The Long Beach color wheel: Blue, purple, another blue, brown and, for good measure, another blue

Acura has unveiled Long Beach Blue Pearl as the latest color option for its 2021 Acura NSX luxury sports car, paying homage to the city by the sea, which has hosted an annual Grand Prix race for 46—erm, 45 years. COVID, am I right?

Of no relation to Disney’s Black Pearl, Blue Pearl is a reformulated version of Acura’s Long Beach Blue, which is the rarest color of the first generation NSX, with only 88 cars painted in the color from 2002 to 2005.

For anyone wanting to showcase their Long Beach pride by purchasing the vehicle, beware: the 2021 model has no time for cheapskates, with a staggering MSRP of $157,500.

Surprisingly, Acura is not the only automaker to name a vehicle color after the city. In 2017, the BMW M2 was released with three distinct colors: Alpine White, Mineral Gray Metallic and Long Beach Blue Metallic.

Now, it is unclear why car companies associate bright, vibrant blues with Long Beach. Perhaps they have not seen our water where the LA River oozes into the Pacific Ocean. Or where the San Gabriel River splashes into the Pacific. Or at the port. Or, perhaps, they have and colors are more of a wistful yearning of what could be.

A more accurate color for the city’s water, and air for that matter, is Long Beach brown—Hex color code #444342. Described as a “medium dark shade of brown” on encycolorpedia.com, the color certainly looks more gray than brown, or at the very least a combination of the two leaning heavily on the former.

Composed of 26.67% red, 26.27% green and 25.88% blue in the RGB color model, the origin of the less-than-savory color has been lost to time. At least, this writer could not find any related history in a five-minute Google shallow dive.

The most recognizable of Long Beach colors can be seen daily during the mid-morning drives of unemployed residents—or those working from home taking a well-deserved break. Long Beach Purple is the face of the city’s temporary trash housing. That’s right, our purple recycle bins.

The color was developed by Techmer PM in Compton, then used by Vernon-based Rehrig Pacific Company to create the iconic (well, recognizable at the very least) purple bins. While not initially named for Long Beach, within the refuse industry, the color has assumed the moniker Long Beach Purple, according to Rehrig execs.

Come to think of it, Long Beach (the brown version) does resemble the city’s standard trash bins, the counterpart of the more agreeably colored purple containers.

In any case, love it or leave it, Long Beach now has a dedicated five-color palette. For whatever that’s worth.

Colors from left: BMW Long Beach Blue, Acura Long Beach Blue Pearl, Acura Long Beach Blue Metallic, Long Beach Purple and Loop Long Beach brown.

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Brandon Richardson is a business reporter, covering everything from real estate and healthcare to the airport and port to city hall and the economy. He is a Long Beach native who has been with the Business Journal since graduating from Long Beach City College in spring 2016 with an associate’s degree in journalism. He is an avid record collector and concert goer.
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