I was struck by the sheer audacity of the paint job of this Ford Windstar I saw in Seattle. It looks like Grimace was squirted with grape soda while carrying lavender. And as I browsed through the Curbside Cohort the other day, I found more and more examples of cars from the 1990s with purple paint. Here I was thinking every car in the 1990s was turquoise or aqua…
I’m not convinced the Windstar’s paint is stock because I can’t find a matching shade in color swatches of the ’95-97 model. It also reminds me of a set of mugs my family had in the early ’00s which I was adamant were purple but my family swore were blue. Regardless of whether you think the Windstar is blue, purple or indigo, there were plenty of purple cars in the 1990s.
Why, just a street away I found this Mercury Sable. It’s a ’92-95 model, perhaps a ’92-93 in Medium Aubergine.
Let me just say for the record that I love the colour purple. It’s more shade-dependent than blue, however, so I can’t quite say it’s my absolute favourite colour (I’ll split the difference and put indigo at number one). And I also have my reservations about its use on cars. That Windstar? Pass. This ’97 Pontiac Firefly posted on the Cohort by canadiancatgreen? Not a fan.
“But wait,” you may be thinking, “Didn’t you have a purple car?” Yes, I sure did. It was a Phantom Purple Ford BA Falcon XR6 and I thought it was absolutely stunning. The BA/BF Falcon actually came in multiple different purple shades during its run. There were three others: Vibe (a dusky purple), Menace (a bright, almost fuchsia shade) and Fantasy (a trippy chromaflair affair).
Somehow, purple works, in my eyes, on cars that are a bit sportier and substantial than a Geo Metro. A Dodge Challenger or Charger, for example, can totally rock purple. If you think purple is a feminine colour, cars like my Falcon or a Plum Crazy Charger will challenge your preconceptions.
Ford Australia, like Holden, was always offering new and exciting paint colours on its sporty models. Meanwhile, all these purple cars of the 1990s seem to be following a trend that started in the late ’80s or early ’90s. Do you think Ford North America would’ve sold a purple Escort if Dodge hadn’t already been selling purple Shadows and Neons?
Speaking of which, this is one of three purple Dodge Shadow photos I found by canadiancatgreen. Either our Cohort friend has a taste for purple Shadows or this was a particularly ubiquitous colour.
I seem to recall seeing pink/purple Hyundai Excels (Accents) back in the day so there was an outbreak of purple-mania down under. It wasn’t to the same extent as the American and Canadian markets, however, and seemed to be confined mostly to cars of this Geo Metro’s size.
Meanwhile, in the US and Canada, Chrysler offered purple paint on their LH cars including this Eagle Vision. GM would sell you a purple Pontiac Bonneville or Grand Prix. The Mercury Grand Marquis was available in Light Medium Aubergine. Purple was everywhere! Peak Purple must’ve been around 1995 or so, after which it appeared to slowly recede.
It was even found on trucks, like this Toyota Tacoma I saw at Nairn Falls in British Columbia. Interesting choice for a truck, though it kind of works.
I may love the color but I can’t say I’m a fan of these purple Escorts and Shadows. This Pontiac Firebird, however, wears the color very well. In my eyes, purple needs to be on something a bit large and a bit aggressive. The Firebird fits the bill and, in fact, this may just be my favorite color on the final Firebird.
What did you think of the great purple period of the 1990s? Would you ever own a purple car?