26.10.1997

Alfa 156: The colour range


Interior
The various trim/engine versions of the Alfa 156 can also be differentiated by their colour schemes, a coordinated combination of shades and textures applied to the seats, central console, instrument panel, steering wheel and gear lever knob.
The 1.6 T. Spark and 1.9 JTD offer cloth trim in three alternative colours (grey, blue, green) incorporating the Alfa Romeo logo. This scheme features metallic grey for the instrument dials, a titanium-coloured console and a three spoke foam padded steering wheel.
Steering wheel, console trim and instrument dials are identical on the 1.8 T. Spark but the upholstery is diagonally patterned cloth in grey, blue or green, again decorated with the Alfa logo. By contrast the 2.0 T. Spark, the 2.5 V6 24V and the 2.4 JTD have ribbed velour upholstery (in three shades) as well as a mahogany steering wheel and gear lever knob and a deep-printed mahogany-effect console trim.
Go for the Sport pack and you get seats and door panels upholstered in grey cloth embroidered with the Alfa Romeo logo in red; a carbon-effect console trim, Momo black leather steering wheel and black instrument dial with red graphics.
The Momo leather upholstery comes in five shades: Natural Hide, Blue, Red, Lys Grey and Ireland Grey.

Bodywork
The body-colour range is equally generous, offering a choice of 11 shades: four pastel, six metallic and one pearlescent. Even the composition of the paints varies so that they respond differently to the play of light over the bodywork.
The pastel shades are Alfa Red, Black, Polar White and Achilles Blue, the latter a reinterpretation of a colour that was hugely fashionable on Alfa Romeos of the Sixties. Polar White adds new intensity to what is technically a mere absence of colour. Finally Red and Black are simply Alfa Romeo sports car classics.
The metallic paints created for the Alfa 156 are the result of meticulous research and the company's paint technicians have been particularly successful in adding precisely the right quantities of the translucent mica particles which do so much to create colours that are pure, intense and brilliant. Indeed those are the adjectives that best describe the Alfa 156's Proteus Red, Light Grey, Africa Grey, Amazon Green, Cosmos Blue and Fantasia Blue. The steely intensity of Africa Grey is enriched by hints of green that seem to shift in the light reflected from the curves of the bodywork, while the intensity of Cosmos Blue is enlivened by sequin-like particles of mica. Similarly the jungle depth of Amazon Green is highlighted with a shimmer of a paler, yellower green. Meanwhile, in fashionable Fantasia Blue, metal and mica each add their particular qualities of depth and sheen. Cloud Blue is a paint shade that merits a detailed description. The name reflects a pearlescent colour that aptly describes the lightness and transparency of a shot-silk shimmer of sky blue flecked with yellow. It took long and careful research to develop this irridescent effect, which depends not just on the composition of the Alfa 156's Cloud Blue paint but also on the new and rather complex technological process involved in its application.
The process begins with the application of a pale grey undercoat to the cataphoresis-treated steel of the car body. Next, five different coats of pearlescent enamel are sprayed on. The process ends with a final coat of transparent paint.
The end result is a surface shimmer of colour that looks different as you shift position or as the light is reflected. That is because light is refracted differently from the metallic and non-metallic components in this special new paint. As if refracted through a prism, the light itself breaks down into the various colours of the spectrum to create a rainbow effect.


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