MACH I Member
Joined: Aug 2007
Location: greater Chicago area
Ford contracted with the man who invented the patented multi-layer crystals to make 2,000 1996 SVT Cobra Mustangs in Mystic paint (all coupes). Ford added $850 to the MSRP for the optional paint. Mystic used primer, then a black base coat, then the layer of crystals, then clearcoat. The crystals reflected a different part of the visible light spectrum depending on the brightness of the light source and the angles of the viewer to the car and to the light source, but the black base coat resulted in a variety of dark metallic colors.
Painting over a base coat other than black would result in a different range of metallic colors (only metallic colors since the crystals acted like metallic flakes). Ford contracted with the inventor to make 1,000 Mystic Gold SVT Cobras for the 2000 model year. One prototype was made and shown at the Knotts Berry Farm car show in 1999. The gold base coat created a lighter and brighter range of metallic colors reflected by the Mystic crystals. I pre-ordered one of the 1,000 Mystic Gold Cobras (to go with my '96 Mystic) and waited for several months before Ford announced that there would be NO Mystic Gold Cobras built. The recall of the underpowered 1999 SVT Cobras delayed and then cancelled all 2000 SVT Cobra production (althought they did make the 300 Cobra Rs that year, all in performance red). Anyone with a 2000 Cobra on order would be price protected on a 2001 Cobra instead, but Mystic Gold had to be dropped because Mustangs changed over to water-based paint for 2001 and the Mystic crystals weren't formulated for that.
The Mystic crystals were later reformulated for water-based paint and Ford contracted to make 1,000 '04 Cobras in MysticChrome (with the name changed to differentiate the water-based formulation from the previous Mystic). This time around it was available on coupes or convertible SVT Cobras, and the seat inserts and steering wheel were also sealed with the Mystic crystals. The colors of MystiChrome were too similar to the colors of Mystic (since they both started with a black base coat), although MystiChrome gets a teal-blue metallic shade not present in Mystic, while Mystic gets a bronze metallic shade not in MystiChrome. I had wanted the Mystic Gold to contrast with my Mystic, but I passed on MystiChrome because I'm not made of monaey and I was already waiting for the first SVT Cobra version of the upcoming retro-styled S197 Mustang (which turned out to be the Shelby GT500).
Meanshilw, Saleen contracted with the same inventor to offer color-shifting paint as an option on Saleen Mustangs. Saleen's contract was based on single cars (instead of 1,000 or 2,000 like Ford), so Saleen had to pay thousands per car for the use of the patented crystals. Saleen called their version of the color-shifting paint Saleen Rainbow Extreme and charged $11,500 per car for the paint upgrade. They only made 7 Saleens over several years in the optional Rainbow Extreme paint (most years they only sold one Saleen Mustang in Rainbow Extreme).
When Ford made the 1,999 Mystic paint '96 SVT Cobras, they painted them all in one batch (due to the multi-step process) in February of 1996. At that time, Ford issued a strict procedure for dealers to obtain the patented paint crystrals for repair of any Mystic Cobra that was damaged in the future. (I have a copy of this procedure that my Ford dealer printed out for me.) You could NOT purchase the paint unless you already owned a Mystic car and proved it had been damaged, at which time a representative would have to visit the body shop and authorize release of the limited amount of paint your car's repairs would require.
2013 Boss 302 gotta-have-it green
2008 Shelby GT500 torch red with black stripes + sequentials
2001 Cobra mineral grey with 2003 Mach 1 shaker hood
1996 Cobra color-shifting mystic paint + sequentials