Axalta owned brand Spies Hecker is celebrating 135 years of coatings. As part of the celebrations, the company share's its history in the industry.


135 years ago, brothers Adolf and Moritz Hecker teamed up with brothers Adolf and Hermann Spies to found the Anglo-Continental Varnish Company in Cologne, Germany.

In doing so, they laid the foundations for the success of the world’s leading manufacturer of vehicle refinishes.

As automobiles advanced, Spies Hecker moved from the manufacture of clear varnishes to ready-to-use high grade paints, marketed under the Permanent brand.

Permaloid nitro-cellulose paints were introduced, and spray guns replaced time-consuming brush techniques.


Following Germany’s Great Depression and World War II, Spies Hecker built an innovative facility in Cologne.
In the 1960s, colours gained popularity, leading to the creation of the Colouristic Department. In the following years, the company began exporting paint to the Netherlands, Denmark, Greece, Italy and France.

During this time, Spies Hecker supplied the leading paint of the time – Permanal air-drying resin – and pioneered the 2K system of base paint and hardener. The modular system consisting of base coat and hardener speeds up drying considerably.

This era saw the first workshops start using the Spies Hecker Permacolor colour mixing system.


From the 1980s, Spies Hecker evolved with advanced paint and tool technology that included 2K mixing systems, two-coat systems and the launch of the first spectrophotometer.

In 1985 Spies Hecker launched in Australia with over 50 systems being installed by 1986, followed by a New Zealand launch in 1989.

The launch of the first waterborne paint basecoat system Permahyd 280/285 in 1994 and Permahyd Hi-TEC in 2010 saw a new direction in environmentally responsible coatings.

In 2015, the Phoenix colour retrieval software was launched and the brand celebrated 30 years in Australia.

And, in 2017, saw the launch of the revolutionary clear coat Permasolid HS Speed Clear Coat 8800 that dries in less than ten minutes at 60°C, pushing the boundaries of vehicle repairs.

The success of Spies Hecker is attributed to a combination of passionate people, the quality of the product range and customer-driven technical solutions that move customers forward.

It is these factors that have seen Spies Hecker become one of the most respected refinishing brands in the market today.

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