How to Get the ‘Flat Black’ Look for Cars

How to Get the ‘Flat Black’ Look for Cars

How-to-Get-the-Flat-Black-LookHave you ever given serious thought to “murdering out” your car? That’s not a reference to the rage that possesses you when your car breaks down, or you run out of gas on the way to pick up a date. No, that’s known as “raging on the machine,” which psychologists have defined as a form of temporary insanity characterized by an overwhelming urge to take a rocket launcher and convert your vehicle into a smoking pile of twisted metal.

Ahem, where were we?

No, murdering out simply means using a completely flat black color scheme on your vehicle. And that means everything, inside and out, and nothing weak.

The origin of the term is veiled in mystery. Some say it was first coined on MTV’s short-lived Rob & Big Show, which followed the antics of a professional skateboarder and his bodyguard as they found novel ways to fill up time. Others say it’s a reference to a group of black crows, which as a group noun is known as a murder of crows.

Still, others say it has something to do with a Satanic ritual involving the rock group The Black Crowes, but the evidence for that is pretty weak, and they weren’t good enough to push people that far.

A Long History of Black
In the beginning of vehicular varnish, most cars were silver and black. Henry Ford, who introduced the first mass-produced car to the world, famously quipped that his customers could choose any color they wanted for the Model T “as long as it’s black.”

The reason for this color spectrum limitation, according to Gundula Tutt with the Society of Automotive Historians, was that early autos were painted with the same oil-based paints that were used on horse drawn carriages. These paints could produce brilliant colors, but they didn’t hold up well, and faded quickly.

Henry Ford, genius that he was, developed an asphalt-based paint that was easier to apply, dried more quickly, and worked like a charm on his 1908 assembly line. And he found that darker colors like black were easier to produce and lasted much longer.

Flat Black: Mood Cars?
Interestingly, some observers have pointed out that auto color preferences change with the mood of the general public, with darker, more subdued colors becoming more prevalent during dark times, as they did during the Great Depression and after the recession that began in 2007 and continues today.

But what about flat black cars, specifically? There’s no doubt that matte black, murdered out cars are a trend today. How did it get started? Some say it started with hillbillies and rednecks performing homemade paint jobs using flat black primer and leaving it at that. This has the ring of truth, for sure. Who hasn’t seen a heap of a once-proud muscle car decked out in a lousy primer job, usually with some red fenders for an accent?

You could also make a reasonable argument that the Batmobile of the 1960s TV show, and the popularity of the menacing SR-71 Blackbird spy plane (it’s gorgeous) provided the original inspiration.

Airplane technology is probably the mostly likely culprit, fueled further by the Lockheed Martin F-117A Nighthawk stealth ground attack aircraft and the Northrop Grumman B2 Stealth Bomber, and others that continue to spur imaginations today.

The Influence of Vinyl Wrapping
There’s also no question that the growing popularity of vinyl car wraps has propelled the craze. A flawless matte black car wrap is accessible to everyone these days, and it’s an excellent choice in more ways than one.

Car wraps are popular because in many ways they’re superior to the traditional paint job. OK, in just about every way. A flat black vinyl car wrap can be applied in just a couple of days at most. A good paint job might keep your ride in the shop for a week or more.

Yes, wraps can be more expensive than applying paint, but often they can actually be cheaper. It all depends on how complicated the job is, the quality of the work, and how many colors are used. A high-quality paint job can set you back as much as $10,000, while a top-quality wrap could be half that.

If you’re murdering out a car, you’re just using one color, which greatly simplifies the job. And a vinyl wrap will have a life expectancy of 5-8 years and it’s more resistant to scratching, scuffing and fading.

Wraps are easier to take care of as there’s no need to spend time and effort waxing your car. Instead, with a little soap and water the wrap looks like new again. If you ever decide you’re tired of the matte black look, because, you know, trends come and go, a vinyl wrap can be easily and safely removed to allow for a whole ’nother scheme. Today it’s matte black, tomorrow it’s rhinoceros skin!

Murdered Means Totally Matte
It should be emphasized that murdered out cars have to go all the way to truly deserve the designation. That means some wicked window tint, matte-black wheels, a black interior (preferably leather), and absolutely no chrome or other colors whatsoever. If you really want to break up the monochrome effect a little bit, then go with carbon fiber accents, maybe on the hood or fenders, and also in the cabin. But then it might only be considered “manslaughtered out” which just doesn’t sound as good.

The matte black trend shows no sign of fading out anytime soon. If you have any questions about getting the murdered out look for your car, go ahead and call us, 561-367-0101 or contact us through the website.

Auto Super Shield 

Wendy Feliu
wendy@autosupershield.com