Journal: Color or Black/White?

Color or Black/White?

Avatar By Jonathan WC Mills
May 1, 2014
18 comments

Photography by Laszlo Jenei, Andrew Schneider, and Rosario Liberti for Petrolicious

For the last few years, both the mainstream and automotive media have remarked with some frequency that factory automotive colors, or even the very idea of ‘color’, are out of vogue. “Metallic shades of neutral” might be a better description of the average Costco parking lot. I’m sure this has much to do with the increasing rush to make modern cars as inoffensive as possible to the broadest possible audience.

Obviously, here at Petrolicious, we appreciate color. In fact, one of the small joys of owning a vintage car is the attention it might attract and bright colors increase that likelihood…and if you happen to possess a Rosso Corso-colored vintage Ferrari, well, all the better (see our recent GTO video for an example).

This is true for everyone except, of course, your humble author. As the perennial devil’s advocate I maintain that cars look best in exactly two colors: black and white. Ebony and Ivory. The Oreo. Dalmatians. Chess. Nero e Bianco.

These classics showcase the best features vintage cars have to offer–unique and singular sheet metal design.

Do you prefer the absence of color, like me, or are you infatuated with bright hues (and if so, which ones)?

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BillamJunior
BillamJunior

I am having a very similar problem with my bright little mini at the moment. It needs a new lick of paint, but fashion dictates an opposite from the originality.
As you can see….

Jono51
Jono51

Black shows dirt and white shows rust. Silver is only for Mercedes 300SLs. Bright red is only for Ferraris. That still leaves a wide choice for everything else and I have no idea why people don’t take full advantage of that.

Gianni Burrows

Seems like the baby boomers, who buy the majority of new cars at the moment, have gotten really conservative in their old age. They are content to buy one of the 50 shades of grey or “bought it off the lot” white. My sister in law posted a pic of her starting college in the late 70’s in front of a parking lot at her college. In the background is a Rabbit, Karmann Ghia, VW bus, Mustang, Volvo wagon and a few others in reds, greens, yellows, browns. Nowadays if you took the same picture in the same location, it… Read more »

Tuval
Tuval

I maintain it is design specific. I suppose a classic with chrome and nickel bumpers, handles and window frames will be just right with white or even a pale pastel. Especially when the interior is tan leather, chrome details and clear or semi green  window glass. Think 911 and also the  Sprint Specialle with the black stitched leather dashboard. Light silver metallic should enhance curves on a voluptuous specimen. This is down to the amount of reflective mica particles and the way light dances three dimensionally as you move around it. I think this is also why silver is hard… Read more »

amar jandu

when looking for my 240z for the past couple of months, my colleague told me that all cars are for sale, except the white ones, those are keepers. Found a White Z last week and picked it up. I think this idea is going to stick with me.

Sid
Sid

Some cars cry out for certain colors. Plumb Crazy Purple, Imola Red, British Racing Green, Grabber Orange. Macadamia Brown. Tell me you don’t know what cars those colors belong on.

Jonathanwcmills
Jonathanwcmills

Sid, to tell you the truth, I’ve been interested browns for a while now, I’ve seen a new Jag FRS, 991 and a Ferrari and if I had to pick a ‘color’ I’d definitely look for a chocolate brown, for sure.

http://ag-spots-2013.o.auroraobjects.eu/2013/11/18/porsche-991-gt3-c789518112013213227_4.jpg

Sid
Sid

Porsche definatly knows how to do a dark metallic brown. Dang, that 991 looks so good.

Sid
Sid

Mahogany Metallic would be on my top two color choices for a Cayman S.

http://home.comcast.net/~dovla/CaymanS/galeriebild-porsche-cayman-v2-876160846355574764.jpg

Sid
Sid

Oops, lets try that again…

Emanuel Costa
Emanuel Costa

Hey! that’s in Portugal! lol Can see the portuguese oil company’s logo in the back!

Evan Bedford

To Mills’ list of things that look best in black and white, I would add old BMW motorcycles. After all, doesn’t BMW stand for “Black Mitt White”?

Dustin Rittle
Dustin Rittle

I really do like both colors but with that begin said i just think it depends on the car really. Some cars have lines and curves that suite the color white and some have the lines that make black the right choice. So for me i like both colors it really comes down to the car im buying and what color i think brings out the best in it.

Yoav Gilad
Yoav Gilad

I tend to like very saturated, warm colors: bright reds, coppery oranges, and light, sweet yellows. But some colors just belong on certain cars, usually because of their racing heritage; for instance: I’d love a Porsche 917 in light blue and orange… or a silver Aston Martin DB5 (a la James Bond).

Matthew Lange
Matthew Lange

Sergio Pininfarina once said that all cars look best in silver. I don’t completely agree with that statement but I certainly do think if a car looks bad in silver it will look bad in all colours. Conversely I reckon one of the hallmarks of a truly great car design is one that looks great no matter what colour it comes in. The Muira was offered in some horrific colours (IMO) but still manages to look fantastic in them. The problem I see with black and white is that they are colours that only work when the car is clean.… Read more »

Andreas Lavesson
Andreas Lavesson

I see where you’re coming from. However, while some cars are really beautiful in silver, I personally think it’s quite a dull colour (British spelling this time) most of the time. The Miura is a perfect example. As you said, it came in quite horrible colours, yet it managed to wear them all well. All except for one, silver. While on the other hand, you’ve got the Ferrari 512 BBi, which I couldn’t imagine in any other colour than red before I saw the silver one in an early Petrolicious video. You’ve probably already got my 2 ȼ and change… Read more »

Benjamin Shahrabani
Benjamin Shahrabani

Doesn’t white weigh less?;)

Andreas Lavesson
Andreas Lavesson

Which color is best is not a universal or general question in my opinion. It’s completely car-specific. That being said, I obviously tend to be more drawn to certain colors than others. I generally don’t like white cars for example, but that Sprint Speciale from the previous article is astonishing in white. Also, I generally don’t like green cars, but Sublime/Lime Light works on certain Mopars and obviously British racing green is cool on some cars.

If I could only choose three different colors for the rest of my life though, I’d probably go for Red… Black and Blue.