The American custom-car and motorcycle scene of the 1960s and 1970s was born under the Californian sun where bright hues ruled – which is why paint companies invented and developed myriad new finishes with evocative names such as flip-flop, pearl, candy apple and, of course, metallic.
But perhaps best of all was "metal flake", which, as the name suggests, was spiked with larger, more reflective particles of metal than more sober metallic, in order to provide a sparkling depth of colour when the painted object caught the sunlight.
A true metal-flake finish is a relatively rare sight these days – but now Davida, the UK's only surviving maker of motorcycle crash helmets – has announced that its retro-style, open-faced Jet helmets can be ordered in a wide range of metal-flake finishes (£378 for a standard Jet or Ninety2, £368 for a Speedster). And the Wirrall-based maker will even create a "skid lid" to your own personal specification, matching it to your motorcycle or replicating a favourite design.
Each leather-lined helmet is handmade before Davida's specialist-paint team adds the all-important custom touch which, in the case of the new Cosmic Flake Creatures range, involves applying nine coats of lacquer which are baked on for durability.
The helmets can be had in six basic designs – including classic patterns such as stars 'n' stripes (third picture), and flames and thunderbolts, with a minimum extra charge of £55 for further customisation depending on the design's complexity. Turnaround time for a bespoke piece is two to three weeks. Recent "lids" include a silver, black, green and red variation on the classic flame (first picture), and a candy-finish helmet (second picture) made to exactly match a customer's 1972 Honda 750. Va-va-zoom.