Colour me strange!

This week, Jasmine touches on the issue of drivers and what makes them choose the car colours they use, bizarre as some of them may be.

At the risk of being different, people are caught driving about in cars with bizarre colours with even weirder names. What is it that makes people go into a showroom, bypass the regular red, blue and white models, and settle on a bright orange number labelled Tropica?

Certainly, females are much more emotional when it comes to choosing their vehicles, particularly when it comes to the colour. Where guys would weigh up the difference in kilowatts, the size of the load area and other arbitrary stuff, girls would generally want to see whether its small enough to park, and perhaps how the colour would complement their wardrobe.

As a result, it is likely that someone whose favourite colour happens to be purple finds herself driving about in a berry-coloured car. She is also likely to emerge from the vehicle on one of her shopping excursions clothed a floral yellow-and-lime green ensemble that clearly complements the colour of her car.

So, while some person may be blitzing about town in their lime-coloured hatchback (of which the colour is cleverly labelled Sublime), another will be darting about in a bean-coloured (coffee bean, jelly bean, counting bean?) creation. In that case, his or her friends, at the show-and-tell tastefully veiled as a cocktail party, would mutter, “Oh, its beige…” before retreating to urgently hunt down the “lost” humus and sage dip, or locate more embossed serviettes.

In some way, I’m sure, car companies are party to this display because while awaiting the delivery of your new baby and describing your purchase to the guy standing behind you in the queue at Pick ‘n Pay, the name Moondust does roll off the tongue rather nicely…

Of course, when his disinterested look (assumed to be the case since he was a complete stranger) is met by your friends’ declarations of, “Gosh, you never said it was grey – how boring!”, you realise that, as the music fades and flowers wilt, Moondust is really just a darker shade of silver.

The reality is that while there may be more new models on the market, there really aren’t that many “new” colours. So, in some manufacturing headquarters, stuck behind a monitor in a cubby-hole somewhere in the dark recesses of the building, is someone tasked with coming up with an original, yet exotic, name for yet another shade of grey or green…

With the current popularity of metallic paint-coloured cars, light gold appears to be at the moment. Surely these won’t be called gold, but rather Storm Beige, Travertine Beige or Papyrus, even when there are no clear connections between these concepts. Besides, what storm is ever beige (except maybe a sandstorm, and how often do you see those…), what on earth is a travertine, and isn’t the papyrus plant supposed to be extinct?

If old Henry Ford’s philosophy of having any colour car so long as its black was more widely enforced, things would be much easier for those hapless name-finding characters. Finding your car in the local mall’s parking lot may be an epic mission, but at least it will be fun!

Article written by

CAR magazine