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Hooniverse Asks- What Automotive Era Had the Coolest Colors?

Robert Emslie January 11, 2013 Hooniverse Asks

colorful

One of the urban legends that even non-car people usually know is that Henry Ford offered the Model T in any color the customer wanted, as long as it was black. Truth be told, the Model T had been in production for six years – and available in a number of colors – before the company instituted the black tie only edict. That was done to lower cost and speed the assembly lines, which by 1925 were cranking out almost 10,000 of the cars a day.

The monotone color option was just one way the T failed to keep up with competing products in its later years, but the succeeding A carried no such burden. Instead, it carried a slew of new color options, including a beige that must have been the most popular owing to how many of the survivors seem to be painted that way. Paint technology kept apace of the rest of the automotive industry’s advancements, and by the fifties maker began introducing vibrant colors on even the most plebeian of production cars. The sixties brought a profusion of metal flake, and the seventies got us to love brown, all over again. The eighties saw metal flake taken to the next level with the advent of almost impossible to match pearlescent hues, while the nineties. . .  well, I don’t know really what has happened since then, but I’m sure something amazing has.

Each era can almost be defined by the color palette and technologies of automotive paints therein. The neons of the seventies certainly are emblematic of those turbulent times, do you think they were the coolest? Or, do the two-tones of the fifties represent car color’s golden age? Whether you like the flame look of modern paint, or like Henry, feel that being back in black is the best, we want to know which era you think had the coolest colors. 

Image: [CarGurus]

Currently there are "51 comments" on this Article:

  1. $kaycog says:

    The mid 1950's Fords had every color in the rainbow available, both in solid and two-tone color schemes.

    <img src="http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7108/7699693186_7daaf2838e_z.jpg"width="500"/&gt;

    Image: flickr by Lake Erie Shores & Islands

  2. Number_Six says:

    This girl in a bar once barked at me, "likeohmygawdIcantbelieveyouwearprimarycolors". I have no idea what that meant. But anyhoo, 1950s.
    <img src="http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/a/a1/Ecurie_Ecosse_Car_Transporter.jpg&quot; width="500" height="500" />

  3. Vavon says:

    Without a doubt the 1970s!
    The era when you could get also buy a car in Green, Red, Orange, Yellow and brown…
    And best of all, you didn't even have to tick the box of the option of metallic paint!

    <img src="http://i45.tinypic.com/1zqeue9.jpg&quot; width="600/"><img src="http://chrisoncars.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/06/U1827400-13.jpg&quot; width="600/"><img src="http://www.mijnalbum.nl/GroteFoto-OZBJKPHN-D.jpg&quot; width=600>

  4. OA5599 says:

    Only in the musclecar era could you make a pink car not look like something driven by a Mary Kay rep.

    <img src="http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3241/3052770439_9d9628cff8.jpg"&gt;

  5. danleym says:

    I gotta go with the Muscle Car era, too. AMC's Big Bad lineup was pretty awesome.
    <img src="http://cdn.speednik.com/files/2011/12/DSC_7123-copy-640×424.jpg"&gt;

  6. Devin says:

    You'd be Plum Crazy to say anything but the SubLime colors of the muscle car era.

    • HSA says:

      Yes, 1950s it was. Now someone please come and abolish the sale of gray cars. Calling it "silver" does not make it any better.

  7. Irishzombieman says:

    I am the first to make fun of anything they do that involves wire and moving electrons, but I'll give 'em this, that while the pallete was a bit limited, my favorite era of cars in terms of color is the British Racing Green era.

    <img src="http://i43.photobucket.com/albums/e369/pauls78/spitfire2.jpg&quot; width="500/">

  8. Van_Sarockin says:

    There's always the Packard Caribean for folks who like three colors at the same time.

  9. BlackIce_GTS says:

    It's (apparently) hard to take a good picture of it, but I love Black Cherry
    <img src="http://images.geekazoids.net/img_0925a.jpg&quot; width=500>
    There was a trend for copper a few years ago, some got it wrong, but a lot didn't;
    <img src="http://image.motortrend.com/f/28007708+w750/2011-chevrolet-corvette-z06-carbon-front-three-quarters-static.jpg&quot; width=500>
    I like the redder hue of the McLaren somelettersand-numbers too. So, now, or just before now? Maybe, I just wanted to mention these two.
    Additional ponderances:
    -Does it seem to anyone else that no one has acknowledged that 201X is a different decade then 200X?
    -In the big picture I think the recent past seems like it was in some way superior because the present is too new and we don't fully grasp what's going on yet.

    • Mad_Science says:

      Decades really map better if you do them on the ###5s.

      e.g.
      '55-65 = "The 50s" in popular culture: conformance, buzz-cuts, booming economy
      '65-75 = real hippie + civil rights + muscle car eras ("the 60s" as most people seem to refer to)
      '75-85 = Malaise
      '85-95 = "The 80s" as most people seem to remember them (neon, early computers, awesome kids cartoons, etc)
      95-05 = Information age…? Rise of computers to everyday norm; upbeat economy, mostly optimistic time
      05-15 = Between the decline in the Iraq and Afghanistan, economic collapse and increasingly polar politics, one could argue a mini-malaise (though not in reference to cars).

    • mr. mzs zsm msz esq says:

      Ha ha ha! OT, late enough I guess.

      My wife put a hold on that book when it started being talked about. The library finally got it to her last week! She can't renew cause so many other people want it next! She says it's slow ans boring and hasn't gotten to any good parts yet. The second longest wait ever was for the Jenna Jameson autobiography. I am proud of what this says about US midwestern housewives!

      Anyway, will you be meeting with T? He's got an award for excellence in commentating, imbibing, and sailing, and so forth – to award you with ;) Now off to go home and eat and drink! Today is Croatia day!

      • Alff says:

        Thanks for putting a bug in his ear! We've traded messages and will meet soon but first I must return to the Fatherland for my stepdad's funeral. I'm optimistic that 2013 will finish better than it has started.

        • mr. mzs zsm msz esq says:

          I am very sad to read this Alff. I wish you the best trip possible under the circumstances. I hope your kids and wife are taking it well too, please pass on my condolences.

          • Alff says:

            Thanks, bud. Happy Croatia Day! Do they have national beverage?

            • mr. mzs zsm msz esq says:

              No prob, if you need anything, I'll be checking email on Monday. You know I actually had a Karlovacko tonight because of Croatia day, ha! It was not very good, sort of skunky tasting and smelling, oh well. It was a big European sized bottle though and I have one more still. Aga and I went to Polish grocery store and I figured why not try some new stuff. They also make the strong spirits like plum wine, have a name something like slivicko for that, that's all I know about. Poland, Czech, Slovak, and Hungary have that too though. And Croatia day is something we do here. My dining table we have world map on wall. Every week we pick a country and have a meal about it. The kids have atlas, we learn some facts, that sort of thing. Anyway, hang in there best you can now and I hope your year gets way better from here.

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