Impressive combination: Earnhardt’s 1985 paint scheme

By Ben White

In 1979, Dale Earnhardt’s Wrangler Jeans Chevrolets and Oldsmobiles were owned by Rod Osterlund and carried solid blue sides with yellow areas on their tops and hoods.

When Earnhardt moved to RCR Enterprises for 10 races in 1981, their cars featured yellow V-styled front fenders and blue rear side sections. Earnhardt’s Bud Moore’s Fords of 1982 and ’83 again carried yellow and blue and when he returned to RCR in 1984, the familiar markings, albeit one radical yellow rear quarter panel design was rejected after one race at Talladega, remained.

Masking tape stuck in a dozen directions before they hit on a perfect balance in the early morning hours of a weekend in January 1985. Earnhardt drove that version of yellow and blue to nine of his 76-career wins and Cup championships in 1986 and ’87.

Bobby Moody, now director of motorsports for Sherwin Williams Automotive Finishes, was RCR’s lead paint and body fabricator from 1984 to 1994.

“We originally painted it like the No. 2 Wrangler car (from 1979) that had blue stripes on the hood fading down into the sides,” Moody said. “Richard didn’t like the way it looked. It got to be about one or two o’clock in the morning when he started reflecting back to an old CRC Chemicals paint scheme he had when he drove for them (during the 1979 and 1980 seasons). The (1985) paint scheme was a derivative of that CRC design.”

“Even though different, they had a lot of similarities the way the colors split above the windshield. And also the way it came down the side and the way it encompassed the No. 3 underneath the door. The angle of blue based off the W in the Wrangler on the driver’s side. We split the B-post with half blue and half yellow and it came down the quarter panels. It all just kind of fit together.”