Jim Klein brought us a review on a new Jeep Wrangler Unlimited. It was an interesting read because I know someone who owns one. But as I read the review, there was one thing I could not shake – what an unusual color. It reminded me of a seldom-seen choice on a car from long ago. Then I started to think of more of these Paint Pals from other mothers.
Yes, I know it’s no trick to find a silver 2020 Camry and a ’57 Chevy to match it. What is the trick is to see a color on a modern car that is, if not an exact match, something highly reminiscent of something seen on the road long ago. Take this one, for example. Alright, 1961 Studebakers were never common and 1961 Studebakers painted in Autumn Haze were much less so. A non-metallic putty-gray on an early 1960’s American car was an odd thing.
As is a non-metallic putty gray like the 2020 Jeep in Sting Gray. I love the name. And I rather like the color. Will it become the next thing? Or will it sink back into the sea of unloved and unused automotive hues that have periodically hit showrooms.
In the early 60’s turquoise was everywhere. In 1963 the parents of a good friend bought a brand new Chrysler Newport painted Holiday Turquoise. By 1976 when I got to know the family, turquoise had gone as extinct as a dodo bird from new car color selection books.
But it came back for a bit in the 90’s in quite a number of variations. One caught my eye in particular, this one that Chevrolet called Light Teal in 1994 – it was a dead ringer for the paint on my buddy’s Chrysler from years earlier. As a huge fan of the color, I have been chagrined that it has never been a choice any time I have ever gone looking for a new car.
Here is one I hated in 1977 – something made all the worse because I owned one of them. Actually, both my first and third cars were this color that Ford called Lime Gold Metallic on the bazillion of them that they churned out between 1967 and 1969.
It too went completely away. Then I saw a Dodge Ram truck or two in the color. “Oh no”, I thought – “It’s back.” In truth, absense really does make the heart grow fonder because I liked it a lot better in 1996 (when Dodge called it Kiwi Green) then than I did twenty years earlier. This time it did not catch on and went away quickly.
My turquoise fetish got a boost in 1969 when a longtime friend of my mother brought his new Ford Galaxie 500 convertible over to show us. Aside from the wheels (and the hood fit) it was a twin to this car. I loved that vivid paint color (Gulfstream Aqua), even though it was a whisker away from being banished from the option lists, seemingly forever.
General Motors came to my rescue again when they brought out the similar Bright Aqua, as on this 1994 Beretta. I didn’t like the color well enough to have bought a 94 Beretta solely for that reason. Although, as I think about it, would there have been a better reason to buy a 94 Beretta?
This next is a longtime fave. At one point my mother owned a 1977 Chrysler New Yorker Brougham, one that I later got from her. It was painted this one-year-only color called Russet Sunfire Metallic. It wasn’t the burgundy-red that was so popular in the late 70’s, and it wasn’t one of those big-selling golden-browns, either. It was something of a cross between them that was gorgeous with its beige vinyl roof and velour interior.
As seen in this not-very-good picture.
I was thrilled to see that Ford got awfully close in 2016 with this color they called Bronze Fire. Once again, it did not set the sales charts on fire. However, this time it stuck around for 2015-2017 and (at least according to paintref.com) it is back for 2020.
In the 60’s my Aunt Norma and Uncle John drove a 1960 Pontiac Catalina sedan in this color that Pontiac called Sierra Copper. Copper cars had a big but short burst of popularity in the year or two either side of 1960, and I always found this one a particularly fetching shade – like a new penny or a freshly-stripped bit of copper electrical wire.
So how cool was it when Ford introduced this paint color it called Woodrose in 1990-91. Although it hung around for a couple of extra years on Lincolns, it sunk back below the surface about as fast as it did after the Great Copper Burst of 1959. You will have to give me a touch of leeway here, as some of these colors are sensitive to light and may not present that well in photos. But you have to admit that these are fairly close.
I was becoming quite the Mopar fan by 1973, but I never quite understood big luxurious cars like this Chrysler New Yorker being painted in this vibrant True Blue.
It looked so much better on the Honda Fit when we were looking to buy one in 2007. But no tan interior was available with Vivid Blue, so no sale. At least so sayeth Mrs. JPC.
This new BMW in Estoril Blue also looks at home in this color, one that has been a little more common in modern times than many of these others. I should also add that modern paints and clear coats allow for so much more depth and punch than the old single-stage finishes of old. Still, . . . .
When I was a kid my Uncle Bob had a 1964 Ford painted Vintage Burgundy. This 1963 color (Heritage Burgundy) was so much darker and somewhat more purple – I didn’t like it as well. Looking it up, it only made it to the Ford line that year after being exclusively a Lincoln and Thunderbird color in 1961-62.
But it sure looks a lot like some modern finishes, like this new Buick painted in Rich Garnet. I thought about another red or maroon parallel, but there have been a bazillion of those shades offered on almost everything since the mid 70’s.
Dark greens, however, are another matter. Like this 1969 Ford color called Black Jade. Here’s the thing – I like my greens more on the blue end of the spectrum and less on the yellow end. I didn’t really like this color in 1969, but find it quite unique and attractive now.
This 2020 Lexus in Nori Green hits many of the same notes. A little more chrome and a little less black plastic and this would be a stunner.
I think I’ll stop with these ten pairings. I am sure I could think of more if given a chance, but wanted to stay away from the easy combinations that have been more popular over the last thirty years. I am sure I have missed quite a few. Are there any you can add?