Question of the Weekend: Wouldn't you rather have more choice in Color?


Here is a question that has been burning in the back of my mind for the past several years. It seems that we have all become color blind when it comes to our cars or trucks. The new cars are available in a variety of colors, as long as they are shades of Gray. I’m talking about Dark Gunmetal Gray, Medium Gray, Mineral Gray, Light Gray, Silver, Gray Black, and of course, Silver Gray. Black is just another Gray, and White is really the absence of color.


The car companies do offer at least one shade of Red, and maybe a couple of different Blues, with Beige (another boring shade) rounding out the mix. I want to know what happened to the vibrant colors that were once offered. What happened to any shade of Green? How about something in the Yellow category. And does anyone miss the Chrysler DayGlo colors, or the AMC Big Bad Shades? Have your say below, and be sure to comment all weekend…

0 Comments

  1. Don't forget other shades of grey:
    Detroit Nimbostratus
    Autumn Smogmist
    Beijing Lung
    Manhattan Slush
    Camaro Primer

    1. The further you go down that list, the more they sound like cocktails.
      I'll have a Camaro Primer.

      1. Ahh.. the rare "response being funnier than the comment even though the comment was funny" Nicely done.
        So, what's in a Camaro Primer? Jack, R/C, Coconut Cream(just to make it grey and because it sounds almost decent)?
        Shit… I don't know, I drink mostly homebrew IPA's and New Amsterdam gin, and drive a Volvo 960 Wagon with a Ford 302. I'm a deeply confused person.

  2. I'm all for more choice, but at the end of the day, my cars are black, or they are dark green (BRG or darker). It's the RWD manual diesel station wagon question… I like that Go Mango exists, I just wouldn't buy it with my own money.

  3. Saw a last-gen 3-series in a parking lot a few weeks ago and wondered the same: Why don't they offer colours like this taupe-ish purple anymore? It looks so good!
    However, I did see a mint green Mercedes today. It was on a GLK, but the colour almost made up for it. Almost.

  4. I think it all has to do with the way cars are sold in the States – no one orders anything, ever, you just pick out something off the lot. Dealers have always whined about how brown cars are hard to move… and when was the last time you saw a late-model car in brown? I had a customer with a dark brown Passat wagon a few years ago, and it's one of the best looking VW's I've seen.
    Dealers like easy colors that no one has a knee-jerk "yuck" reaction to. No brown, no orange, no green, no purple. Hang on, maybe green, but only if we dump enough gray in the paint so it's not really green anymore.

    1. If that's the case, then why were there so many dealer ordered green-on-green cars in the past?

  5. Man, I miss the days of bright colors. Plum Crazy, Vitamin C, Torred. Hell any color. Even the cheap imports came in baby-blue, bright yellow and Z-car orange. Red was red, and blue was blue. Cars had personality and a bit of flair.
    Back in the day Greys were considered a bad choice because no one could see you on rainy days or at dusk. Plus they had all the personality of an English orphanage. Now, everyone wants to blend into the background. If it's not Gey, it's a still a muted mix of it. Blue-grey, red-grey, green-grey. Purple-grey. BLEH!
    Groupthink gone bad.
    Lots of my family members keep suggesting I settle down and get just one regular car, preferably a beige Camry or something else equally hideous. Personally, I'd rather dive naked into a pool filled with double edged razorblades.
    My current stable has a rainbow of bright colors and I intend to keep it that way; Fire-engine red Dodge, "Vermilion" Orange MGB, Petty-Blue Datsun, Killer-Bee yellow MGB, Porsche-red MGB, bright blue metallic HD, GPz red, 70's brown RV (soon to be repainted in a 70's van custom paint-job).
    The most boring color I have is a beige 67 Dodge Polara. But it makes up for it with a big-block and shark's teeth on the front.

    1. "Back in the day Greys were considered a bad choice because no one could see you on rainy days or at dusk."
      I've actually pulled out in front of a Ford Five Hundred (Taurus) that was that light slightly-greenish grey because I didn't see it against the faded ass-pavement. Had to mash down the throttle to keep out of his way – which still isn't too effective in a N/A rear-drive Volvo.
      This is why said Volvo is, and shall remain, bright Swedish-flag blue.

      1. Back home we used to call that shade "underwear blue" because everyone owned a pair of these hideous longjohns that all came in that particular color. Still, that's the best color for a square-lamp 240.

          1. Not unless you drove back in time about 8 years. My blue 240 has more than likely been turned into Harbor Freight tools by now, and I moved to TX few years ago.

  6. i love grey, not so much gray. there is a technical difference.. but when it comes to vehicles… i prefer some colour options.. i'm not huge on the bright "in your face" ones.. but they are fitting for some… the abundance of "champange"/tan/beige/this is the one colour that truly doesn't show dirt doesn't make me happy.. what happened to electric blue, salmon with mozzarella inlays, two tone paint in general??? why have my grandparents felt it necessary to keep a little ceramic turtle on their dash to be able to differentiate their GM (either buick or olds) from the rest of the masses of them in the parking lot since the early 80s (so.. ummm my whole life)
    what happened design engineers? didn't you make the lines of the cars to be shown better in certain types of colours? did the budget mongers tell you that people see in grey-scale? or is that what they told the marketing people

  7. rant rant rant… sorry guys… it'd be nice for those of you buying new cars to purchase some interesting colours…. that way i can have *some* selection when buying a used vehicle a few years later…………… i don't have the budget to respray.. keep the re- buyers in mind.
    thanks

  8. Yes, I really miss having a decent palette of colors to choose from when buying new car. Like you say, there's 7 grays to choose from, black, white, maybe some sort of red, a weird shade of green maybe, and if you're lucky a blue that's too dark and looks like a deck shoe. Is colored paint that hard to come by for car manufacturers? If it is, there's a good business opportunity for someone.
    More colors would also make dealers' lots a more interesting place. I hate going to look at cars or trucks when all you can see is white or gray.

  9. If you're not seeing colors out there, you're simply not looking. From Grabber blue Mustangs, to the bizarro Charger and Challenger colors (seriously, Panther pink is back, sheesh!), to GM oranges and that crazy green color they're putting on Camaros.
    Sure, brown with woodgrain is missing in action, but if there aren't enough crazy colors on the streets it's because we're not buying them, not because they're not available.

    1. That's not true. There are fewer choices than before. It used to be that most Detroit cars were offered in as many as 15 to 20 colors or more – and that's not even including two-tone combinations. Interiors were offered in multiple colors too. Look at the old literature at TOCMP. Now you're very lucky to have eight to ten exterior color choices and more than three interior selections.

      1. I didn't want to do this, man. But I'm gonna have to call you out. I'm going to pick a random colorific year. Who offered 20 individual colors or more in 1959 not including multi-color designs?

        1. Call me out and get ready…
          1961 Lincoln – 21 colors
          1962 Lincoln – 20 colors
          1970 Imperial – 20 colors
          1972 Thunderbird – 25 colors
          1975 Buick – 23 colors
          1956 Imperial – 20 colors
          1962 Chrysler – 21 colors
          1959 Imperial – 21 colors
          1974 Oldsmobile – 20 colors
          1963 Cadillac – 22 colors
          1970 Lincoln – 27 colors
          That's only a sample. I won't bother to find more paint info just for 1959 – my point has been made, and I'm sure there's more. Thanks for playing.

          1. Corrected, I stand. And richer for it.
            However, I will point out that 4 out of those 7 brands are dead. I don't know what that means, but I suspect it has something to do with humans not liking to make decisions.

      2. Even in more recent days, looking at the Mustang brochures I have, we've lost some choice:
        '94: 11 colors — yellow, 4 reds, blue, 2 greens, black, 1 gray, and white.
        '02: 9 colors — yellow, 2 reds, blue, 2 greens, black, 1 gray, white.
        '08: 10 colors — yellow, 2 reds, 2 blues, black, 3 grays (!), and white.
        '11: 8 colors — 2 reds, 2 blues, black, 2 grays, and white.
        I miss the greens, they'd look good on the Mustang.

  10. Well, if you buy a horrible beater, you can answer yes to today's other question and have it in any color you want!
    I definitely would prefer more color choices, but what really peeves me about new cars is being forced into a particular trim level to get more color options. Case in point: the Hyundai Genesis looks striking in what they call "Lime Rock Green." But I can't get a 2.0T R-Spec or Track in that color. I'd have to go with the Premium Package, losing options that I do want, and adding some that I don't.

    1. A la carte options in general are on the endangered species list.
      Here's a thought, automakers: Instead of not making any extra money when people pass on ordering expensive packages just because they don't want all the extra stuff (and extra cost) that comes with little things like a multifunction steering wheel or a sunroof, let them order those things individually and at least make a bit more money. These days people want to save where they can; if you let 'em do that, they just might recommend you to friends and family.

  11. Try buying a new Cadillac. I was pricing out a CTS Wagon after seeing it somewhere on Jalopnik. Ignoring all the ridiculous "amenities", and going for the bare bones with the biggest engine (which still included a bunch of stupid features) It came down to picking the color… Guess what? No beautiful blues, gorgeous greens, or the like. Nope, just black, grey, and white. Oh and that caddy red. I don't really like red, weird peeve. White never stays white. And honestly, some shades of silver/grey/black look really good on that car, but… 1 color for the whole line up? That car would look great in an intense blue a la GTO. Or even a nice Jade Green a la PT Cruiser (don't judge me).
    Long post short: GIVE ME SOME COLORS TO CHOOSE FROM! If you want to be a successful automaker, you have to give the consumer what he/she wants. You give us the cars we want, now give us the colors.
    Extreme Side-Note: I miss Pontiac of recent. They were bringing in good cars from their European cousins, and they had a good color choices.

  12. I was coming in to complain about the Nissan GT-R being one of the most egregious examples of this (a red and 4 neutrals), but it turns out my Civic's worse (they tack on a 5th neutral and swap the red for blue). Mine's black. I'd call that unfortunate, but it's what they gave me, and it hides the unpainted door handles. Even my past purchases have been fairly neutral, colourwise – everything's neutral except for a powder blue and that dark green that doesn't really count because even the blind knew that every other car from the mid-90's was painted some variation of that shade. Not that I don't want something colourful, but since I usually just sort of fall into a car, it's not a priority.
    On the other hand, what happened to colour on the interior. I've had two blue interiors and a burgundy, and liked them over the current choices of black, grey, or beige.

    1. I'm seriously not sure I could own a remotely modern car with a beige interior – it's like grey, except nastier, and I already don't care for light grey. Black gets away with it by hiding imperfections.
      My daily driver is blue inside and out, and I like 'er that way.

  13. So long as I can get a new car in fleet white I'm fine. I will even avoid a model if it is not sold in white. Why? Well, it makes a car look like a generic fleet vehicle and not stand out in the crowd. This makes it less visible to the police and less likely to be pulled over for a minor infraction. Plus, white reflects heat well (important when you live in Florida), and shows minor imperfections the least. of course, this pertains only to new car purchases and not old ones. I see new cars as appliances that have to get me from point A to point B reliably and cheaply. My old cars are not driven every day so they can be a bit more interesting.

  14. Personally I'm a big fan of gunmetal grey, subdued and perfect, but I'm also a big fan of Vanilla ice cream so whatev. Either way, I understand the rub.
    I always thought green was a solid choice for a car. And where are the yellows anymore? It's a primary color for chrissakes!

  15. Fiat has gone on the colorful road again with the new Uno in Brazil

  16. I'd say it's a combination of factors that has led to so few colors being offered. First would people with no independence or adventurous streak, not wanting to stand out. Second would be manufacturers wanting to cut costs and meet environmental regs. Third would be dealers only wanting to order cars that will be easy to sell.
    Worse, not only is each manufacturer offering fewer colors, but there is more homogenization among manufacturers. Look around and by year of production you'll see the same green, the same blue, the same taupe, regardless of manufacturer. I blame DuPont for wanting to maximize its profit.

  17. Omigod – There are no more colors offered. Have been shopping for a new car and everything I find looks like asphalt – inside and out – the most boring crap I have ever seen in my life – I am 70 and will not buy any car with any kind of gray in it. Just look at the cars on the road – absolutely zero imagination. Looks like a real long funeral procession. I would pay good money just to have a car with some thought and excitement in the interior and exterior colors. They make very good cars nowadays – way above the crap of the 80's but for Gods sake give us some COLOR. Kudos to Dodge Charger for bringing back Plum crazy and a few others.

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