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Project X Effect: A SoCal 1957 Chevy Customizing Phenomena that Spread Throughout the World

Bow Tie Nostalgia

John Gilbert Feb 1, 2016
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There’s no doubt it’d be a safe bet Super Chevy’s in-house icon, inherited from Popular Hot Rodding magazine, the 1957 Chevy two-door coupe known as Project X could be considered one of the most influential 1957 Chevys of all time.

At the top of the list of obvious influences Project X has had on Tri-Five culture would be its Corvette Millennium Yellow paint color. Of course, Project X wasn’t always in a GM paint-coded color. Its original shade of yellow was what hip SoCal Chevy guys used to call Canary Yellow.

I can’t speak for the rest of the universe, but where I grew up in Southern California there were quite a few “in-crowd” colors that were stylish to paint a ’57 Chevy, but they weren’t all popular at the same time. It was almost like the flavor of the month club where as soon as one color made it onto 10 of the local cool guy’s Tri-Fives it was time for a new hue.

In 1962, when I first saw my Great Aunt’s Tropical Turquoise with an India Ivory top ’57 Bel Air that became mine in 1966—it was the perfect color combination. That sensibility changed to Earl Scheib medium metallic blue in 1968 when I got my driver’s license and could drive the ’57 to West Covina High School every day.

Metallic blue didn’t mark me as a dork, but the hippest color for a ’57 Chevy at the time was Competition Orange, soon to be followed by British Racing Green. After BRG, the next hot color for a ’57 was Sparkletts Truck Green.

Apparently someone in the Chrysler Corporation’s design department lived in the San Gabriel Valley during the late 1960s because for 1970 Chrysler knocked off Sparkletts Truck Green and renamed it Sublime for Dodge, and Lime Light for Plymouth.

And yes, that’s me standing next to Project X circa 2016. The last time my photo was taken next to Project X was in 2005 with my dog Bongo for my editorial in Hot Rod Bikes magazine. Bongo was black with a white blaze.

2 Earl Scheib Auto Painting 2/2



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