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Art & Inspiration Royal Triton Purple. Whats the story?

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by falcongeorge, Jul 1, 2014.

  1. falcongeorge
    Joined: Aug 26, 2010
    Posts: 18,341

    falcongeorge
    Member
    from BC

    Nitti 32.jpg
    Most have probably heard the story that Joe Nitti copied the colour for his '32 off a Union 76 Royal Triton Purple can. Paul Rienharts original Purple People Eater Corvette is also supposed to be Royal Triton Purple.

    Reinhart6 royal triton purple.jpg
    In most photos, the restored PPE looks lighter, more magenta and more metallic than the original, and neither really look like the Nitti car...
    Rienhart royal triton purple.jpg
    Royal Triton Purple oil can...
    royal triton can.jpg

    And last, Pat Ganahls "Nitti-ish" '32, he has never specified what color it actually is in print, or claimed it to be Royal Triton Purple, just throwing it up for curiosity sake.
    Ganahl 32.jpg
    I have read elsewhere that Stan Betz had the formula for this color. Does anyone know what it cross-references to? Any further info anyone cares to add? Other cars painted this color? Mixing formulas? Interesting anecdotes?
     
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  2. falcongeorge
    Joined: Aug 26, 2010
    Posts: 18,341

    falcongeorge
    Member
    from BC

    I have looked at a shitload more photos of both of the cars here, to my eye, I think Rienharts PPE is closer to the oil cans I have looked at than Nittis car, which may make sense in light of the following...

    From Peter Darnall: "The purple and orange livery relates to the Union Oil Company and specifically to their premium motor oil, Royal Triton. These were the colors Paul chose which related to his business. He owned a Union 76 station in Oakland at the time. As you noted, Paul had great success racing the Corvette back in the day. Rumors circulated that he had some sort of secret sponsorship from Union Oil. He assured me that he never had any monetary or mechanical assistance from Union Oil. In fact they threatened to sue him for stealing their company logo and colors!"
     
  3. I have seen Pat ,Too Tall, Ganahl's car in person and yes he will tell you it is purple but it looks Mid Night blue to me.
     
  4. steel rebel
    Joined: Jun 14, 2006
    Posts: 3,604

    steel rebel
    Member Emeritus

    I wanted to paint my 48 Fords Dash Royal Triton purple. Looked at a few old cans at a swap. Bought one. They were all different shades of purple.
     
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  5. falcongeorge
    Joined: Aug 26, 2010
    Posts: 18,341

    falcongeorge
    Member
    from BC

    Thanks Gary, so either one is right, or wrong, depending on your can.:rolleyes::D
     
  6. falcongeorge
    Joined: Aug 26, 2010
    Posts: 18,341

    falcongeorge
    Member
    from BC

    In photos, it looks pretty close to the restored version of the Nitti car, apparently Stan Betz provided the formula for that car. I am probably off on a wild goose chase here, but the trip will probably be fun anyway...
    I have noticed this is one of those colors that varies a lot depending on lighting as well.
     
  7. David Zivot
    Joined: Jul 12, 2009
    Posts: 38

    David Zivot
    Member

    “Royal Triton Purple” and its reference to the Joe Nitti ’32 roadster
    is actually quite simple and straight forward.
    The deep purplish color
    was first inspired by Johnny Ryan’s ’32.
    Johnny was a good friend and mentor to Joe.
    Joe however wanted something a little deeper and organic.
    The Royal Triton Oil connection is simply
    the color and hue of the oil itself,
    as viewed in the bright sunlight through a glass jar.
    It’s the Triton oil,
    not the can it’s in!
    Joe Nitti related this to me personally
    even before I obtained his car,
    but had known of its whereabouts for some time.
    Although related elsewhere incorrectly,
    this is the true and correct version
    of the story of that color.
    I was able to have a small unweathered sample
    from a portion of the original roadster color matched
    by the ace Stanley Betz.
    After telling Stan that the color was derived
    from the actual lubricant itself,
    he knew the score.
    I did it in nitro lacquer.
    It was truly a magnificent deep purplish blue
    that had real depth and stature.
    I drove this roadster and put it through its paces.
    It was a privilege.
    After I sold it
    the car was repainted with modern paint.
    Makes no sense,
    doesn’t look the same.
    Other roadsters based on Joe’s
    weren’t able to hit on the Triton color.
    The trophies pictured here
    were gifted to me by the Nitti family.
    They are some of the originals that survived.
    Some are for fairly impressive dry lakes times,
    some for shows.
    Joe won “California’s Most Beautiful Roadster 1950”
    That’s the story.​
     

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  8. falcongeorge
    Joined: Aug 26, 2010
    Posts: 18,341

    falcongeorge
    Member
    from BC

    Out-FRIGGEN-STANDING!!! And NOW it all makes sense!!! Post of the year so far!
     
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  9. bowie
    Joined: Jul 27, 2011
    Posts: 2,298

    bowie
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    David Zivot: Thanks for posting pics of your awesome roadster, truly one of the most iconic ever!
     
  10. 296ardun
    Joined: Feb 11, 2009
    Posts: 4,206

    296ardun
    Member

    Yes, thanks David for the story.

    When I saw the Joe Nitti roadster in Hot Rod (used copy bought at used magazine store in early '60s) I knew where the color came from because I ran the lube rack at Seth Miller's Union 76 gas stations (2 of them) in Pasadena CA after high school, poured a lot of Triton Royal Purple motor oil into all kinds of cars...yes, it was the oil color, not the can.
     
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  11. falcongeorge
    Joined: Aug 26, 2010
    Posts: 18,341

    falcongeorge
    Member
    from BC

    Boy, when I asked for interesting anecdotes, I sure got my moneys worth!
     
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  12. Ulu
    Joined: Feb 26, 2014
    Posts: 1,754

    Ulu
    Member
    from CenCal

    Yup. The oil was a deep dark purple.

    I remember a mechanic, draining our oil, and asking my dad once if he was using Royal Triton.

    "Nope," Dad replied. "It's just really dirty."
     
  13. Kid Rocker
    Joined: Mar 26, 2002
    Posts: 274

    Kid Rocker
    Member

    David Zivot: I have nothing to really comment on the color, but I must absolutely tip my hat to you sir for the car in general. So many iconic cars get over-restored and lose their soul and you managed to bring back this car and keep that ever so important 'soul'. This car is by far one of the best Hot Rods ever. Period. To say I envy you because you owned one of my all time favorite cars is an understatement...and I'm extremely jealous...but we can still be friends...I suppose.
    Cheers!
     
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2014
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  14. Blue One
    Joined: Feb 6, 2010
    Posts: 10,516

    Blue One
    ALLIANCE MEMBER
    from Alberta

    o_O If you read his post you will see that he sold the car :)
     
  15. Kid Rocker
    Joined: Mar 26, 2002
    Posts: 274

    Kid Rocker
    Member

    Ah! I missed that part, thanks for the info!
    Do you know who owns it now??
    Can you imagine owning that car!!! Woah!!!
     
  16. For what it's worth - Back in the 70's I had Stan Betz mix me up sum Royal Triton Purple ( Lacquer)for a Model A Tudor I built. It was deep, clean and an outstanding color
     
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  17. Awesome thread! Thanks!
     
  18. bowie
    Joined: Jul 27, 2011
    Posts: 2,298

    bowie
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Blue one: As pictured the Nitti roadster ,nitro lacquer and all; was David Zivots baby. Whether he sold it ,or not ; it's one iconic ride.
     
  19. Blue One
    Joined: Feb 6, 2010
    Posts: 10,516

    Blue One
    ALLIANCE MEMBER
    from Alberta

    I don't think I said it wasn't :) Simply pointed out that he no longer owns it.
     
  20. bowie
    Joined: Jul 27, 2011
    Posts: 2,298

    bowie
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    No problem here. That sure would be a hard puppy to part with!
     
  21. Blue One
    Joined: Feb 6, 2010
    Posts: 10,516

    Blue One
    ALLIANCE MEMBER
    from Alberta

    I'm amazed by how many guys have these awesome cars and then sell them and move on to something else. This roadster is only one example. There are plenty more. I couldn't part with it :)
     
  22. David Zivot
    Joined: Jul 12, 2009
    Posts: 38

    David Zivot
    Member

    Thanks Dean (Kid Rocker) & guys,
    for your observations on the Joe Nitti roadster.
    Joe and the original fellas from 1946-51 that built it deserve the credit.
    I just resuscitated it, that's all.
    Some of whom, but not a complete list, would include;
    Joe Nitti himself, Johnny Ryan, Hank Negley, Jack Mickelson,
    the Daleo Brothers, Nelson Taylor, Gil & Al Ayala,
    Earl Evans, George Bentley, Lou Baney, etc.
    An "iconic" roadster perhaps,
    but having it is akin to owning and flying
    the original Ryan high-wing monoplane
    that Lindbergh flew across the Atlantic.
    It will never be truly yours,
    it was never your design,
    and the historical aspect of it
    can diminish your enjoyment of it,
    because of the risk of its destruction.
    I did drive it quite a bit
    and had a ball,
    no regrets.​
     
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  23. bowie
    Joined: Jul 27, 2011
    Posts: 2,298

    bowie
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    David Zivot: I can certainly understand your reasons for parting with her. Kinda makes me glad I've never uncovered the history of my old buckboard 3W , in the 42 years I have been trying. Not that mine could ever be in the elite catagory of the Nitti car. You definitly did it justice ,in your care. What a beauty!
     
  24. bowie
    Joined: Jul 27, 2011
    Posts: 2,298

    bowie
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Another favorite blast from the past...just for any newby’s who missed it....
     
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