By now we’ve all seen the astonishing results of covering an object in black paint that absorbs over 99% of light—it loses all shape, form, and depth. But what happens when you mix those super-black paints with highly-reflective color-shifting sparkles and then paint a car? The result is like staring into the deepest reaches of space.
Anish Kapoor owns the exclusive rights to Surrey NanoSystems’ Vantablack paint, which is made from carbon nanotubes that are capable of trapping and absorbing 99.965% of visible light. Human vision is based on detecting light rays that have bounced off the objects all around us, but with Vantablack applied, an object looks like a featureless black hole. Kapoor’s ownership means no one else can use VantaBlack, but thankfully, others have found ways to create paints that behave like Vantablack does. A Japanese company called Koyo Orient Japan has a Musou Black paint that absorbs 99.4% of visible light. For around $30, anyone can buy a 100ml bottle of Musou Black and do with it what they please.
For the folks at DipYourCar.com (who also have a YouTube channel), painting an entire vehicle seemed like an interesting and original use for Musou Black, and while driving a Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution that looks like a black hole is probably a bad idea given how fragile the super-black paint is, the results are like no other vehicle you’ve seen before.
But they didn’t stop there. They took the experiment one step further and decided to add a top layer of tiny color-shifting pearl particles to the vehicle, which turned out to be quite a challenge. Applying the pearls using traditional methods and a mixture that helps it adhere to the surface of a car resulted in the Musou Black paint losing its super-black properties. After some experimentation they eventually found that mixing the pearl particles with naphtha as a thinner (the same stuff you fill a Zippo lighter with) was the best approach. The naphtha would evaporate after the application, leaving the Musou Black exposed, while the pearls would naturally stick to the black paint’s highly porous surface.
The results, which probably look even more impressive in person, are hard to put into words. The Evo looks like it’s covered in millions of tiny LED lights, or has been wrapped in one of the many jaw-dropping images of the universe captured by the Hubble Space Telescope. If you’re looking for a way to turn heads while cruising around the block, this is absolutely it, except for the fact that in all likelihood the pearl particles will probably fall off in the slightest breeze without a topcoat layer to hold them in place. You do not want to try this finish on your own vehicle, unless you intend to permanently park your car in your living room and just stare at it all day long.