Several Shelby Cobras in front of the newly repainted car company's corporate headquarters

From Blah to Bold: A Corporate HQ Painted to Look Like a Classic Mustang

The repaint of a classic California car company’s corporate headquarters shows how professional painting contractors can leverage bold concrete color choices to help their customers create better branding.

The project: A color update fit for a legend

Auto industry legend Carroll Shelby made his mark first as a driver, breaking land speed records at the Bonneville Salt Flats and winning the 24 Hours of LeMans and other high-profile events. When a heart condition cut his racing career short at age 36, he turned to designing cars, and is best known for the AC Cobra and Shelby Mustang high-performance vehicles.

A year after Shelby’s death in 2012, the Los Angeles headquarters of his company, Carroll Shelby International, Inc., got a new paint job more befitting the auto icon – turning a nondescript concrete building into a stunningly colorful showcase property.

The challenge: Peeling paint, concrete problems

“The old paint was peeling in the heavily weathered areas,” says Brett Riordan of Tellus Construction, the general contractor on the job. “We also had an idea to update the color scheme so the building would resemble a blue-and-white striped Mustang.”

Bids for the painting were solicited and the job was awarded to CertaPro Painters of Santa Monica. Some of the tilt-up cement was also in bad shape, says Stephen Winterrowd, owner of CertaPro Painters of Santa Monica, so crews primed the complete surface with Loxon® Concrete & Masonry Primer before topcoating with A-100® Exterior Acrylic Latex Paint.

But the biggest visual transformations were the result of some bold color and design choices, including large blue horizontal striping against the white walls.

“The main challenge there was showing the client the size of the stripe,” Winterrowd says. “We had to tape a section of the building and then re-tape it to the final size they wanted.”

The paint: Color and coverage

The striping color was custom mixed in Emerald® Exterior Acrylic Latex Gloss to match the trademark Shelby blue.

“We had not used Emerald on an exterior before,” Winterrowd says. “It is a very good paint with bright colors and good coverage.”

The customer also wanted to include the famous Shelby Cobra logo on one corner of the building, and CertaPro became their customer’s “one-stop shop” by subcontracting mural specialist Jeffrey Lingle of Over the Moon Murals for this work. Emerald Exterior Gloss Paint was again used to ensure a vibrant and long-lasting finish.

“The fresh colors really bring the larger-than-life logo to the forefront when you pull into the lot,” Winterrowd says.

Bottom line: Better branding through painting

When it was finished, the job generated a lot of pride and positive feedback from Winterrowd’s crew.

“It was different than our normal paint jobs, so it gave them something new to work on,” he says. “It also gave us the confidence to be able to bid other jobs like this one and know that we can get it done.”

And, after all the hard work, in the end it was just an honor to be involved with such a high-profile project.

“We were proud to be selected to handle the complex painting needs of such an icon of the American automotive history,” Winterrowd adds. “The building is now protected and looks great – and consistent with the Shelby brand.”

This article was originally published in the Winer 2013 issue of PPC magazine. Story by Mike Starling, PPC Editor. Photography courtesy CertaPro Painters. Read about other successful painting projects in the PPC digital archive.