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Why Are Popular Car Colors So Boring? A Brief History of Car Paint

The most common car colors have gone from all the luminous colors of the rainbow to a mix of black, white and gray. Here's why.

Car colors have historically been dictated by current events, the national mood, technology and cultural influences, resulting in decades of brilliant shades. More recent times, however, have seen muted tones become the most popular car colors.

A look back in history shows us how we got to the common car colors we have today.

The History of Car Paint Begins

“Any customer can have a car painted any color that he wants so long as it is black.” —Henry Ford

Automobiles in the late 1800s and early 1900s were essentially motorized carriages, and so they were painted just like their transportation predecessors. This meant using oil-based paint applied by hand. Most cars were painted black because the color was durable, cheap and dried quickly.

But there were problems with both the color and the application of early car paint. Even though it provided a luxurious, brilliant finish, painting a car took weeks to complete. In addition, the black paint would often fade or yellow. Since the paint had no binding agent, when discoloration occurred, the car had to be repainted, which cost money.

Despite Henry Ford’s famous words, not all Model Ts were painted black. In fact, from 1908 to 1914, the car came in several different colors. But when Ford implemented the assembly line manufacturing process, he needed a paint that dried quickly, thus the switch to black.

duco paint

Duco Paint

A major milestone in the evolution of car paint history occurred in the 1920s when the DuPont company developed a new type of automotive coating. DuPont scientists modified nitrocellulose, a substance used to make explosives and motion picture film, to create a low-viscosity lacquer that could be sprayed onto automobiles. This new paint, dubbed Duco, had numerous benefits over previous versions of car paint.

According to the Science History Institute, “Traditional varnishes chipped, cracked, crazed and faded; Duco lacquer was almost invincible. It tolerated air, sun, rain, mud, dampness, heat, cold, salt water, bacteria, perspiration, dirt, soaps and detergents. Most low-end finishes came in few colors, while Duco made available a rainbow of hues.”

General Motors was the first manufacturer to adopt Duco (at the time, GM and DuPont were under the same leadership). GM’s Oakland Motor Car Company painted its cars with two different shades of blue and a red or orange racing stripe, and debuted them at the 1923 New York Auto Show. The colors were an immediate hit with the public and by the mid-1920s all GM divisions were using Duco.

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Car Color in the Roaring ’20s

The economic boom of the 1920s saw the rise of automobile ownership, which invited a broader spectrum of car colors and a variety in shades. Although the Great Depression reduced the abundance of colorful vehicles, it didn’t deter the evolution of car paint.

In the 1930s, newly created metallic paint gave vehicles an improved sheen. (Automobiles were also becoming less box-like, and the new paint helped enhance the curved forms.) Metallic paint was first made using real fish scales. It took 40,000 herring to make one kilo of paint, according to Consumer Reports. Less expensive versions of the paint used aluminum flakes instead.

Post-War Car Paint

The end of World War II saw a boom in consumption and style, with automobiles at the forefront. By this time nearly all the large automakers had color advisory panels that surveyed consumers’ tastes and studied color trends in fashion and culture. Cars became flashier with features like tail fins, curved windshields and, of course, bright colors. In addition to the copious amounts of chrome, automobiles were painted in all shades of the rainbow. Two-tone arrangements, where a car’s body and roof were painted different colors, also became popular.

The color trend continued well into the 1960s with the emergence of muscle cars. These cars have always been more about performance than pragmatism, lending themselves as better canvases for brightly colored paints.

The color trend came to a quick halt during the fuel shortage of the 1970s. During this time, car owners became more concerned with fuel efficiency and car color took a back seat. Earth tones like brown, tan and dark green became popular.

What Is the Most Popular Car Color Today?

German automaker Volkswagen recently described the current color situation on United States’ roadways: “If you drove down an American street and looked only at the new vehicles, you might be forgiven for thinking you’re in a black-and-white movie.”

No one can argue with the truth. A 2019 study by iSeeCars, which looked at 9.4 million vehicles ranging from 2014 to 2018 model years, found that 23.9% of the vehicles were white and 23.2% were black. Even more sobering if you’re a fan of colorful hues is that the next two most popular paint colors, at 15.5% and 14.5%, were gray and silver. This isn’t an anomaly: These have been the most common car colors for a decade.

Why Are Muted Tones the Most Popular Car Colors?

It wasn’t too long ago, from the 1950s through the 1970s, when U.S. roadways were filled with automobiles of all shades of the color spectrum. So why the change? “Color is always shifting, and our color perception is always evolving depending on what we see, what we observe and what we live with,” said Volkswagen Senior Color and Trim Designer Jung Lim “Limmy” Park. “Color preferences really reflect the unique social and cultural trends and even geography [of a region].”

There are a number of social and cultural theories as to the prevalence of more somber car colors in America. We are currently living through the second significant recession in about a decade. During times of economic uncertainty people tend to be conservative with their money. And while a different color on your car may not increase its cost, the mindset of keeping things simple and avoiding anything flashy has been known to carry over. A similar trend occurred following the Great Depression nearly a century ago.

As for cultural influences, there are some that suggest our car color choices are defined by our obsession with technology. Apple is the world’s most valuable company and its muted-color logo is recognized around the world. “Prior to Apple, white was associated with things like refrigerators or the tiles in your bathroom,” Sandy McGill, chief designer for BMW DesignWorks told Motoramic.com. “Apple made white valuable.”

duco paint

The Right Car Color for the Right Car

There’s also always been a belief that certain colors are right for certain cars. Pickup trucks are more utilitarian and don’t need a neon coating. Luxury sports car, meanwhile, are made to get people’s attention and are likely a more acceptable place for a bright-yellow coat of paint.

But sports cars haven’t been immune to the colorless trend. The Ford Mustang is a perfect example. In 1967, the muscle car was available nine shades of blue and two shades of pink. In the 1970s, brown was consistently among the top three most popular Mustang colors, but hasn’t been offered since 2000. Black, on the other hand, didn’t break into the top three until 1994 but has remained there ever since.

What Will Be the Most Popular Car Colors Moving Forward?

No one can predict the future, but we do know that trends change. As long the demand for new colors is there, the supply will come with it.

There’s another reason to be hopeful for more vivid roadways. We view so much of our lives through the sharp, brightly colored images on our electric devices that it wouldn’t be surprising to see other shades pop up on cars in the near future. “We are all so impacted by our digital life through the pandemic, and the colors you mainly see are [on] your screen more than actual physical objects,” said Volkswagen’s Park. “The future is getting colorful, for sure.”

What color is your car? What colors would you like to see brought back? Let us know in the comments below!

If you want to try cars in all the colors of the rainbow, you can use your AAA membership to get a discount on Hertz car rentals.

For more automotive history, visit AAA.com.

Comments
  • I have a an ‘orange burst metallic” colored car — with an emphasis on the orange. In the old days, I secured a plastic daisy to the antennae of my VW Bug to find it in a crowded parking lot; now all i have to do is scan the horizon (in pre-pandemic days of course) and I can pick out my car from among a sea of boring blacks, whites, and other dull colors!

    Reply
    • I loved my Orange RAV 4. Could find it anywhere. I now have a Red one but it is too dark for me. My other choices were the boring WBG colors or a hideous bright non metallic Blue.

      Reply
      • Mimi S.

        I also had an orange RAV4 Sport with black accents. Gorgeous. Same as you could find it in any lot. Now I have silver Nissan Rogue. It’s a fine car but hard to find????

        Reply
      • julie l.

        I have a sassy Tangerine orange Mustang and it makes me smile every day

        Reply
    • I love brightly colored cars! My current car is gold (well, tan with golden flakes in the paint) but only because there were limited choices when I bought it.
      I would love a bright red or lime-green car, though.

      Reply
    • I’d love to see more beautiful blues, more British greens and different shades of red, depending on the size and shape of the car and orange can be great in SUV like Range Rovers….rich purples as striking in larger cars like RR Bentley’s and even large Cadillac (where did this disappear to?) Lambo’s and certain sports car can get away with bright yellow, shocking lime greens and vivid oranges.

      Reply
    • Bill M.

      I have a 2006 Prius with the classic Prius blue of the time. I still love the color and can easily recognize the car. I loved this article because I have been complaining for years about how boring car colors have become. I just could not fathom why car manufactures would only produce such boring colors, not to mention how the current styling has often become what I can only call pretty ugly. I have often mentioned that, if you looked at any 30 or so cars that passed you going the opposite way, it would be unusual if you saw more than one with any notable color, something other than black, white, gray except for possibly a very, very muted color.

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    • Steve i.

      After years of Grey and white cats, I just bought a Lava Orange Porsche Cayenne Coupe… and love it!

      Reply
    • I have not purchased a needed car because I am sick of grey white and black. I want a sedan which is light blue like my the first very mature Acura TSX which I still have. My most recent car is a “champagne” Soda Accord. I will not buy another car until I get my color and it will be a major choosing point!

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    • The reason everyone has boring colors has nothing to do with economic hardship it is because of “cancel culture”. Nobody wants to stand out and be noticed. Our society has done a good job of telling everyone “non-conformity” is bad, so we can see the true effect. We all want to blend in.

      Reply
    • Anne M.

      I loved my Harvest Moon Beige VW convertible beetle! I wish I still owned that car. It was always a blast to drive and people treated me so nice.

      Reply
    • I sadly had to turn my Lime Hyper Green 2017 Jeep Renegade lease in; it was up for renewal and the mechanics weren’t like my previous Hondas. It just didn’t feel as mechanically solid. I literally leased this car for THE COLOR! I ‘bought’ a new car, a Honda CRV EXL but it is white :(, they didn’t have Lime Green. In a “heart beat”, as soon as Toyota or Honda make a New SUV in that color, I will trade my car in. It makes me feel Happy, while I’m driving, when I look for it, when I see it in my driveway…. even when I see another fellow quirky Lime Green lover on the road, we wave to one another. It’s UNIQUE, CRAZY, BRIGHT… it’s what I LOVE… and WISH my New awesome CVR was! PLEASE, car manufacturers, give us COLOR LOVERS the option of choosing a color of our liking. It’s like buying eye glasses, you need to love them, they become part of your persona, truly!

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    • I chose the color of my 2007 VW Passat based on the name of the paint color “Arctic Blue Silver”. I am an artist and created a piece with that title. Still love the color and love driving the car. VW, please hear this and be more creative in your paint colors. I will need a new car someday–simply can’t buy black, white or silver/gray.

      Reply
  • I’m still loving the subtly sparkling Deep Ocean Blue metallic on my trusty 2008 Kia Optima EX. It’s one of the reasons that I’m reluctant to trade the car in (in addition to the marvelous six CD changer in the dashboard). Current car colors, for the most part, are really drab and uninspiring; I plan to stick with dark blue whenever I do get a new car, just to put some color on the road.

    Reply
    • Lisa E.

      I am a fan of dark blue myself. Have you seen the dark dark blue BMW in the sun. It is a great-looking car. Wish I could afford that.

      Reply
  • Pastels would be nice colors for cars…blues, yellows and pinks…for any size car, not just for compact cars

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  • The colors are to make it cheaper and easier for the manufacturers.
    Who are they kidding!.?
    If all they offer aredead colors how do they know what anyone wants when there is no choice?? Duh!

    Reply
    • Exactly! Unless you buy right at the start of the model year your choices are pretty much black or white. My last car was white and I never really liked it. My present car is blue/grey and I love it. Color certainly wasn’t the only reason for my feelings about both cars but definitely was a factor.

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    • You’re exactly correct. Same with SUV’s. Auto manufacturers (Ford / GM) claim no one wants cars – only SUV’s. But that’s because that’s all they make and that’s all people can buy. These guys most definitely control the market. Clearly evident now with open dealer lots. They will tell consumers what they need to buy – and at a 4% annual increase in MSRP for the last 15 years! Really makes you rethink the wisdom of the bailout.

      Reply
    • I agree with you! It costs a lot extra to custom order a blue, red or gold car. My new Nissan Murano is “Gun metallic gray” yuck!

      Reply
      • Marshall

        My 1971 Plymouth Duster was “Gunmetal.” Their version was really kind of pretty.

        Reply
  • My 1956 Studebaker is painted in a metallic pine green on top and a mint green on the bottom. Everyone who sees it remarks how much they love the colors.

    Reply
  • I believe many of the cars on the road are white because a titanium white or a carbon black pigment is about the cheapest that a car manufacturer can use, so they make more of these cars available for purchase. You want a fancy color for your car? You will pay a lot more money!

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    • Surprised you didn’t mention…. What are the safest colors? Colors with the least accidents?

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        • Safety comes with high visibility car paint color! Consumer Reports reported on this fact some years ago. Let’s report this again.

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          • HarryBar

            And yet, I believe that drivers of red cars have the highest number of accidents and the highest insurance rates. Red appeals to the extroverted, risk-taking, more reckless personality type, which is reflected in their driving habits. (I taught a college course in color theory and application, which included “Color Preference as an Indicator of Personality Type”. There have been many studies published on the subject.
            As the article says, general cultural preferences for certain colors (or rejection of color) can reflect the public mood at any point in time. Look at the lack of color in the clothes we wear today compared to, say the Woodstock or Disco eras. Relatively speaking, we now live in a colorless time. Contemporary car colors are just another aspect of that.

        • I special ordered my Audi S4 Avant in Imola Yellow in ’08 and love it. You rarely see another one like it even though the yellow was a “signature” S color. I have no intention of parting with this car for the foreseeable future.

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        • Joyce A.

          I have a yellow Honda Fit. I refused to buy a car unless it was yellow. 1) it is easily seen all times of the day (sunrise and dusk) and weather. 2) can get picked out of crowded parking area, and 3) it is fun and happy!

          Reply
  • Over the years I have had navy blue, light blue, white, and since 2004 I have chosen dark red cars that remind me of my favorite color and fruit – cranberry. The trim on my home is the same color.

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  • elizabeth h.

    Navy Blue so classic and timeless. Amazing with a camel tan leather interior.

    Reply
  • I remember the early seventies having bright yellow, orange and lime green. Volkswagen had a special edition in 1974 of only orange or lime green with black bumpers. Had one of those!

    Reply
  • The color of my car would be GREEN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    And why is that,
    I am IRISH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    My Motorcycle is also GREEN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Reply
      • Nora C.

        I’m Irish but no matter where I was born Green is my favorite.Once I had a beautiful green Cadillac with beige roof My all time favorite car

        Reply
  • I truly miss the varied colors and designs that used to be on our roads. What a sad sign of our culture to see the monotonous shapes and colors out there today. As youngsters we loved guessing what brand the car was and the colors made it even more fun. It was certainly a lot easier to find one’s car in the parking lot!

    Reply
  • Interesting article 40000 fish scales? For metallic paint?
    Surprisingly no mention of red cars ???? as a popular choice I’ve had 2 red cars and one black car , a color I really was not fond of , long term

    Reply
  • I have been starting to look at buying a new car but I have been very turned off by the colors that are presently available. There are so few nowadays and they are generally black, white, silver, or a very very limited number of other dark colors. And the available interior color combinations is also horrible. For example, if I choose an Acura TLX with an exterior color that I like, it actually forces me into a black or red interior neither of which I want. It has actually caused me to want to keep my present car.

    Reply
    • Yes, i agree, poor color selections & bad INTERIOR color choices make us just keep the car we have, and we should if at all possible. The lack of lighter interior choices is a big hold up for us. We have had black interiors and we will never get black interiors ever again. It’s too difficult finding things like your phone or wallet against the black interior, and at night, forget it. Plus, the black interiors always look dirty and dusty.

      Reply
  • I never buy brand new cars, I always go with a car that’s a year or two old and just off a lease because leases typically force the lessee to keep up on maintenance. Because of this I have to take the color that’s available but if given a choice I usually go with an unusual color. I currently drive a Dodge Charger and black was the only real option plus the car looks very good in black. My last car was a 4Runner and I had my choice of several certified pre-owned, I went with a dark maroon color because it was unusual and stood out. That’s always my choice when I have a choice. Black and white is boring in most cars.

    Reply
    • William H.

      In South Africa, most cars are white, next often silver. Makes sense, reflects the sunlight – psychologically, too.

      Reply
      • John W.

        Surprised that no one else has mentioned this. Here in Florida, white (or metallic silver or light gray or yellow) are best defense against the strong prevailing sunlight, while black (or dark colors) make the least sense, increasing the wear and tear on passengers, air conditioning, paint and upholstery all at once.

        Reply
  • Car dealers rarely have anything but the most boring colors in stock. Most people have to settle for the available colors as nicer ones cost more and have to be custom ordered.
    I have a red Prius V that just happened to be in stock after searching at numerous dealerships.

    Reply
  • judith m.

    I have a medium metallic blue small suv. I picked it because I wanted it to stand out
    a bit in a parking lot. As per your article, all the cars were White, Black, Silver, Gray. My
    previous cars were white and I was often trying to get into the wrong car in a lot

    Reply
  • Marion F.

    We used to talk about safety colors. That seems to have disappeared. Also, at least 8 years ago, colors in the Northeast all seemed to be in the gray tones, but as soon as one went south of Philly, bright colors appeared.

    Reply
  • I wanted blue for my Subaru and went to many dealers to find one. My second choice was a burgandy and none were found. There were only about 6 color choices and the ones on the lot were black or white. I settled for black

    Reply
    • My favorite color is red, but when I go to the dealership and select the model I want and point at the red color in the brochure, I’m told, “We don’t sell those in this part of the country.” To which, I respond, “Then I won’t buy from you.”
      Why would they offer it if you can’t have it?

      Reply
  • I have had a variety of Blues, one Gold Duster, Tans and currently a Dark Red KIA and a Silver Jeep. Never one for a flash color.

    Reply
  • I chose my 2012 Jetta off the lot because it was the only red one in a sea of black, white, grey and silver.

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    • My first car was gold. My last car was red. In between, I owned beige, black and white. Gold and red were my choice. Beige, black and white were not my choice but were the only colors available. My current car is a white Subaru – the dealership near me had a lot full of white, black, grey and silver. If I wanted color, I had to wait for them to order it special, and it was more money. I wanted the car and the price. White is not what I would have chosen if there were more options. There were no other options.

      It’s not that people are wanting white, black, silver or grey. Dealerships are limiting our choices to those colors OR forcing you to pay more.

      Reply
      • Bill M.

        I wanted blue. The dealer said they had no blue, but they could order it special (for extra money) or I could wait until they got one. I told them I’d wait and I’d buy it whenever they got it. They got it in six months and I bought it.

        Reply
  • Colors please. I am so sick & tired of boring gray, white, black. Horrible to try to find my car in a large parking lot. How about some pastels – I see a few colors now – light green or blue, or even light purple. Something different is very needed. Boring needs to be eliminated. Expand the palette.

    Reply
    • Talk about boring. It must have something to do with globalization. That’s why American manufacturers nolonger make vehicles with any distinction.

      Reply
  • I have had red and burgundy colors. But who knows what I would choose if more colors were available like dark green and others. You can’t predict what colors are popular if you don’t offer a full range of colors.

    Reply
    • Roberta W.

      In our last 2 car purchases, we were told there was an extra fee for ANY color other than white. Cars are expensive enough, so we went with white. Much prefer a snazzy red.

      Reply
  • I’ve never understood all these black/gray/silver cars. So dull, and impossible to see on a rainy, gray day, no leaves on trees, dark pavement. It used to be that white was preferred as most visible. I had thought article would explain these “colors” are due to technical concerns,, not personal choices! Sad. Current car is blue (2018 Subaru Forester); previous car (1996 Rav4) was bright blue. My earlier cars were red or white.

    Reply
  • Sharon H.

    Safety is important. Dark colored cars are not as visible on the road, especially after dark. That said, the popular color black and dark grey or charcoal are not great color choices, nor is maroon or brown. White might be boring but it’s the safest color on the road!

    Reply
    • White followed by Yellow, these are the safest as I recall from Consumer Reports magazine article some years ago

      Reply
  • I have a 1960 T Bird convertible in Palm Springs Rose, and my 2021 Mazda CX5 in Soul Red. The color grabbed me as soon as I stepped foot in the showroom.

    Reply
  • Barbara W.

    My Versa is morning sky blue. I so miss colorful cars. I hate the boring cvolors so much. Please make some color choices like Aqua, seafoam green, peach or pink…Make us smile to see cars again.

    Reply
  • I bought a car last July. While shopping, I told every dealer that I didn’t want a white car or a black car. Every one of them replied, “That’s all we have.” I wound up getting a “gunmetal” grey vehicle with “espresso” interior. I don’t love the exterior color, but the combination is growing on me. I do, however, love the new car itself.

    Reply
  • Yellow Monte Carlo 2002-2017, Yellow Challenger 2017-date. Turquoise Edsel in the garage. I can’t stand living in a b/w movie.

    Reply
  • My car is white, because I want it to show up in cloudy, rainy weather and not just blend in with the road like grey and black ones do. I really wanted a red car, but the only red available at the time for my Honda CRV was a dark “old lady” burgundy ????. I’d really love to see two toned colors come back like we used to see in the 60’s.

    Reply
  • I chose my cars based on color & price. Would love a purple car, or green or pink. Make some fun colors!

    Reply
  • I hate the monotonous array of black, white, gray, silver. I used to play a game with my grandson…the first one of us to spot a different-colored car would get points, depending on the color…higher points for orange, yellow and purple if i remember right. I buy the best used Toyotas i can find so don’t choose by color. I’m comfortable in a black car though, hate white and loved my dark blues the most. I also suspect the reason for the monotony is money. ????

    Reply
  • My Vette is a metallic flaked royal blue called Elkhart Lake Blue and I get compliments on it all the time…. I chose it because I’ve never had blue, it looked awesome in photos, and variety is the spice of life!

    Reply
  • My ford fusion is deep impact blue, and my previous cars was burgundy and red. Didn’t want to blend in with all the black, silver and white cars.

    Reply
  • Priscilla S.

    I recently bought a 2020 Chyrsler Pacifica (have previously owned 5 Dodge or Chrysler vans). I waited several years for the AWD combined with Stow n Go seating to become available, but did not like ANY of the colors. The electric blue is way over the top for me! I settled for the dark red – ok on a very sunny day, but too dark and dull the rest of the time. The all black interior for every Pacifica makes anything inside difficult to see day or night. I do like the van and hope Chrysler will improve on both the exterior and interior colors for the future.

    Reply
  • Sharon W.

    I have said that we should not have a car the same color as the asphalt or snow. This is for safety reasons. Gray, black and white cars are not seen as easily, especially on cloudy days or on shady streets. Brightly colored cars are noticed more quickly. I drive a bright red car, but then I used to drive a bright red fire engine as well.

    Reply
  • I’d like to see some prints on cars, ones that are easy to produce like “tone-on-tone” stripes or plaids.

    Reply
  • I drive a bright yellow Kia Soul. The color is called ‘sunbeam.’ I’m so tired of drab colors, and I tend to associate these with being emotionally shut down, a lack of creativity, and a poverty of curiosity.

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  • Victor G.

    This will change when and if car manufacturers sell direct to the public and eliminate the dealers. The internet has made this possible and every year more consumers would feel comfortable purchasing a new vehicle via this method.

    If I had a Dollar every time a dealer tried to sell me a White car that they couldn’t get rid of from their forced color allotment. Allowing the buyer to pick the exact color and shade would greatly increase the number of colors on the road.

    The vehicle could then be painted with a lot of automation I might add as one of the last steps out of the factory.

    Reply
  • I read this article with great interest. My grandfather, who was an artist, developed a thriving business as a car painter in Vermont in the early 1900s. Unfortunately, I never got the chance to meet him as he died in 1948 and I wasn’t even born yet. However, I did see the house/building where he painted all of his cars. It was a large multifamily house with 2 bays. His family lived in the other side. It was right downtown in a small New England town, where you would not think a business like this could even survive, let alone thrive. It is my understanding that he was one of the first to start painting cars, and as his reputation grew and word got around, customers came to him from many different states. He was able to provide his family with a very comfortable life, even sending all of his children to college, which was extremely rare for women back in the 1930s and 40s.
    None of my mom’s family is alive now so I haven’t been able to find out much information about my grandfather’s business. This article filled in many of the blanks.
    Thank you!

    Reply
  • Constance A.

    I had a 2004 Hyundai Santa Fe that was Medium Sand. I loved the color, or course, it is no longer available. I like a mocha color, Hyundai has eliminated that color as well. Chevrolet had a mocha color but no longer. I think I saw the color on an Escape.

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  • Always wanted silver or a medium grey car as that color doesn’t show the dirt like dark colors or white. Simplicity in the exterior but would love a beautiful tapestry fabric for the interior.

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  • My current car is bright red, and the car I’m about to buy is sky blue. But I will admit I’ve had my share of grey, silver and black cars.

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  • A large part of the white/black/silver/gray trend has to with how Americans buy cars. In Europe, dealers typically have only a selection of vehicles for potential buyers to see and test drive. They then order the car. In the US, dealers keep roughly 60 days’ inventory on hand. They keep in inventory colors that they can turn over quickly, and those tend to be the most conservative.

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  • First car was Autumn Bronze metallic – a really rich looking color – unusual for 1966 Olds Cutlass convertible. A later car was Bahama gold metallic – 1988 Acura Legend – the color was almost like ginger ale and just had a great look to it.

    Reply
  • I currently drive a 2010 Chevy Pickup in dark blue metallic flake color which I bought new.It still really looks great in the sun when polished .
    My favorite color car way my 1995 Taurus in Forest Green . I got many compliments on its color when I had it.

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  • Silver – because it reflects the light and is seen more easily. Not too hot. If I am cold, I can put on the heat.

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  • Cruiser, how about a 1954 Ford Country Squire station wagon
    Color, nothing can compare to DARK HIGHLANDER GREEN with oak trim rails, WWWs,
    57 Caddie wheel covers.

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  • When purchasing my Lincoln Continental 3 years ago I purposely shopped for something with ‘color’. My Jade Green ride gets compliments all the time.

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  • I have a white Lexus rx350 2015 and I love it! For some reason white doesn’t show dirt as readily as black or the darker colors and to me it is a pleasing color. Also, it doesn’t attract the hot sun as strongly!!!

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  • Raymond Z.

    I’ve had two 65’ Chevy SS Impala convertibles in Artesian Aquamarine (original color for a few GM cars), always get positive comments from all ages.

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  • I call it “Smurfmobile” because of the wild bright blue color! It seemed only Toyota had that color 15 years ago…now everybody has that color.

    Reply
  • Pamela H.

    We have a dark metallic gray car, because it was what we found in a used car. I remember a rumor going around that red cars got pulled over more often for speeding — not sure what the cause and effect would be on that!

    Reply
    • You hear a lot of stupid reasons why red cars get more tickets. I have two theories on this: 1. Most sports cars look great in red and these people tend to drive too fast, and 2. It takes a certain personality type (me included) to want a red car and these people also tend to drive faster. Who knows???

      Reply
    • I had a red Scion for 12 years. Never got pulled over. Never lost the car in the parking lot either. Loved the color and the car. Because of its age it is now our 2nd car. They don’t make Scions anymore sadly. Now have a white Subaru. Like the car, hate the color but that’s all they had.

      Reply
  • CLIFFORD M.

    My VW Golf is metallic blue. My wife’s VW Golf is hunter green. Not sure why, but perhaps because my eyes are blue and hers are green. Spent most of my working life in red vehicles (fire engines), so blue and green are pleasantly different.

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  • I loved my Orange RAV 4. Could find it anywhere. I now have a Red one but it is too dark for me. My other choices were the boring WBG colors or a hideous bright non metallic Blue.

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  • Roberta C.

    My first, brand new car was a 1997 Pontiac T-Top Firebird ( which I still own ) in a stock color of chamelion! It changes from a metallic blue to purple to teal depending on the sunlight. It is still and eye-catcher and super fun to attend car shows with. My daily driver is a Salsa Red, VW New Beetle convertible. Red flower in the bud vase. Talk about opposite ends of the car spectrum. It’s like being in a parade as you have to wave back to all of the little ones who are so excited to see it. Lots of fun, just in a different way. No silver, gray or white cars for me!

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  • Dealers simply do not stock brightly colored cars, or at least cars where a cool paint color comes in a package with other things you may not want and adds $2000+ to the cost of the car. When I bought my Kia Soul, the choices were – yawn – black, white, silver & red. I’m not fond of their red, but it was the only interesting color since their Caribbean Blue cars were only listed as an option, and not available unless I wanted to wait weeks. I think if more colors are available and do not cost more, they’d be more popular.

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  • Car costs have really soared, so to protect ones investment and to keep resale value high by reaching broadest resale consumer the boring colors like black will have broader mass appeal. Also attitudes about color have shifted particularly with men. Bright colors of 60s and 70s clothes are non existent, and not oddly not considered anymore.

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  • One of the main reasons I selected my 2017 Audi A4 was because of the color: Gotland green. I have received numerous compliments regarding this color. It is truly an amazing!

    Reply
    • John P.

      Nowhere in this interesting article is mention of the Saturn. Saturn was met by a challenge after the invention of its dent-and-ding-resistant polymer panels. Their plastic was tough and hard to break, and “gave” when hit; however, conventional paints are not flexible and will, when depressed, “spider-web.” After much effort was spent, and to no avail, the problem of elastic paint was solved by BASF, which developed a water-borne acrylic paint as flexible as the bendable panels on which they were electrostatically applied.

      Reply
  • Heather S.

    My 2007 Highlander – Oasis Green Pearl (love the vehicle, love the color)
    Husband’s car – Silver
    Old Tundra – Silver
    My first Saturn (’95) – Brilliant Red Metallic (loved that little car; put 215K mi on it, then sold it during the “Cash for Clunkers” program)

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  • My current car is white because the only choices I had were white, gray and black. Gray cars disappear into the road. I do not like black so the brightest I could get was white (not good for coming out of drives with snow banks). I despise these lack-less colors. I had a beautiful cream car with dark green vinyl top; a dark blue car and a red car. Love red but wouldn’t get it again as it followed insurance wisdom and attracted 3 accidents. I like green cars also. A rainbow of colors on the road is far better than an endless stream of gray, black and white. I thought the paint was cheaper and that was why the car companies did this. So boring!!!!

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  • I’m surprised the article didn’t mention the growing popularity of matte paints on cars. Personally, I think they are gross. Give me a deep red metallic any day. However, my current car is gray, so I get the fact that there really aren’t a lot of options out there. I don’t think we are heading into a season of colorful cars anytime soon.

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  • I always had medium blue cars but when my 14 year old Hyndai met a deer, I had to buy
    a car in one week. Got a Honda in “platinum” which actually looks gold. Elegant but
    I miss blue. There were none available .

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  • You also should make a point that some car manufacturers only make outside and inside color combinations. i.e. I wanted a royal blue outside, but it only had black interior. I was looking for royal blue with beige interior. It wasn’t manufactured that way.

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  • I drive a white Prius C because it was a good deal on Craigslist. I don’t particularly like having a white car -it looks horribly dirty during the winter months, which are a long time here in New England. I’ve always wanted a red car, but I tend to choose my cars pragmatically for price and efficiency, so there isn’t often a lot of choice for cosmetic details.

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  • I looked over a website listing all the colors offered by Saab… (R.I.P.)
    Over the years, they had 211 (!) different colors on the various models they built and sold. Yeah, not all at the same time, but they were not just offering black/white/gray/brown…

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  • Claire L.

    I love the color of my 2014 VW Passat. It is VWOpera Red, a deep maroonish red. Not very ordinary!

    Reply
  • PAY ATTENTION, CAR MANUFACTURERS! See how many owners are opting to keep their vehicles because you don’t offer them an exciting or even favorite color option. NO ONE’s favorite color is black, white or grey!
    I’m liking Subaru’s MA State Police blue, finally a shade that’s not neon or navy, just a nice sedate hue. Show me a brand with 10 shades ranging from blue through teal to green and I’m interested.

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    • Judith C.

      I’m with you and all the other folks who like non-standard colors – give me shades and tints any day – with light interiors.

      Reply
  • My first car was a gold Dodge Aries. After that, it’s been Toyota all the way.

    A cherry red Camry, a dark green Camry, a blue RAV4, a grayish brown 2018 Corolla (the color was called Falcon Gray), and now a 2021 dark blue (Blueprint) Corolla with a two-tone light gray and black interior. I LOVE my new Corolla! I picked all of the cars except I settled for the 2018 because I didn’t want a BWG car. I didn’t like the color and the black interior so it was easy to say bye at lease end. I’m loving the 2021 Corolla so much that I may buy it at lease end.

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  • My 2020 Nissan Rogue is scarlet. To make life simple I named her Scarlett Rogue! My Rogue before Scarlett was brilliant blue

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  • Love my Viking Blue 1971 Cutlass Supreme with white racing stripes. It is actually a 442 color, but the Cutlass Blue was too muted for me.

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  • I had a 1966 Chevelle 396 in Marina Blue, I believe the first year that color was introduced. It was a metallic medium blue with a red/white pinstripe along its length that took on different shades of blue depending on how the light hit it. Many onlookers told me it was drop-dead gorgeous. And it was!

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  • I have a 2000 Jaguar in sea foam green. It’s one of the prettiest cars on the road.

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  • I have a 2018 Toyota Rav4 in “Black Currant” with is PURPLE!!!! I LOVE IT!! I bought a leftover because I wanted a car in my favorite color!! It has a weird black with orange stitching interior (?), but that is a small inconvenience for a Purple Car!!!!

    Reply
    • Kathy A.

      We have one of those parked on our block. Love the color and wish it was more widely available.

      Reply
  • All of my cars starting with 1961 Chevy convertible up to my 2002 VW Cabrio have been British green . If they weren’t that color I had them painted that color. Lucky my brother had an auto body shop. Now I have a 2019 Jetta which is a lovely blue. Miss my Cabrio had it 17 years!

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  • Andrew V.

    I love my “latte menta (milk mint)” 2017 Fiat. Looked everywhere for one and had it shipped from Austin, Texas. Few good colors in New England. Will never sell it!

    Reply
  • Darleen C.

    I’m partial to blue so my bluish gray Nissan was the closest I could find. A sage green would be my next choice.

    Reply
  • Doreen S.

    It is clearly stated by reading all these responses that the car companies have no clue what the customer wants. Black, white gray and silver are so boring! I recently bought a new car and could not get the color I wanted-blue! I was so disappointed

    Reply
  • Delphine K.

    2013 RAV4 in spruce mica. Green with gold flecks. Love it. Had to wait until dealer could locate this color and black leather interior. Worth the wait. Have gotten many compliments when the sun hits it just right. Dark day, it looks almost black, when sun hits it, wow.

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  • Ford truck is Toreador red. Avalon is Moulon Rouge. Waited a month for Avalon. Had to wait for dealership to find one because “nobody buys red”!

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  • I hate that my Toyota is a dull grey/silver. When I first bought it I did not realize how hard it would be to find in a parking lot sea of grey and silver. My previous Toyota Siena was a metallic green and I loved it! We need more choices. I love the new non-metallic colors, more solid and the colors are rich, coffee, cream, blues, and shades of brown. We helped our daughter purchase a Mazda 3 her only choices of slightly used were red (she would never buy a red car) black and white. Why is red the only choice. I think that the insurance co. charge more for red cars… easily rear-ended.

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  • I haven’t had a choice in colors other than black and white if I wanted to keep costs down. I would love more options!

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  • I’ve always wanted a light green or maybe blue green, but it was never available. I always ended up with a tan car

    Reply
  • Diane-michele p.

    My bright Swedish yellow 1974 Saab Sonett, can’t miss it! But I would love to see pastel cars like in Edward Scissorhands.

    Reply
  • Margaret A.

    I used to have a red conversion van. I loved it. It was old so we bought a Ford Expedition Platinum and I love the big SUV, except that it’s black. I feel like I’m driving a hearse. I wanted color, but we bought it second hand and had to take the black. I love colors on the road. I’ve had blue, green, gold, white, beige, gray and red.

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  • My first car was a Plymouth Duster. It was baby blue. I’d like to see this color on the road.

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  • When car manufacturers make 90% of their cars in black, grays, silvers, and white, that what you expect to see on the streets. Everytime I looking to get a new car with a different color then whats said above, I’m told sorry, “we don’t have those available in our lots”. I am however shown 15 different shades of grays and silver available to choose from. Wow! I’m really going to standout in the mall parking lot. Now which one’s my car again? Unless their marketing is wrong (they really don’t care about your color preferences), it’s the car manufacturers that dictate the available colors. It’s all about maximizing profits by limiting customer preferences. You’re going to have to pay a premium for the color that you like and it’s done by having it available only in the higher trim models with all those additional options, like a heater leather steering wheel. No thanks, I’ll just just keep my gloves on, and I’ll take the “Fog of Dawn Mist Gray”.

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  • Christine T.

    After buying two white cars in a row I decided to chose a bright red Honda HRV to celebrate my retirement. If not now, when, I thought! It’s very easy to spot in a parking lot as mostly everything is like the article says, white, black, or grey. I do like a rich navy color car though. But the color has to match the vehicle.

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  • I see some have mentioned about the concept of ‘safest’ colors. Is that actually a thing or is it psychological? Are there studies? I know I have read in the past of studies that show that flashy colors tend to be stolen more frequently, with red (like fire engines) being the leader in that.
    I also have to raise an eyebrow towards the manufacturers & dealers who call a color something that it isn’t. Kia did that with a color they called Slate Blue, but it’s really just gray.
    Personally, I want a car that’s pleasing to my eye, but not too attractive. No blacks, whites, or fire engine reds for me. I tend to lean more toward functionality & comfort, but I think my next car will be in the blue family.

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  • george c.

    Less color variations mean fewer cars have to be stocked. We have all seen the docks and storage loots crammed with cars waiting for a buyer, usually a distributer or fleet operator. by limiting colors, car makers don’t have to stock as many flaming pink cars for the discerning buyer.

    Reply
  • george c.

    Less color variations mean fewer cars have to be stocked. We have all seen the docks and storage loots crammed with cars waiting for a buyer, usually a distributer or fleet operator. by limiting colors, car makers don’t have to stock as many flaming pink cars for the discerning buyer. Besides, bright cars are more obvious to the Highway Patrol (My apologies to Broderick Crawford).

    Reply
  • My Camaro SS with its 6.2 liter V8 is silver with zero racing stripes. I didn’t want my car to shout, “hey officer, please keep your eyes on me”. My Camry is grey because it is not a muscle car, it’s a sedate, daily driver. If the Camaro was hugger orange, I would probably have a nice collection of tickets. If the Camry was competition yellow, it would look ridiculous.

    Reply
  • My favorite: a medium brown metal flake with deep hues in different light angles, called “root beer.” On someone else’s es old restored pickup.
    For me, good tires and brakes….color incidental.

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  • Robin C.

    I have a black diamond car. I wanted a blue one but bought a car that was available. My husband has a red car. I would like to see more blues and greens. Oh and as a sidebar, why can’t I have a manual transmission that isn’t for the lowest priced model?

    Reply
  • I like a metallic burgundy or a metallic turquoise, good luck trying to get it!

    Reply
  • Francis N.

    Years ago I had a 71 Mercury Comet GT that was a bright lime green color. I love that color. I noticed that some new cars are coming in orange, lime green and other bright colors. After years of owning several muted colored Siennas (they all were the same color, tan) I bought a Salsa Red one.

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  • It seems pretty evident that people LOVE cars with color but we don’t have any say in the matter. I really miss colorful cheerful highways. Now all I see is a long line of dull, nothing stands out, I barely notice one car from the next. Bring back some fun!!!

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  • I am a baby boomer and absolutely loved the car colors we had as we grew up. Going to car shows before this pandemic brought smiles and such good memories for all of us. The “non-color” cars of today are depressing and right about now we all need a reason to smile again. BRING BACK COLOR!

    Reply
  • ANYTHING BUT black, white, silver, gray, gold (passé now thank goodness).
    I can’t wait for bright colors to return!!

    Reply
  • We see mainly white, black and grey cars because that is what dealers are ordering so it is all we see on lots. For many car models and manufacturers it is very difficult to buy a car in a bright or even any color. I have a 2019 black metallic BMW convertible with a light brown interior. It was an extra cost color which I would have preferred not to have. Most of the similar cars at multiple dealers were black with black interiors which would have been much worse for me. In a few years I would like to buy a similar car in a light color with a light interior. When I am ready to replace it, I expect I will have to special order it and wait one or 2 months to get it.

    Reply
  • When I was looking for my car, a fun color was actually a top priority! I remember looking out the window at my office building and seeing a sea of black, white, grey, and silver. What I got in the end is a truly wonderful Subaru Forester in Newport Blue, which is a happy, peppy shade.
    I really want to see more color on our roadways and parking lots!

    Reply
  • Lisa T.

    From 2004-2013 I drove a silver minivan. When on the road I saw 100’s of the same model silver minivan. It was like looking in a mirror. I even accidentally tried to unlock a few when parked. So when I was in the market for a new SUV, I bought a make and model that was rarely seen and picked a deep Copper color.

    Reply
  • Laura O.

    GM does have some beautiful colors. European car manufacturers also offer great colors. Yes, the color should compliment the car. Unfortunately, there are many new colors that are not appealing. Car colors from the 50’s & 60’s were great.

    Reply
  • Brandon B.

    I love colors!!! We have two Jeep Wranglers..one cranberry/red/burgundy which I didn’t want because there were so many burgundy cars in the early 2000’s and a new white with a black top (it does look great though). Hoping to trade the cranberry in this year for another Jeep and I want it to be bright orange, bright green or other bright. Apparently, the last year they made the chartreuse was 2016 and I loved it. The problem with both Jeeps we have is that they were the only ones available with the options we wanted. Color, color, color please!!!

    Reply
  • Black interiors are HORRIBLE!!! Yet thats in every new car. They are hot and show dirt all the time. Im keeping my Sandstone Camry with tan interior for as long as I can. Its a cool, clean looking interior and the exterior doesnt show the dirt. Im at 220,000 miles. Once light interiors come available, I’ll buy a new car.

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  • Denis A.

    when shopping for a certified pre owned car we were determined not to get one in either black, gray, silver, or champagne. Champagne was not mentioned as a popular color but for many years every other Toyota was in champagne.
    The best we could do was find a car in navy blue metallic.

    Reply
  • Graham R.

    There is a fellow on Cape Cod who has a collection of several dozen antique and classic sports cars. Every one of them is red.
    My Aston Martin is in Mendip Blue. Mendip. I love it.

    Reply
  • Donna M.

    My new car is white only because there were no others available. I would have preferred navy.

    Reply
  • Joyce A.

    Car color has depended mostly on my age. Red, when I was younger, and navy blue was next. I then switched to buying used cars. The features and odometer reading now mean more. I currently drive a beige certified pre-owned Prius. I love the car, but not the color.

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  • Theresa D.

    My car is greenish grey because that was the only choice. I would prefer kelly green or spring green or pine green, but the choices were grey, greenish grey, or bluish grey. Now with curbside, the clerks keep telling me they can’t find my car because it’s not really green. Give me some real colors.

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  • I love red cars. I’m on my fourth car and I purchased it in red, even though it’s not my favorite shade. I compromised because I wanted a Subaru, and I am glad because it’s the best car I’ve ever owned. (Sorry, didn’t mean to do an advertisement).

    Reply
  • How about a totally clear car so I could see the engine and drive train! (Just kidding).

    Reply
  • Alicia A.

    I have a red Kia SUV and that’s all I want for colors I love red, in fact when I see a certain red car I want it.

    Reply
  • This has been my pet peeve for many years.
    PLEASE BRING BACK COLORS!!!!

    Reply
  • Gordon M.

    My ideal for decades has been maroon exterior with a medium brown interior with some bright color accents. But for practicality, I own a Forester in Ice Silver Metallic (gray with a blue tinge) with a gray interior which I quite like, even if boring and difficult to find in a crowded parking lot. Surprisingly, black exteriors show dirt too easily, even more than white exteriors, and black interiors are both hot and easily look dirty from light colored dust or lint. My least favorite interior color is light tan or Ferrari Brown since it can too easily be stained with a greasy smudge.

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  • Fran M.

    I really hate black/gray cars. I love my bright red Camry, but would have preferred a nice blue. The dark blue one I had was pretty, but too dark and showed dirt badly. If I can’t find a color I like I resort to white. Dark colors are also much harder for other cars to see on the road.

    Reply
  • Remy A.

    I miss my beautiful bronze 1974 Pontiac and I liked my champagne gold 90s Camry also “ really “ miss my beautiful mahogany brown highlander!
    What I really hate is that damn gray/ silver that I have now ,looks like every other car in the lot!

    Reply
  • John Z.

    We’re trying to keep white on top. Since 2010 we have had 2 and have 1 on order. Some people only want a certain color, others refuse to have certain ones. I’m surprised you did mention “settle” colors. Those are colors you never go looking for, but won’t refuse, like silver. I’ve bought more of them than I planned because there were a lot to pick from and none of what I would have been enthusiastic for.

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  • I would like any color other thatn black, white, or shades of gray. They are all soooo boring.

    Reply
  • Charles D.

    In 1963, my friend Jerry zoomed into my driveway in a lavender ’63 Dodge Charger, if memory serves.

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  • judith j.

    I had a champagne colored Buick back in the day and I loved it. It never showed any dirt and was a regal kind of color.

    Reply
  • I have a 2017 red Lexus ES 350 (matador red mica with gold flecks). Great color especially in the sun with the gold chips. Had a 2003 red Infiniti G35. Nice shade. I’ve had several blue cars, including a 1967 electric blue GTO. Color is important to me.

    Reply
  • I have a 2017 red Lexus (matador red mica with gold flecks). Great look in the sun with the gold chips Had a red 2003 Infiniti G35. Nice shade. Had several blue cars including a ’67 electric blue GTO. Color is important to me.

    Reply
  • Christine B.

    I had a 2013 VW Jetta and the color was between a bronze and chestnut. Variations of this color was available on Passat and the CC. I received so many compliments on my car color. I was saddened when I turned it and the color was no longer available. My next favorite was Green but it was a magnet for vandals in the neighborhood I lived in at the time with spray paint and keying. So I’ve been with silver, gray and black and looks like when I turn it in July I will need to choose from silver, gray or black.
    We need color in our lives after a year of Pandemic quietness in our lives.

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  • Maureen G.

    I just love my Forest Green Car. Everyone in my town knows its me when I drive by.
    I would purchase a newer car (mine is 20 years old and still running good) IF I could find one in Forest Green Color.

    Reply
  • DARK BROWN – DARK GREEN – FIRE ENGINE RED – DARK GOLD – DARK RED – COPPER – YELLOW – BABY BLUE – SLATE DK GREEN – CON ED BLUE .

    Reply
  • Barbara M.

    I only hope this goes to the auto makers! Obviously white, black and gray are OUT… and who I. The world wants to get into a black interior? It burns! 2003 Infiniti FX one of the first “orange” cars… with camel interior! Cried when I turned it in.

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  • Samantha G.

    I hate black cars – they heat up in the sun, show dirt more readily than white, etc. My favorite was my Saturn coup – plum exterior with a soft grey interior. I loved that plum color, and loved my Saturn 5 speed manual. My husband had an Orange Mazda rotary engine which was so much fun to drive. I have a dark blue Saab hatchback manual and he has the silver Volvo he got from his mom when she stopped driving at 96. NO black cars for either of us ever.

    Reply
  • Roberta S.

    I added up the %’s in the article – 77% of cars are black, white, grey or silver. Not for me. I enjoy my bright turquoise Prius plug-in. And very few people have to ask, which is your car, after the initial look, they know.

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  • In the 1960s, my family on a trip would play a game counting colors of the cars we would pass. Green usually won and blue often finished 2nd. Now you rarely even see a green car on the road. I could never own an orange or canary yellow car. But I would like to see more blues and reds on the road.

    Reply
  • I’d love to see some pastels- green, peach, turquoise, even pink or lavender. I was just discussing how boring car colors are now. Even 20 years ago, there were some cars around with a sleek & chic design. Cars today are so utilitarian looking, bleh.

    Reply
  • Some cars – largely BMW’s have colors that morph. Seen from different angles, and in differing light conditions, purple may seem blue or even magenta. Orange can differ in shades and colors. These are pretty, quixotic, and suit differing moods. So cool.

    Reply
  • JaneEllenMelcher

    Hi, this may be interesting you: Why Are Popular Car Colors So Boring? A Brief History of Car Paint! This is the link: https://magazine.northeast.aaa.com/daily/life/cars-trucks/what-are-most-popular-car-colors/

    Interesting article, and having learned a bit about Car Colors over the years, I have a couple of points to add.  First, when it comes to color there is more “science “behind the manufacturer’s choice than mentioned, vs. The People’s choice. 

    As I learned from  “Consumer Reports” issue from circa 1984/5, the safest colors are “the citrus colors”:  ORANGE, LEMON and LIME. Highest visibility.  Think back to the TransAm, and the VW Beatle.  You were less likely to be hit by a speedingTransAm if it was bright ORANGE than by its alternative, Badass BLACK, because you can see ORANGE coming.  

    Similar for the YELLOW VW Bug. You were less likely to hit that little thing if it was bright YELLOW because, though it was small, it was bright enough to see in any type of conditions.

    RED cars win more trophies at the Classic Car Shows than any other color, probably because of daylight visibility and the vitality the color projects. And, RED cars also get stopped by Police more often than others,  probably because those who choose RED may have racier,  more aggressive personalities and may tend to be heavier on the gas pedal. 

    However, The human eye is blind to RED at night, and the darker the RED, the harder to see.  Black Cherry is all but impossible to see, even if it s right in front if you, if the lights are not on, and if there are no environmental lights illuminating it. Seriously, you could come right up behind one and drive right into it, if the parking lights or brake lights were not on.  Boadside would be a challenge, and that’s why chrome strips and white wall tires were such a good idea for safety purposes, as were 2-tone paint jobs. Fire engines have traditionally been bright RED, because you can see them coming during the day, and the color signals “emergency”.  However, mit so good, even as big as they are, at night without a lot of bells and whistles to warn you.  Some  towns have caught on the RED AT NIGHT factor and have switched to a kind of DayGlo reflective, light YELLOW/GREEN/CHARTREUSE.  A good idea for day or night, but it doesn’t seem to have caught on as well as it probably should have.

    MIDNIGHT BLUE is just about as dangerous as BLACK CHERRY for visibility. A lof of Police Cruisers have been MIDNIGHT BLUE in the past.  They often don’t want to be seen sneaking up on you at night, so that’s helpful. But, the low visibility factor makes MIDNIGHT BLUE accident prone, too, and that is the reason why it is Law, now, that squad cars must be 2-tone BLACK & WHITE–or WHITE w/red stripes, for example–in most places. 

    WHITE has its obvious advantages at night, and disadvantages in the snow. So-so or good during the daytime. 

    Now, The Muted Colors.  TAN, BEIGE,  LIGHT BLUE, SEAFOAM GREEN… so-so day and night.  But, the SILVER & GREY have got to be a he very worst for safety.  If you stand in a large parking lot, and with “soft eyes”, scan the entire lot, it is easy to see how those colors blend in with the horizon, especially at dawn and dusk and on a cloudy day, or in the rain.   CHARCOAL GREY just becomes one with the grey sky and pavement during dusk or dawn, and especially in the rain. 

    One year, in the 90’s, I got a brochure from a minivan manufacturer which displayed all the color choices for that year.  I was stunned.  Every single choice was a low visibility/high accident shade of paint. Do I think those colors were chosen by The People and popular for any reason having to do with The Buyers’ personalities or for any deep, psychological reasons? No.  I think they were deliberately chosen for their short life spans!  Crack up your car, what do you do?  Buy a new one. Just as with SILVER/GREY, the most popular colors for the last decade, as the article states Think about why that might be, aside from the claim that people like them. No, Capitalism is not known for its sense of altruism. 

    Sent from my Galaxy

    Reply
  • JoAnne R.

    I currently have a white car, but would love to see some of the pastel colors brought back like candlelight yellow, celery color, or some nice shade of brown, or blue. So tired of looking at the basic grey, black, and white. We need some COLOR in our world!!

    Reply
  • Susan A.

    I LOVE Color. I drive an Audi Q3 and it’s FIRE ENGINE RED!

    Funny I should see this article after just yesterday I noticed how blah and bland the roads look these days. Black. Gray. White. BOOOORRRING!

    Before that, I drove a 650 Bimmer in sky blue with a champagne interior. Love me my cars.

    Bring back color! Bring back FUN! Bring back individuality!

    Reply
  • Karen C.

    When I was rear-ended in 2019, my beautiful blue manual transmission Saturn Ion Quad was totaled. I was crushed. I loved that car. I went looking for another manual transmission and they were very hard to find. I told every dealer we visited if I was going to pay all that money for a new car, I wanted a manual transmission in blue. They all looked at me and said I wasn’t going to find one. Finally ended up at a Honda Dealership and told them the same thing. They said it was available in the Accord but might be hard to find. They checked inventory and found one 200 miles away. Needless to say they shipped it to the dealer and it was love at first sight.

    Reply
  • Kathy A.

    We had the chance to buy a Sunset colored Ford Escape several years ago and opted for gray instead, but always regretted the choice. Fast forward a few more years and while we were between cars and on a months long road trip, our son-in-law called with a car he thought we might like. Turns out it was a Sunset Escape and we jumped at it, sight unseen. Now we are looking for a new car and, while we really don’t like the current car, we still love the color. Makes it hard to commit to a 2021 anything in all shades of black, white or gray.

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  • Steven I.

    My Brother has a 1996 Stingray…the most gorgeous shade of lipstick lavender. Have not seen that color anywhere on any other vehicle. Just stunning.

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  • Dana F.

    I often use my Mojito Green Jeep as a location beacon for people so they can find me in a parking lot. It works every time.

    Reply
  • SHIRLEY S.

    My 2013 Chevy Spark is Jalapeño Metallic (bright green). The kids I work with call it my “Granny Smith Apple Car”. I love it!

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  • K.Scott

    I love the Apex Blue Pearl of my Acura RDX A-Spec. Not too dark and not too light with a nice sparkle. The black gloss trim gives it a sporty look but doesn’t scream out hey here I am at night.

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  • Joanne

    I love the color light blue – as my 1973 Dodge Dart was. It was visible at night, and pretty in the daylight. in the 21st century, the only blue available was a rich dark blue. But at least it was blue. People liked that dark color, however now it is very popular with several car makers – Honda, Toyota, to name a few. I had to put decals on the car so I could spot it in a sea of dark blue cars!! I also hate that the Honda’s interior has the same choice Ford had – any color as long as it is black. I hate black interior – hard to find things that fall on the floor, and hot in the summer. But Hondas (2020 – civic, 2018 and 2016 Accord, had great rating – so safely first, convenience a distance second.

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  • Angela

    I would absolutely love a “liquid copper” SUV, a copper color that isn’t very orangey or too pinky, but I only found it on an Infiniti Q30 which was too small for me. I love warm colors, and all the colors are cool these days, except for really bright oranges. I’d love to see some fresh shades in the vein of cream, champagne, gold, electrum, copper, and bronze. I really wanted a Honda CRV because I liked the lines, the shape of the rear tail lights, the upward swoop of the chrome trim on the rear windows, and most importantly, the “wood” trim on the dashboard and the doors. So retro and cool. Only cool colors were available, so I got Sonic Gray, which is a color changer depending on the light–sometimes slate blue, sometimes flat gray. I like that it’s unique, but not that it’s not warm.

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  • Lynda M.

    I drive a black but in the sun it looks like blue/green metalic toyota camry. I always wanted a black car and a camry which I have. Before that car, I had a light blue Toyota Matrix which I had for 15 years. I keep my cars for a very long time. My friend had a Kia Soul cream color which I loved. She traded it in and got a dark blue which she doesn’t really like. I like the lime green color.

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  • My wife had HER black Hyundai Tiberon for 18 years. When it suddenly and finally had to be replaced, I was in charge of the decision regarding the next purchase. The available colors on short notice for the car I wanted – a Hyundai Veloster – were red or black. Without hesitation, I chose red because of the higher visibility factor, especially at night or in the rain. I felt better being a little more colofull on the road in a low height vehicle amongst so many larger…. things.

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  • My favorite color is red, but when I go to the dealership and select the model I want and point at the red color in the brochure, I’m told, “We don’t sell those in this part of the country.” To which, I respond, “Then I won’t buy from you.”
    Why would they offer it if you can’t have it?

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    • My first “adult” car was a lime-green metallic, VW Sirocco. Loved it! Then a bright red VW Corrado. Then a metallic teal BMW. Fun cars deserve lively colors. Mainstream car designs seem more conservative now, but I guess that’s why we’re inundated with conservative colors. I’m waiting for a trend toward practical but exciting new designs, hoping for some more exciting colors. In the meantime, my red hair is the only color seen while driving my white car.

      Reply
  • Dana G.

    I received an email from my daughter yesterday informing me that her local Lexus dealer has “found” a bright blue SUV with a humongous sunroof only 400 hundred miles away. You would have thought she had won the lottery. But I understand her excitement because she had absolutely refused to purchase a black, white, or gray/silver car. Too booring! Too common. Doesn’t fit her personality. Unfortunately, when my husband and I got our last car (Volvo S60) the only colors available for us? Black, white, or gray. We chose gray but never again.

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  • I love my Inferno Red (that’s what they call it) Kia Soul. Very bright – usually easy to find in a parking lot. There was one time that Iparked next to an identical one. And once I went to the wrong car – another one was parked an aisle away from mie.

    Reply

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