Research & Development

Secrets of Jeep's Wrangler paint jobs, details on future Gladiator color options revealed

Bikini, Hellayella, and Punk'n are all colors buyers can request on the exterior of their new Jeep Wrangler. The bursts of bright and daring paint job choices are different than any other vehicle in the Jeep lineup for good reason. It's because Wrangler owners aren't like any other vehicle owners according to Mark Allen, Head of Jeep Design.

To come up with the Wrangler's color palette, the exterior design team works hand in hand with other design studio personnel. It's an organic process that tries not to follow traditional corporate structure - something that works well for Allen and La Shirl Turner, Head of Advance Colors & Materials.

The process takes 12-18 months for the creation of a new paint color while the refresh of an old color shortens that timeline to three to six months.

2017 Jeep Wrangler Chief Edition

Photo courtesy of FCA US LLC

When developing a new color offering, the team looks at the balance of the paint job variety that Jeep offers after being sparked by inspiration. There are only so many blacks, whites, grays, and silvers - the "vinyl siding collection" Allen affectionately calls it - an automaker needs to have in their lineup.

They also check out what the current trends are, including the Pantone Color of the Year. For 2020, that shade is Classic Blue.

There are limits to what Jeep can do and most of it comes down to logistics. Plants only have the ability to execute so many colors at a time (about 10-12) and customers order colors in a variety of volumes (think less purple more gray). Jeep also likes to have the flexibility to rotate colors rapidly (every three to eight months), which keeps the offerings fresh for Wrangler customers and gives Jeep the ability to flex in and out special edition model colors, something they're keen on doing.

Jeep also takes into account the history of a color. In an interview, Allen said that Jeep receives "a lot of mail" about adding more greens to the Wrangler's color palette. The automaker has a long history with the color thanks to its origins as a military vehicle including Jungle, Forest, and Army Green variants, but traditionally, those colors do not sell well.

Turner says that Jeep also takes a look at colors that were popular in the past and tries to refresh them for modern buyers. Bikini was originally conceived in the 90s and is currently available on the 2020 Wrangler.

Do some of the colors look familiar? Jeep repurposes colors from other parts of the FCA lineup. However, the Jeep team renames the colors for no the reason than, "it's amusing to us" according to Allen. Simple enough.

The cost of the color development and deployment, which may have to be passed on to customers, is also part of the equation. Allen says that Jeep tries to offer, "Nieman Marcus colors at Costco prices." Currently, the pricing of most specialty Jeep paint jobs is under $200 per vehicle.

Other limitations lnclue the availability of the color choices for retractable roof materials (ordered well in advance from a third-party supplier) and whether or not the color works as a full body color.

These factors weren't always part of the equation. "There was a time in our not so distant past that Wrangler got the same colors as trucks," said Allen. New management came in and, with that, a new vision for Wrangler that allowed the design team to open up the color palette options.

Opening up color palette options is something Jeep Gladiator fans should get ready for. With initial Gladiator sales going well, Allen revealed that there are plans to expand the color palette offerings for the pickup truck, in the same vein as what is available on Wrangler.

Allen confirmed that there are currently no plans to offer the Wrangler or Gladiator with an unpainted steel exterior, something Tesla CEO Elon Musk is touting with the Cybertruck.

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A new collection of Rolls-Royce Black Badge models has made a very bright splash.

Photo courtesy of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars

Star light, star bright, what on Earth are the Rolls-Royce Black Badge Neon Nights? The bespoke automaker has announced a new limited edition collection of brightly colored models, dubbed the Neon Nights models. Dawn, Wraith, and Cullinan Black Badge vehicles have gotten the treatment.

"Neon Nights is a vibrant trilogy of Rolls-Royce Black Badges, whose inspiration come from nature. The newly developed Bespoke paint is applied to the Black Badge variants of Wraith, Dawn and Cullinan - the darker and edgier 'enfants terribles' of the Rolls-Royce family," said Sami Coultas, Bespoke Designer Color & Trim, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars. "Taking cues from the natural world, including an Australian green tree frog, a Hawaiian tree flower and an exotic butterfly, these limited hues show Black Badge bolder in color, appealing to patrons around the world who really do dare to be different."

Though originally conceived for clients in the U.S., the automaker has announced that three further iterations of each color are available for commission worldwide.

Rolls-Royce Black Badge Neon Nights

Photo courtesy of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars

Wraith Black Badge is finished in Lime Rock Green, a near-luminous hue naturally traditionally worn by the Australian green tree frog, an animal Coultas first encountered on a trip to Tamworth, north of Sydney, Australia. The interior features Scivaro Grey leather, with Lime Rock Green accents in the form of stitching and piping.

The Eagle Rock Red paint color created for the Dawn Black Badge that is part of the collection mimics the flowers of 'Ōhi'a lehua, an evergreen tree native to Hawaii. The Dawn's interior is finished in Selby Grey leather and has Koi Red stitching and piping details.

Rolls-Royce took inspiration from a butterfly for its Cullinan Black Badge Neon Nights iteration. Rhetus periander is known as the Periander metalmark, a species found across Central and South America, that is known for the vibrancy of its wings. That color was faithfully captured in Cullinan's Mirabeau Blue paint job, which is contrasted by an Arctic White leather interior with Lime Rock Green details.

In all three cars, the Technical Fibre fascia is embellished with a unique graphic that provides a neon glow and depicts the distortion of artificial light with speed.

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Subaru Motorsports takes center stage in the newest season of "Launch Control".

Photo courtesy of Subaru of America Inc.

The award-winning "Launch Control" documentary series will return December 2 for its eighth season. The show will air on YouTube and Amazon Prime Video.

Season 8 of "Launch Control" picks up where Season 7 left off. The Subaru team has just won the rally and rallycross championships but the future of the team is uncertain.

The program, which has been chronicling the Subaru Motorsports teams since 2013, documents the challenging 2020 season of the driving sports, which included a new rally driver lineup, a shortened and delayed season due to COVID-19, and the return of ace driver Scott Speed following a season-ending back injury in 2019.

Season 8: "Launch Control"

Photo courtesy of Subaru of America Inc.

"Launch Control" will also include a two-part sneak peek at the one-off WRX STI build that Subaru worked with Vermont SportsCar to create for the next installment of the "Gymkhana" franchise, where Subaru driving star Travis Pastrana will take over the feature roll from Ken Block.

New episodes documenting the stage rally season will release every other Wednesday through December and January, with the two-part Gymkhana STI build special arriving in February.

"'Launch Control' has always been an unflinching look at the reality of running a top-level motorsports program," said William Stokes, Motorsports Manager for Subaru of America. "This year brought more challenges than anyone expected, but we're a rally team, and in rally we press on regardless. As tough as this season was, we're thrilled to bring the series back—especially for the fans who couldn't come to events in 2020, who we've missed most of all."

The program is a production of Formula Photographic and Bowes Media with the support of Subaru of America.

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