Hooniverse Asks- What Automotive Era Had the Coolest Colors?


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]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

The maximum upload file size: 64 MB. You can upload: image, audio, video. Links to YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and other services inserted in the comment text will be automatically embedded. Drop files here

51 responses to “Hooniverse Asks- What Automotive Era Had the Coolest Colors?”

  1. P161911 Avatar
    1. Batshitbox Avatar

      Yep! Take the Blackhawk Museum's 1930 Ruxton, for example…
      <img src="http://media-cdn.tripadvisor.com/media/photo-s/02/e0/a0/45/blackhawk-museum.jpg&quot; width=450">
      …but I think it was after WWII when the whole palette became available on even the cheapest sedans.

  2. $kaycog Avatar

    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

  3. Number_Six Avatar

    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" />

  4. Vavon Avatar

    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>

    1. Sjalabais Avatar

      You beat me to it. Orange cars! Brown, yellow! Exciting, nice colours – and safe ones, too. "Didn't see your orange shoebox coming…", only in Russia.
      <img src="http://www.berkeleyside.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/Volvo-station-wagon.jpg"&gt;

      1. Vavon Avatar

        I found an orange 504, just imagine the marketing people now…
        You want to do what??? A big car not in silver, grey, black or dark blue, but in orange??? You're fired!
        <img src="http://img.fotocommunity.com/Oldtimer-Youngtimer/Oldtimer/Peugeot-504-Limousine-a19984274.jpg&quot; width=600>

          1. Vavon Avatar

            Europe, so sadly no.

    2. M44Power Avatar

      1970s for sure! And I'm not just saying that because Taiga green…

    3. danleym Avatar

      Anyone else wondering why there's a tractor in the parking lot?

      1. mr. mzs zsm msz esq Avatar
        mr. mzs zsm msz esq

        Farmer Henri needs his baguette and cafe just like everybody else.

        1. Vavon Avatar

          I don't think Monsieur Henri would drive all the way to The Netherlands for a baguette…

          1. danleym Avatar

            Meneer Hans, then?

          2. Vavon Avatar

            Hahaha!!! That seems about right! "Boer Hans en zijn tractor!"

          3. mr. mzs zsm msz esq Avatar
            mr. mzs zsm msz esq

            Oh dang, doncha know it, us 'mericans think that's part of France only they don't wear black and berets everyday over there, sorry.

    4. P161911 Avatar

      Oddly enough Corvettes were not available in black from 1970 to 1976. Black returned in 1977.
      Orange was available from 1969-1977.

    5. Vairship Avatar

      Nice parking job by that Triumph Herald! Apparently he/she hit the sign first (which turned out to be sturdier than the rear bumper), tried again, and then just gave up.

    1. Peter Tanshanomi Avatar
      Peter Tanshanomi

      I'm surprised you went with the more normal R/W/B CX650T, and not the CX500T's more far-out pearl/grey/black/flouro-orange
      <img src="http://www.midamericaauctions.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/honda-cx500-turbo-1-5325.jpg&quot; width="512">

  5. OA5599 Avatar

    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;

      1. Irishzombieman Avatar

        I'd drive a pink AMX.

  6. danleym Avatar

    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;

  7. buzzboy7 Avatar

    Late 60s to early 70s
    <img src="http://www.tcpglobal.com/autocolorlibrary/chips/1973-volkswagen-pg01.jpg&quot; width="600">

    1. OA5599 Avatar

      That's a VW chart. Don't forget to use all the colors at once.
      <img src="http://25.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_mdx4zoeDME1qf1n29o1_500.jpg"&gt;

      1. jeepjeff Avatar

        Yeah. The color palate reduction after the 70s was a bit of a shame. Not that VW stopped using all colors at once:
        <img src="http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/f/f9/VWGolfHarlequin.JPG/800px-VWGolfHarlequin.JPG&quot; width=500>

        1. Batshitbox Avatar

          There's a harlequin Golf at the body shop around the corner, I sincerely hope they aren't planning on repainting it in a solid color. They must know that would cut 2/3rds off its resale value.

  8. Devin Avatar

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

    1. trhyne Avatar

      I see what you did there…

    1. HSA Avatar

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

  9. Irishzombieman Avatar

    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/">

  10. Van_Sarockin Avatar

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

    1. C³-Cool Cadillac Cat Avatar
      C³-Cool Cadillac Cat


  11. BlackIce_GTS Avatar

    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.

    1. Tim Odell Avatar
      Tim Odell

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

      1. mr. mzs zsm msz esq Avatar
        mr. mzs zsm msz esq


  12. PotbellyJoe Avatar

    If i had to go with production cars, it would be the brass era.
    Every color looks great when paired with exquisite coachwork and brass fittings.
    <img src="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_IQ6Ph3oTQfo/TKN8tNMnS6I/AAAAAAAAAiU/nBFMRLFgdYQ/s1600/premier660_smallfall.jpg&quot; width=550>
    <img src="http://blogs.courant.com/itowns_mr/bacc%2001.jpg&quot; width=550>
    <img src="http://www.treasurenet.com/forums/attachments/cars/167258d1332398173-brass-era-cars-1908-ford-model-t.jpg&quot; width=550>
    But if we were going for a all-time I would said the Porsche 917 era of racing.
    <img src="https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-hx7AfpujOPQ/TpWpZvSVDhI/AAAAAAAACJc/qMQhId2tkmA/s1600/4375843268_4a94c637b5_o.jpg&quot; width=550>
    <img src="http://forums.pelicanparts.com/uploads21/Porsche+917+Martini+car1356568153.jpg&quot; width=550>
    <img src="http://swipelife.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/07/1973-porsche-917-30-sypder.jpg&quot; width=550>

    1. jeepjeff Avatar

      This is my all-time favorite livery, but it's hard to go wrong with any 917 livery:
      <img src="http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/b/b7/2006FOS_1970Porsche917L.jpg/800px-2006FOS_1970Porsche917L.jpg&quot; width=500>

    1. Vavon Avatar


    2. mr. mzs zsm msz esq Avatar
      mr. mzs zsm msz esq

      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!

      1. Alff Avatar

        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.

        1. mr. mzs zsm msz esq Avatar
          mr. mzs zsm msz esq

          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.

          1. Alff Avatar

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

          2. mr. mzs zsm msz esq Avatar
            mr. mzs zsm msz esq

            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.

          3. Vavon Avatar

            That's really cool and it will only benefit the general knowledge of your kids.

          4. mr. mzs zsm msz esq Avatar
            mr. mzs zsm msz esq

            Thanks Vavon, I am making an unbeatable pub trivia team is all, plus get to eat new foods, win-win.