern Times
While Candy Apple Red faded from use in the 1980s and 1990s, automakers brought it back for heritage models starting in the 2000s. It remains an iconic color tied to sporty American cars.
Some newer vehicles that have offered Candy Apple Red:
– 2005 Ford Mustang – The retro-styled 5th generation Mustang brought back Candy Apple Red to evoke 1960s Pony Cars.
– 2009 Chevrolet Camaro – GM connected the reborn Camaro to its roots by listing Candy Apple Red, harkening back to the 1960s.
– 2012 Dodge Challenger – Candy Apple Red joined other bright heritage colors on the Challenger muscle car revival.
– 2020 Chevrolet Corvette – The mid-engine C8 Corvette had a Candy Apple Red Tintcoat choice in tribute to the first Corvettes.
Candy Apple Red Color Formulas
The specific pigments and paint formulas used to produce Candy Apple Red have varied over the decades:
– 1950s – First red metallic paints were derived from iron oxide pigments. These produced a bright red with a sparkling finish.
– 1960s – Red metalflake and other effects added more depth and brilliance to the color.
– 1970s – Candy Apple Red used a transparent red over a silver base for a wet-look shine.
– Modern – OEMs use complex formulas with pigments like cadmium and organic reds. Candy Apple Red is often a 3-stage paint job for maximum luster.
Aftermarket paint suppliers also have their own formulations for Candy Apple Red to match factory colors. There are slight variations between different brands. Modern pigments lead to brighter, longer-lasting paint compared to the original 1950s Candy Apple Red.
Candy Apple Red vs. Other Reds
Candy Apple Red is sometimes confused with other similar red automotive paint colors. Here are how some shades differ:
– TorRed – A modern red metallic used on brands like Toyota and Nissan. Slightly darker and less vibrant than Candy Apple Red.
– Victory Red – A rich red hue used by Dodge, similar but not as bright as Candy Apple Red.
– Torch Red – A popular red on GM trucks and SUVs. Not as pinkish as Candy Apple Red.
– Target Top Red – A lighter, slightly orange-tinted red used by AMC in the 1970s on models like the Gremlin and Pacer.
– Mazda Soul Red Crystal – A deep modern red with highlights, but not the metallic look of Candy Apple Red.
Candy Apple Red remains the most iconic, uniquely American bright red automotive paint color. While other reds come and go, it has persisted over decades and models. The glossy, almost translucent hue epitomizes sports cars and muscle cars of the 1950s through the 1970s. For collectors and enthusiasts today, original factory-correct Candy Apple Red paint is highly desirable. This rich, indulgent color makes any car stand out from the crowd. When you see a car painted Candy Apple Red, you instantly recognize an iconic color of the American automotive landscape.
Candy Apple Red first emerged in the late 1950s as a bold new automotive paint color for American cars like the Chevrolet Corvette. Its bright, glossy red finish evoked candy apples and quickly gained popularity through the 1960s muscle car era. While it faded from use in the 1980s, Candy Apple Red made a comeback as a heritage color for revived models like the Ford Mustang and Chevrolet Camaro. Today it remains an iconic shade that represents an era of flamboyant American sports cars. Candy Apple Red stands out as a unique automotive paint color with decades of history behind it. For collectors and enthusiasts, having this correct shade is important to preserving the character of classic American cars. More than just a paint color, Candy Apple Red is an integral part of automotive history.