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|1968 - 1969 Rainbow of Colors West Coast Promotional Mustangs|
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This is a summary of the information we've been able to gather on the Mustang sales promotion that ran between 1968 and 1969 in the western United States called the Rainbow of Colors which allowed new Mustang owners to order a car in one of several special factory colors with wild names. The promotion was heavily advertised in the Los Angeles, San Jose, Honolulu, Salt Lake City areas from February through June of 1968 but its colors and options continued well into 1969. We've found owners of several Rainbow of Colors Mustangs, found several local dealer newspaper advertisements, and have been looking up paint codes to find out more. So here is a summary of what we have found so far.
All Rainbow of Colors promotional Mustangs were special order built in the San Jose plant; and as verified by newspaper sale advertisements, ordered in the Los Angeles, San Jose, Salt Lake City areas. We have also found an owner who purchased on in Honolulu. The earliest advertisement for the promotion we could find is a Ford advertisement on February 14th, 1968. This advertisement calls the promotion a Rainbow Sale which features 10 special colors, on 500 limited edition Mustangs, in the West. It doesn't list the 10 colors, but a few years later PPG Ditzler put out a supplemental 1967-69 Ford paint bulletin listing 13 colors for a Rainbow of Colors special. After collecting several dealer created Rainbow Sale advertisements from February through June of 1968, we see that specific color names and options are listed. It appears in many cases, the cars were Sprint optioned hardtops ordered by the dealer in groups of 10 special colors and setup along side their standard color Mustangs as part of a "Rainbow" sale. It also appears from the newspaper advertisements that sale went by many names Rainbow of Colors, Special Rainbow Colors, Rainbow Series, Rainbow Roundup, Special Rainbow Finish, Rainbow Mustang Sale, or just Rainbows. We believe there is also color printed advertising material out there, we are trying to get copies of them.
Besides these, we've found several dealers with advertised Rainbow Mustang Sales. They include:Galpin Ford in North Hills, Los Angeles, California
Conoga Park Ford, Van Nuys, Los Angeles, California
Mel Burns Ford of Long Beach, California
Glen Organ Ford of Long Beach, California
Harper Ford of Eureka, California
Underwood Ford of Ukiah, California
Givan Ford in Provo, Salt Lake, Utah
Larson Ford in Salt Lake City, Utah
Henry S. Day Ford of Salt Lake City, Utah
E&M Ford of Layton, Utah
Capital Ford of Helena, Montana
Flandro Ford Ford of Pocatello, Idaho
We think it was up to the dealer to select and name special order paints offered by Ford in 1968 and 1969 for the Mustang Rainbow Sale. The preferred special order color list may have been from the 13 we've listed below, although the original promotion had 10, one of which was purple. From many of the newspaper advertisements we've found, the dealer pre-ordered the colors on Mustangs in groups of 10 or so and displayed them as part of the promotion.
The special color information from a Ditzler 1969 Supplemental Bulletin indicates 13 colors for the 1969 Special Mustang Rainbow Colors. Note the "Over" at the bottom, there is more special order paint information on the back for other Ford promotions. More information comes from the The Sherwin Williams paint database. It lists a Fleet of "Rainbow of Colors - 1968 Mustang" which specifies 12 colors which match perfectly with the 13 listed by PPG Ditzler with the exception of WT5185 Flower Power Red which is not included.
One other note is the date of the promotion. From this bulletin we don't see the promotion listed as both 1968 and 1969, but Sherwin Williams lists only 1968. We know that 3 of the 13 colors were part of the 1968 Color of the Month promotion which was run at least in Denver and the first 4 months of 1968. But this doesn't explain the use we've found for many of the other colors listed here in 1968. It is possible that due to the excessive use of special local colors in territorial special promotional Mustangs in 1967, that this carried over to the 1968 Color of the Month promotion which may have lasted more than the first 4 months of 68 and/or used more than the four paint colors traditionally identified. Although we believe that its not a coincidence that of the over 200 Ford special paint colors available in 1968 that most of the Color of the Month paints were also on this list of 13, and that the western US Rainbow of Colors promotion started in 1968.
But what about purple? Some of the original newspaper ads for the Rainbow Sale indicated a color called Powerful Purple or Flower Orchid. There are several possibilities for this color. See the bottom of this page for more information. You can also visit our Purple Mustang page which has all the possibilities along with other purple Mustang information.
The largest list of promotional color names was researched by Karen Rose who owns one of these special cars. Her list includes: Whipped Cream, Spanish Gold, Dandelion Yellow, Hot Pink, Caribbean Coral, Forest Green, Sierra Blue, and Moss Green. Our goal is not to assign color names to colors but to determine what all the colors looked like and find examples of each. From what we can gather, Ford assigned a 4 digit M paint code to production colors from the 1930s to the present. Special order fleet colors got 4 digit WT paint codes. All other colors, usually brought over from other manufacturers, got 5 or 6 digit MX paint codes. Lists of Ford paint codes, especially the Ford Special Paint Fleet books, have allowed us to track down all of the colors.
This is a list of all 13 colors and the information we have found for them to date. Click on the color name to see examples of Mustangs we've collected. We've guessed at the paint color names and their pairing with the Ford special paint codes. If you have more information please let us know.
Below is a photo of the 1972, Ford, Special Order Paint Selector - Fleet Colors paint chip book with all 13 Rainbow of Colors promotional paints pulled out. Books of special order paints were available from Ford every few years to allow custom exterior colors to be ordered from the factory. This inside cover of the book says, The color-chip selections were made on the basis of historical usage by major fleet accounts and to provide a color-range spectrum to meet reasonable needs. There is a red 1968 Special Order Paint Selector book from Ford which contains a similar set of colors. We have several of the later year's books and many of the same colors appear in them as well.
Ford Paint Numbers were typically assigned in order, starting at 0001 in the 1950's preceeded by a M2J. By 1968, the numbers were in the low 3000s, preceded by the letter "M" and typically an "A" at the end for an exterior gloss finish. In 1977, they were up to the mid 5000s. It also appears that very early on Ford reserved some numbers for special order paints at first with 5 digit numbers and later, in the 1960's, with a series of 4 digit number preceded by the letters WT (non-standard special order paints having 5 digits and preceded by the letters MX). The special WT codes are divided up as follows WT0000s for whites, WT1000s for off whites, WT2000s for gray, WT3000s for brown and gold, WT4000s for red, WT5000s for orange, WT6000s for yellow, WT7000s for green, WT8000s for blue, and the WT9000s for purple maroon and pink. The metallic paints were 500 and above in each set. This special use of reserved color codes is still being used today.
Ford Paint Number reuse is not that common. In most cases we see very old colors, such as Diamond Blue M0921, don't change and is used a great number of years even though the Dupont formulation changes. We have been able to confirm that in many cases if a special order WT code paint is used as a standard offering for a year, then the 4 digit number does not change; just an M is added to the beginning and in most cases an A at the end. Blue WT8816 follows this reuse rule, Yellow WT6018 does not.
The 1969 Ditzler Supplemental bulletin shows two special order orange paints used by the Rainbow of Colors promotion.
Red is not one of the 9 color names listed above, so we will use the 1969 color name Flower Power Red for now.
Karen has called her car Madagascar Orange, so we will use the same name for Orange WT5063. Other orange promotional names used include Orange Ice and Turned-On Orange.
We are calling Pink WT9036, Hot Pink, which is the only pink in the possible list of 9 Rainbow of Colors promotional paint names. Other pink promotional names used included Passionate Pink and Poppy Pink.
Special Order Maroon, WT9012, shares the same paint code with Eastertime Coral used for the 1968 Color of the Month promotion for April of that year. We received our first example of Maroon WT9012 from John in Michigan which we believe is a 1968 Eastertime Coral April Color of the Month Promotional Mustang. How do you tell a Rainbow of Colors specially painted car from a Color of the Month promotion? All WT9012 specially painted 1969 model year Mustangs are most likely a Rainbow of Colors. If the DSO on the door data tag is 72 (San Jose) or 71 (Los Angeles), than it is also a possible Rainbow of Colors Mustang unless scheduled for assembly in April.
We are calling Maroon WT9012, Caribbean Coral, from the possible list of 9 Rainbow of Colors promotional paint names, since it matches the code for 1968 Eastertime Coral used as the April Color of the Month Mustang promotion.
We have a wonderful example from Mal Hillier of Melbourne. We believe Mal's specially ordered Mustang is a Rainbow of Colors promotional Mustang because it was scheduled for assembly on February 23rd of 1968 which may be a bit late for any pre-ordered January Color of the Month promotional Mustangs.
We are calling Brown Poly WT3822, Spanish Gold, from the list of 9 possible Rainbow of Colors promotional paint names since it is the only gold on the list.
We are calling Yellow WT6018, Dandelion Yellow, the only obviously yellow name from the list of 9 possible Rainbow of colors promotional paint names. Other wild yellow paint names used were Yummy Yellow and Razzle-Dazzel Yellow.
We've also found a PPG Ditzler Automotive Finishes, FORM 8006, Ditzler Antique Car Offset Listing Chevrolet, Ford, Corvette Only!, October 1983 that says Ditzler 81633 is a DDL offset number for the original Ditzler 80859 which is called Inca Gold supposedly used on the 1958 Corvette. Ditzler 80859 is also FORD M0641 used on the 1957 Thunderbird and 1959 general Ford lineup. Inca Gold is a greenish yellow but it is quite bright, it also appears not to be a factory color for the Corvette from 1958. For these reasons we are not ready to call them the same color.
We are calling Cream WT1179, Whipped Cream, from the list of 9 possible Rainbow of colors promotional paint names. Another possible promotional name for this color is Stone Yellow.
There are four special order green colors on the Ditzler Supplemental list but only two possible Rainbow of Colors paint promotional names. We've made many assumptions in matching and creating names of the green paint shown here.
From a process of elimination, we are calling WT7080, Moss Green, from the possible list of Rainbow of Colors promotional paint names.
The paint codes match a Testors model paint code which is an official World War II olive green. It is unknown if Testors copied this Ford paint but its interesting that the number matches one of the Ditzler general green numbers in the 1969 Supplemental Bulletin. This is the official color of the State of Maryland Police Department. Sherwin Williams also calls this color Olive Green.
From a process of elimination, we are calling WT7126, Forest Green, from the possible list of Rainbow of Colors promotional paint names.
Peter Manson's research work has found that special order Green WT7034 has been called Poppy Green; therefore, we are also using his name for this bright green paint.
There are two blue paints on the Ditzler list of Rainbow of Colors promotional paints but only one blue in the possible list of nine; therefore, we are going to make one name up.
We are calling Blue WT8002, Sierra Blue, the only blue from the possible list of 9 Rainbow of Color promotional paint names. It is possible that that the lighter blue WT8095 is actually Sierra Blue and this darker blue had another name.
In newspaper advertisements for the 1968 Rainbow of Colors promotion we found purple color names such as Powerful Purple or Flower Orchid. There are two good possibilities for what this color looks like, because there has been documented use of two special order purples in between 1967 and 1969. One is WT9083 which is a bright purple; and the other, M3203, has been used as a production paint on Ford cars.
For a list of all special order purple colors available in 1968 see our purple Mustang page.
Purple WT9083 has been heavily documented by Robert Nowland who owns a 1968 Rocky Mountain Life Insurance Company Ford Cougar which was originally painted this color. An historical Ford Fleet search of this color comes up with the following list: City of Ann Arbor, Ford Fleet, Heil Manufacturing Company, House of Sobel (which also used playboy pink WT9301), and Penn Central Railroad.
Purple M3203 came to our attention from Curly and Karen Long who has a special order Purple metallic 1967 Mustang. His car is painted Ford purple M3023 which has been used on the 1969 Lincoln as Medium Orchid and on the 1969 Thunderbird as Lilac Frost.
More to come...
The thirteen colors plus purple may not be the only special order paint selections of the Rainbow of Colors Promotion. Special order Yellow WT6135 came to our attention many years ago because it is a sister car to Peter Manson's Poppy Green 1969 Mach 1 which his research shows is also part of this promotion.
Possible promotional names for this yellow could be Dandelion Yellow, Yummy Yellow, or Razzle-Dazzel Yellow. These are some of the wild yellow named colors we found in Rainbow of Color promotional advertisements of the time.
If you have more information please let us know.