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Dull is cool when coloring cars

October 10, 2011 - Burton Cole (humor columnist)

I cringed the last time I bought a car because I drove home in boring old gray. It turns out it’s the closest I’ve come to being cool in 30 years.

Gray is the fourth-most popular car color for the 2011 model year, according to paint maker PPG Industries.

The top three are white, silver and black. Scramble them and you get gray. If you mix them in a paint can, I mean. Swish them around while they’re on the cars, and you get broken glass and spilled coolant.

We drive a bunch of dull, flat, humdrumish, colorless cars. They may shine or sparkle, but they’re not the first colors a kid reaches for in a box of Crayolas.

In North America, the breakdown for the 2011 model year is 20 percent white, 19 percent silver, 18 percent black, 15 percent gray, 9 percent each for red and blue, 7 percent natural (brown, gold and tan), 2 percent green, and 1 percent other (including yellow).

Why? Nothing shows dirt like a black car unless it’s a white car. You might as well circle every splatter in flashing neon, say, something in a lemon lime or sunshine orange. Or just park the vehicles in a car wash and leave them there.

But on my boring but almost hipster gray, all the dust and dirt blends in and disappears. Pretty cool, huh?

Color could be on the way, other than in the red faces of road rage drivers. PPG also unveiled new shades it's pitching for the 2014-2015 model years, which seem to be steering down dangerous drives:

“Goldeluxe, a silver with an influence of a gold; White Nougat, a soft creamy white with a highlight sparkle; Muddy Waters, a tone of brown with a pearl luster effect; Grape Spritz, a blue fused with a purple highlight; and Pot O’Gold, a light green with a hint of gold.”

Then I and my gray car will putt-putt back into uncool obscurity.


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By the time he's old enough for a driver's license, maybe blue will be cooler than Grandpa's gray.


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