Machine Gray first appeared here in the U.S. about a year ago with the 2016 CX-9. It is available on other models too as an $300 option.
“Machine Gray was developed to express the beauty of a machine’s strength and precision,” Mazda wrote in a 2016 news release. “With strong contrast between light and shadow and a sleek, high-density finish, it gives the impression that the vehicle’s body has been sculpted from a solid steel ingot.”
A narrator explains that the procedure for “small and medium spot repairs” is different than the typical PPG waterborne basecoat rules, “especially in how the surface is prepped and how the basecoat is applied.”
The video also provides advice for gun settings, viscosity and reduction. Use a 90-degree X-pattern in both minor and full-panel refinishes, the narrator states.
“It’s the proper way to align the leafing aluminum correctly,” he says in one film, referring to a metallic element in the three-layer factory paint.
“The reflective layer contains extremely thin, high-brightness aluminum flakes and must be applied very precisely to ensure even coating,” Mazda wrote of the factory process. “During the drying process the thickness of this layer shrinks to approximately 2.5 microns, about one quarter the thickness of most reflective layers. This causes the aluminum flakes to lie flat with regular spacing between each flake, just as if the layer had been hand-painted by a skilled craftsman. This high-density finish gives the entire surface a sheen when illuminated, for a realistic metallic look. Jet-black pigment is used in both the reflective and color layers and is visible through the spaces between the aluminum flakes giving areas not illuminated a black hue and heightening the contrast between light and shadow.”
Both videos also warn against using a final control coat, “which would create coarseness or too much sparkle,” the narrator states in the partial-panel video.
The full-panel process is similar to how one conducts minor spot work with Machine Grey, but it involves three coats instead of two, the narrator states. He advises applying two sandable clearcoat layers prior to the basecoat.
“A smooth clearcoat layer for the basecoat is essential in order to achieve the proper orientation of the leafing aluminum,” the narrator states.
Learn about auto paint, estimating exotic colors at Repairer Driven Education
“There’s no way to get around this: Our takumi colors (Soul Red Metallic, Soul Red Crystal and Machine Gray Metallic) are more complicated than what you’d find on any other car at their price points,” Mazda product communication specialist Jacob Brown wrote in an email earlier this year. “Our designers want cars to be seen as art and look great in all light. Because of this, they challenged industry norms to make a scalable selection of premium paint colors that highlighted the cars’ details in a way no other automaker could do this side of a custom Mercedes Designo color (which usually cost a few thousand dollars extra) or some of the colors offered on the Nissan GT-R.”