As I sat in traffic on a grey, cloudy day, I noticed that most of the cars were barely distinguishable from one another—primarily due to their color. Most were hues that blended in with the scenery: white, silver, beige, the usual. The few that stood out were red. This is why you need a car in an obnoxious color.
Now, I'm not the kind of person to shout "LOOK AT ME!" and demand your attention, but in heavy traffic, I prefer to be noticed. Not in a show-off way, but rather in a "please don't hurt me" way. I would rather you see my bright, shiny hunk of metal instead of not notice I'm there.
DuPont's 2012 Automotive Global Color Popularity Report said that 76% of the world's cars are either white, black, silver or grey. That's a whole lot of road-colored boring-ness if you ask me. Alex Carrillo even pointed out this lack of visual variety on Oppo. It's a pandemic of dullness.
Sure, sometimes those colors work on certain cars. I've always appreciated how black can make a car look downright sinister, or how white makes the details on cars with a lot of black or carbon fiber bits stand out.
If Stormtroopers emptied their bowls, and we should assume they would, this is what the result would look like. That's why this color combo works. Being on a car that goes like intergalactic stink doesn't hurt, either.
I, like many of you, also have a massive soft spot for sleepers. If your normal-looking silver station wagon is, say, an Audi RS4 Avant, then I salute your sneakiness. Also, I would like to borrow your car. That goes without saying.
Problem is, most of us don't drive Loti or other similar cars that would attract attention even if they were the exact shade of beige as the dirt in El Paso. Most of us have more humble means of transportation meant primarily to get us from point A to point B.
In that case, why on earth would you paint it a boring color? What do you have to lose?
Take this Camry I saw at the local Wrench-A-Part. It's painted up like Barbie's "Oops I Blew My Life Savings on the Malibu Dream House" Failure Hooptie, but it caught my attention. Mission accomplished, I say!
Say what you want about the color purple, but it's noticeable. My old lilac LeMons car was perhaps the easiest car to spot on track in a sea of red, black and white "because über-manly racecar" paint jobs because no one else painted their car like it.
Of course, there are a billion other less common colors to choose from if purple isn't your thing. Schoolbus yellow! Smurf blue! Kermit green!
Perhaps highly visible and less common colors appeal to me because I prefer smaller cars. It's quite difficult not to see a Ferd F-Teenthousand looming overhead, even in a completely nondescript shade of Pavement-Hued Grey.
Me? I'd be pretty happy with a much smaller two-seater, but given the number of times other drivers have tried merging into the side of my more-noticeable-than-most metallic red car, I want my next little car to be neon green and come with a train horn.
Photo Credits: AP Images (traffic jam), DuPont (graph), Jonsibal Design Works (Lotus), Rob Curtis (Schoolbus Z)