Automotive pearls thanks to pigments
The car couturier shows his passion for color
As early as the 1970s, the technology visionary Rainer Buchmann was already making luxury cars even more luxurious. Back then, he created a stir by using pearl luster effect coatings containing pigments from EMD. The legacy of his legendary “Rainbow” Porsche lives on in the “Moonracer” of 2014, his latest creation, splendid in white Xirallic® coating with pigments from EMD.
Shades of silver flow in broad streaks across the fenders of the Porsche 911, like a stream saturated with moonlight. The coating emphasizes the lines of this classic car in a way that is both delicate and powerful. The Frankfurt-based automobile designer Rainer Buchmann calls his latest creation “Moonracer,” whose design is meant to be an homage to Buchmann’s legendary “Rainbow” Porsche of 1976. The exquisite appearance of the “Moonracer” is due to a coating containing effect pigments
from EMD. The Porsche model from the 1980s, which has been painstakingly restructured over the past year and a half, glistens in all the silvery shades of moonlight, thanks to Xirallic®
. The car shimmers with a cold white light like the razor-sharp crescent of the waxing moon and a coppery glow like the full moon rising over the horizon. The overall effect is impressively presented against the background of the pearl-white car body.
The latest creation of the 68-year-old car designer was greeted with enthusiasm by observers at its premiere in the vintage car museum Klassikstadt in Frankfurt in autumn 2014. But Rainer Buchmann had already realized what possibilities were offered by automotive coatings with effect pigments more than 30 years ago — long before the large-scale series car manufacturers. Buchmann’s company, b+b, began to cooperate with the pigment experts from EMD back in 1978.
The car tuner Rainer Buchmann in his Porsche "Moonracer"
© Peter Thomas
Buchmann had realized that the Iriodin® pearl luster pigments, which were a relatively new invention at the time, would open up an entirely new dimension of automotive coatings. Soon, b+b demonstrated these possibilities through impressive vehicles such as the gullwing coupe CW 311, which was developed by Eberhard Schulz and built in Buchmann’s factory. At its premiere in 1978, this unique car’s gleaming white Iriodin®
coating attracted as much attention as its design, which was reminiscent of the Mercedes-Benz C 111. “Our vehicles positively beamed at the visitors attending the motor show,” says Buchmann as he recalls the vehicle’s spectacular debut.
“Presents something that the big companies are not yet able to offer.“
The newsmagazine "Der Spiegel" in an article about Buchmann, 1979
An innovative engineer
Buchmann’s discovery and systematic exploitation of the potential of effect coatings back in the 1970s is just one example of the innovative engineer’s farsightedness. He was also an early enthusiast of solutions such as remote-control door locking systems, steering wheels with integrated control elements, and digital displays (whose liquid crystals were yet another connection with EMD).
Today these human-machine interfaces are standard equipment for almost all automobile brands, but over three decades ago most of the major car manufacturers dismissed these comfort features, which were based on the current level of high tech, as unnecessary gadgets. However, customers had a different opinion. “At the auto show in Frankfurt, an outsider company presents something that the big companies are not yet able to offer,” reported the German newsmagazine Der Spiegel in 1979 about Buchmann’s pioneering digital information system.
Time and again, Buchmann was a step ahead of the entire automobile sector — for example, with exclusive equipment such as high-quality onboard music systems and fully retractable coupe roofs made of metal (i.e. the “Magic Top” model, based on a Mercedes-Benz 500 SEC from the C 126 series). Even in his early automotive creations, Buchmann, the son of a gentlemen’s tailor, combined a flair for visionary technology with exquisite taste. But this doesn’t mean that his creations were only based on cars of the renowned Stuttgart-based brands Porsche and Mercedes-Benz. Around 1980, b+b also successfully worked with the Polo and Golf compact models from Volkswagen.
“Colorful cars by Buchmann”
The ten Golf models from the “jewel series” occupy a special place in the designer’s work. The colorfully coated cars bore poetic names such as Onyx, Citrin, and Ruby, while the Golfs, clad in gleaming pearly white, were simply named Iriodin in honor of the pigments that lent these cars, which had been refined by b+b, their special shimmer. “The effect of this coating was unique,” Buchmann says to this day about these jewels on four wheels.
"bb Rainer Buchmann. Innovation – Design – Emotion" by Gerold Lingnau was published by Heel Verlag
© Heel Verlag
The story of Rainer Buchmann, his automotive creations, and his cooperation with EMD is told in the book bb Rainer Buchmann. Innovation – Design – Emotion by Gerold Lingnau. The richly illustrated 208-page book is published by Heel Verlag in Königswinter and costs €39 95.
While Rainer Buchmann was busy putting Iriodin® car coatings on the title pages of international auto magazines thanks to his unique vehicles and short-run series, the specialists at EMD were continuing to refine their pigments and thus laying the foundation for the success story of metallic automotive coatings, which was to start in the mid-1980s. In one special development, the metallic oxide layer of the coating particles was covered with an additional protective layer in order to block the harmful ultraviolet rays of sunlight.