Received Wisdom

The received wisdom is that large cars don’t look good in bright colours. I think the truth is that some people like bright colours and some people don’t.

2016 Tesla Model T in Denmark recently.
2016 Tesla Model T in Denmark recently.

In the same way, coffee is more popular than tea. That doesn’t mean tea is “wrong”. This stridently yellow Tesla T is, in my view, rather wonderful. Let us all now wax lyrical about mustard coloured Mercedes and Mimosa Yellow and Chrome Yellow.

1974 Mercedes Benz 220 in Cologne: Pinterest
1974 Mercedes Benz 220 in Cologne: source

This car demonstrates that a good design looks good in any colour. I’d also argue that a good colour can save a bad design.

Next we have a brown metallic Hyundai i30. Though it’s not a bright colour it is a rich one and the car isn’t exactly small. I think that regular readers here will not need convincing so I will not go on much further with this other than to note Skoda offer the Octavia in a similar colour with a manual transmission and with an estate body. There are 405 Americans who would really, really love a car like that.

2016 Hyundai i30 on a street yesterday.
2016 Hyundai i30 on a street yesterday.


Author: richard herriott

I like anchovies. I dislike post-war town planning.

13 thoughts on “Received Wisdom”

  1. … and yet I never found XJ SIII’s in light colours all that attractive, particularly in white. Talking about this line of cars (no idea how this could cross my mind), the XJ40 is infinitely more appealing in a dark colour than, say, the metallic red that was ubiquitous back in the day. Gunmetal grey, such a fine hue for the previous generations, also isn’t ideal for the ’40.

    Some cars just are colour sensitive. And no, I wouldn’t want a yellow Jaguar, but maybe a baby blue SI XJ.

  2. Agreed a S1 XJ would look great in porcelain blue. Admittedly its a personal thing but large cars in red really don’t work for me. Recently saw an E38 Bmw in imola red and it really made this beautiful car terribly sad looking.

  3. Yellow is not my favourite colour for a car – except a Lambo. It makes some cars look like toy cars.
    With a growing number of black parts – it could be a suitable contrast colour. But i would prefer orange or a cool blue or green.
    A car which looks good in yellow (except all Lambos) was the Audi A2 – and the C4 Cactus of course:

  4. some days ago, someone posted a picture of a Jag E-Type in Primrose Yellow. not my favourite colour for the E, but it works well. the M division of BMW does a great job in selling large cars with flashy paint jobs. the E36 M3 had a nice yellow and the ubiquitous Le Mans Blue would be my colour of choice for the M5.

  5. Markus: I have never seen an A2 in anything except white, black or metallic grey. Those orange and yellow cars are really appealing. Flat pale blue and pistachio are also very good. I haven’t seen a yellow 500. Pandas are not unusual in yellow though.
    Eduardo: correct, BMW have a custom paint option and metallic brown is quite popular. Yellow seems to be a show car colour which seldom migrated into “real life”. A yellow 5 might be good. I wonder is anyone brave enough to try?

    1. here’s a Fiat 500 in Giallo Birichino (something like “sly yellow” in Italian):

      and here’s one in Giallo Sole (sunny yellow), one of the pastel colours introduced by Fiat a couple of years ago:

      just out of curiosity: “giallo” is Italian for “yellow” and for “horror movie”, as Italians think scary things can make you yellow.

  6. I’m not generally fond of yellow cars. I remember a time in the ’90s when it became kind of ubiquitous: Audi S4, Fiat Coupé, Citroën ZX, Mitsubishi Colt, Nissan 100 NX. It was also fashionable on Ferrari 348s. The A2 is a nice example that works well.

    I rather prefer orange in almost any variation. It’s too seldom seen on cars, but I also doubt that it would work well with every car. It’s hardly ever seen on large cars, maybe for a reason. The Citroën CX looked good in it, however – it was a factory option around 1978.

  7. If you like the Peugeot 1007 – yellow should not be your favourite colour…………

  8. I had an early FIAT Cinquecento Sporting in Broom Yellow in the mid 90s. I loved it and got endless positive reactions from people, which was nice. It literally shone in that colour, which was carried through to the bare metal door surrounds, creating a cheery interior with red seat-belts à la MG Metro. Cracking car to drive and massive inside for a tiny footprint (see one parked next to an Up! and you’ll see my point). I found it preferable to the Punto of that era.

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