Nov 4, 2013
Certain classic car colors have become indelibly associated with either an era or a particular car. During the muscle car era of the ’60s, bright shades that looked like they came straight from a roll of Life Savers were the height of cool. Happily, many of them are available again in the modern versions of the Challengers, Camaros and Mustangs available today. Here are some of the best of classic cool:
Ironically, one of the most quintessentially loud ’60s colors appeared at the very end of that decade — 1969 to be exact in the last model year of the first-generation (1967-69) Chevy Camaro. It looks particularly good set off with black stripes, and collectors will pay a big premium for cars that came from the factory in this iconic color.
A close second to Hugger Orange in sheer coolness, the history behind the shade is a bit muddled — some claim that it was “borrowed” from the shade of blue used by French cars in international competition. Others claim that it’s a derivative of Richard Petty’s racing colors. It matters little. Whether it’s a classic 1970 Mustang Boss 302 or a 2013 Boss 302, this is the color to have.
The anonymous real men of genius who were naming colors for Chrysler in the late ’60s and early ’70s were at the top of their game with shades like “Top Banana” and “Black Velvet,” but in terms of the audacity of the hue and the name attached to it, “Plum Crazy” was it. It’s particularly irresistible when applied to the top of the muscle car food chain, the Plymouth Hemi ‘Cuda. A 1971 Plum Crazy Hemi ‘Cuda convertible recently sold at Barrett-Jackson for more than $1.3 million.
Back in the 1950s, cars racing in international competition were relatively unadorned — often just a white circle with a number and no sponsor decals. All wore colors corresponding to their country of origin. White was for American cars, blue for French, red for Italian and dark green for British. Not surprisingly, the latter became known as “British Racing Green,” and for collectors of vintage Jaguars, MGs, Triumphs and Austin-Healeys, it’s the most desirable color. Or perhaps we should say “colour.”
After Rosso Corsa (Italian Racing Red), Fly Yellow is the iconic Ferrari color. It’s even more brash than red so, consequently, we’re more fond of it. The most common explanation for the name is this: Enzo Ferrari was fond of horse racing and often named colors for his favorite ponies. “Fly” was reputed to be one of his favorites.
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