October 4th, 2015
The 550 came in limited color schemes for both the exterior paint and also the interior. The factory customer cars were available in white, silver, red, French blue and also one in yellow customised for the Belgium racing team. The interiors were complimentary to the exterior colors in red, black, blue-green and tan. The seats were finished in vinyl with a ‘barber pole’ striped style pattern in all colors and an additional ‘basket weave’ finish was available in the tan.
As expected today, rolls of the vinyl are long gone, but a coach builder restoring an original 550 has gone to the extreme of replicating the exact pattern and finish to be used on future builds. From these initial samples he has got made up, they look very authentic. The green one needs a bit more blue in it to match the original color but the other colors are pretty spot on in the dyeing process.
The vinyl was used for the seats, the cockpit fire wall, the strip across the top of the doors, inside the doors and the rolled piece used as the door seal plus a strip along the raised frame under the dash. Some Spyders also featured the vinyl below the door sills and under the seats. Black vinyl was used where the feet rested and was glued to a raised plywood platform.
As you can see, in some restorations the direction of the vinyl was used incorrectly when the seats were upholstered and the color of many restored car’s interiors were far from original.
Another interesting fact is that the chassis frame was originally painted black for each 550, but during the painting process, the internal cockpit tubes were painted the same color as the external body while the chassis in the front and engine bay remained black. The only exception was silver where the whole chassis remained black.
This vinyl will only be available for original 550 builds.