Im not sure who wrote this! But is is a great article.
my first Coke machine, a Cavalier 51, from a Baptist church in a part of Pittsburgh,
Pennsylvania, known as the Hill District. As the minister led me down the stairs
into the basement where the machine had sat unused for years, a myriad of questions
criss-crossed my mind: Awfully steep stairs - I wonder if there's an easier way
out of here? ... What color red is that? ... Will lightning strike me if I low-ball
a man of the cloth? ... How am I going to paint those letters? ... Where'd this
minister learn to negotiate like a used car salesman? Most of my questions were
answered quickly. The only way out of the church basement was back up those stairs.
They were at least as steep as they had seemed on the way down. And lightning
didn't strike. It didn't need to - the Baptist minister negotiated quite well
on his own. But two questions remained: What color red? and How do I paint those
embossed letters? It appears that Coke spent significantly less time agonizing
over its choice of shades of red for its machines than do the collectors of those
machines today. With at least nine manufacturers of Coke machines and at least
five companies supplying paint to the industry during the 20-year period in which
our beloved machines were produced, the number of different machine/paint color
possibilities is best answered by someone who actually paid attention in his combinatorial
mathematics class. I am not that person. However, I did learn just enough to estimate
the number of possible machine/paint color combinations to be ... well, a lot!
And so while there is no short answer to "What color red?", there are some guidelines
which can help one choose the right color for their particular application. First,
your choice of paint colors will depend upon your choice of painters. To find
a painter, check with the people in your area who are restoring classic cars.
They should be able to put you in touch with the painters who are most qualified
to bring your machine back to better-than-new condition. Once you've settled on
a painter, you're confined to selecting a paint color available within the paint
system he uses. The term "paint system" refers to the brand (Dupont, R-M, PPG,
Sherwin-Williams, etc.) and type (lacquer, enamel, base coat - clear coat) of
paint. Some colors are available in one system, but not in another. For example,
Dupont Dulux #93-60807-AH is a fleet color which is available in enamel, but not
in Chromabase (Dupont's brand name for its line of base coat - clear coat paints.)
Once you decide on a paint system, you have a choice of two methods for selecting
a shade of red: (1) Select an existing color from sample chips provided by your
painter or available at most automotive paint supply stores, or (2) Have the paint
supply store create a custom formula for you. If you elect to choose a color from
sample chips, be sure you're looking at metal chips which have actually been sprayed
with paint of the particular color. In the past, sample paint chips were actually
paper on which the color was printed. The result: paint sprayed on metal often
differed substantially from the color's corresponding sample chip. Fortunately,
most paint stores and body shops now use painted metal sample chips. For a nominal
fee, most paint supply stores will create a custom formula. Using a computer to
scan the color of an item, the store can use the scan to develop a formula for
the color. The formula is actually a recipe which calls for particular color tints
in particular amounts to make a particular amount of paint, generally a quart.
Regardless of the selection method, you must first decide what color you want
to match. On most soda machines, the back side of the crank handle backing plate
is usually undamaged by moisture and has of course not been subjected to the fading
effects of the sun. It is thus a prime candidate for paint matching. Another reasonable
approach entails choosing a color which matches the new decals which will be applied
to the freshly-painted machine. For example, on a white-top Vendo 81, the red
"Have a Coke" decals are only about 1 1/2 inches from the red paint. Because even
minor differences in the two colors will be quite apparent, it's appropriate to
choose a shade of red paint which matches the red in the decals. Coca-Cola's vending
machine manuals (dated May, 1956) provide some paint codes for their machines.
They do not indicate which paint codes apply to which machines, but they provide
a good place to start. They are correct Coke paint codes. Although the following
numbers were valid in the 1950s, it will probably be necessary to cross reference
several of them. Red White Dupont: Dulux 93-24314 Dulux 95-967 Dulux 93-60807
AH Dulux 91-6731 Dulux 93-65883-R Dulux 91-6731 Dulux 93-65883-R PPG: Lavax 29-303
Glidden: Speedene 9264 Sherwin Williams: Kem 532F65R1 Kem D22W1 Once the paint
code question is answered, a new one arises: What's the best way to paint the
embossed letters? It seems that every possible method has been attempted. Some
people try to mask around the embossed letters and then spray the letter color.
It's nearly impossible, however, to correctly mask all the curves in the Coca-Cola
logo. Others spray the letter color without masking, then the machine color right
over the letter color, and then use very fine sand paper (usually 1200-2000 grit)
and rubbing compounds to remove the machine color, thus exposing the letter color.
Another method has been adopted from the world of old car license plate restoration.
First, spray the letter color in lacquer and let it dry fully (a few days). Then
spray the machine color in enamel. While the enamel is still wet, wipe the machine
color off the letters with enamel reducer on a rag or Q-tip. Enamel reducer will
remove the enamel without harming the lacquer. In my opinion, the best method
is also the easiest. Check back with the car restoration people and have them
direct you to someone who specializes in car pinstriping and graphics. For these
incredibly talented people, painting your embossed letters by hand is easy and
cheap. Expect to pay about $50 per embossing, unless your pinstriper is a moonlighting
Baptist minister - then you're on your own!