Hooniverse Asks- What's the Best Q-ship Color?

Hey, officer! Over here!
For those unfamiliar with the term, a Q-ship is a merchant vessel that possesses hidden armaments in order to lure subs to the surface and then to sink them. That nomenclature has been adopted by the car culture as the description of a car that is stealthily able to travel quickly without drawing attention to itself. And one way it does that is by not being painted a bright, loud color.
Is there a car on that grass?Traditionally the Italians know nothing of the concept of the Q-ship or stealth on the roads. Their cars come from the factory with exhaust notes the polizia can hear all the way back at the station. Not only that but they come in colors like fly yellow and arrest-me red. The British, who advanced the art of espionage in Victorian times, are masters of concealment and subterfuge. They paint their speed demons earthy shades of green and brown, the better to blend in with the hedgerows and loping moors of their island nation.
Germans care nothing for hiding their speed as they enjoy the playground that is the Autobahn (at least they do until traffic turns it into the 405 freeway at rush hour), and traditionally paint their blitzen bombers silver. The French, preferring comfort over speed, choose bright blue, while we Americans have chosen white as our color of choice for sporting wares.
That all speaks to tradition and stereotypes, but what about in the real world, what color of car would make you most appear innocuous? Is there one color that doesn’t stand out above the rest when the po-po are on the prowl and you need to get form point A to point B in the quickest possible fashion? What color would that be?
Image sources: [Chuck Goolsbee.org, BringATrailer]


  1. In the States I would say a big green with wood panel stationwagon.

  2. Grey with a tinge of brown in it, aka You Can't Tell If It's Dirty Gray, aka my WRXagon's paint. Totally invisible to cops.
    Of course, black is always a suitable color.

  3. I agree with the Froggman. At one time I owned a 95 Volvo 850, bronze in color, and during the 2 years I owned it I was never pulled over. During that same time period, I owned a similarly colored 89 E30 ragtop and got pulled over 3 times in two years.

    1. The only car I have owned for more than 2 years and NOT gotten pulled over in was a bright fire engine red 94 Corvette. It wasn't my first color choice, but when you buy used you can't be that picky.

  4. I was thinking black too. Most cars look good in black. Just about every car is available in black so you don't really stand out. If you want to loose the Q-ship image, just add black wheels.

      1. agreed but not a Q-Ship… far from it.
        You know what else doesn't qualify? A bright red M3 sedan

    1. Just this morning actually.
      Not beige though, light blue, Prius… it was great, girl came through the speed trap, lights came on, completely oblivious for like two blocks, you could see her in the car looking around like "Who's he pulling over? Can't be me, I'm in a Prius." Highlight of the day.

        1. I’ve never seen it, wish I’d been there!
          Around here they are usually the cars in front of you ensuring you aren’t eligible for a ticket.

  5. Sort of depends on where you live and the type of car. You want to blend in with the crowd. If you're in yuppieland where everyone drives black, silver, or grey German cars, you want a black, silver, or grey German car… possibly re-badged to a lower spec (ie S4 rebadged as a 1.8 A4, or E39 M5 rebadged as a 525). If you live in a beige area you'll be wanting beige, unless it's a luxury car (excluding Lexus) in which case beige will look out of place and draw attention.

    1. I agree, whatever everybody else has is the way to go. I saw a trooper coming the opposite direction swing around once when I was going WAY too fast and ducked my white sedan in between two other white sedans, and turned off my headlights (daytime, pre-DRL). He came flying up, passed us all (presumably to look for headlights) and then kept slowing down, trying to figure out which car to pull over. Of course every body slowed down with him, know that if he couldn't get behind us he couldn't pull us over. It went on for several miles before he got frustrated and took off.

  6. One thing I noticed when I was living overseas in the '90s is Germans have sort of a different take on making a sleeper: they just debadge everything. A slate gray E or S class Benz with nothing but a three pointed star on the trunklid is either a base model or can suck your doors clean off.
    "Underbadging" is sometimes done as well, for example slapping a plebian S280 badge on an AMG-enhanced S600.

  7. I have to say silver. Me and my friend constantly raced around in his saabaru and HE got a ticket once, over like 3 or 4 years. We constantly did I-90 from Boston to the NY boarder in a hour and a half, shaving an hour off the expected time, and that road is known for the cops.
    another good color for a Q-Ship is Pickup, I constantly drive like a hooligan in my black pickup and have never gotten pulled over in it.

    1. that is indeed a cop-filled route…
      I once did Bryant College to Winthrop, MA in 30 minutes in my '87 Prelude… it was very late and I wanted to get home.

    2. The pickup thing hasn't worked so well for me, I got a speeding ticket years ago driving my dad's grey Ram and have had two in my own blue Dakota. In all three cases the road was completely empty, I was going something ridiculous like 15 MPH over and the patrol car was concealed by terrain. (Just because I'm an engineer doesn't mean I have any common sense…)

  8. It depends where you live. In Nevada, a non-metallic tan is effective, in the Big Valley, gray seems to work well. In Oregon it was mud and rust.

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