Friday, August 3, 2012

Who took the fun outta car colors?

Jill and Sunny
Car colors: A real drag
We’re living in the age of bland-colored cars. Don’t know if you’ve noticed. Makes me wonder why an industry that strives to create inventive names for its products, rehashes such boring colors to paint ‘em?

    It seems the most significant thing the Soviet Union gave the world was its love for gray. Eighty percent of everything on the road is black, white or some shade of gray. Except it’s not called gray. You’re looking at Dusk, Smoke, Slate, Watermark, Morning Fog, Hi Yo and Gandalf.

    Kay and I were stopped at the light on 105 by Target this morning. In front of us were one white, one black and two gray-shaded autos. There were two white cars at our left and one black to our right. Oh, and our car is white. It’s cooler, okay?

    What happened to candy apple red, plum purple, lime green, banana yellow… And, two-toned cars? Where are they? Jill used to have a Gremlin that was orange and yellow. It was one lousy car that looked cool as all get out. She called it “Sunshine.” No idea how she came up with that.

    “Gremlin” was an appropriate name for the car, ‘cause it was haunted. The thing would bounce when you ran over the shadow of a telephone pole. You could yell the word “Thud!” and it would. But, boy, did it look cute as could be.

    Kay and I owned a ’70 Pontiac LeMans that was a light yellow with a beige vinyl top. The greatest looking car we ever owned. I never needed to wash it, ‘cause the yellow some how hid the dirt. People would often comment on how clean it looked when it hadn’t been washed in weeks.

    We loved that car. Before we got it, I’d never heard of a flywheel. After a few months, I still didn’t know what one was, but I knew where it was and how to tighten it. Great car. We traded it in for a ‘78 Plymouth Horizon. Blue and gray piece of beagle defecation. Didn’t even look cool… which confuses a topic that needs no help.

    By the way, did you notice how I mentioned that the ’70 LeMans was a Pontiac? I thought a few younger readers might not be familiar with the old array of Pontiacs. You had your Bonneville, GTO, LeMans, Tempest, Firebird, Grand Prix, Parisienne… I remembered the Parisienne ‘cause Kay hit a deer and totaled Uncle Ray’s Parisienne. Wasn’t her fault. Deer suicide by big Pontiac.

    It would take a really smart child to keep up with the names of today’s car models. For some reason, kids can memorize the list of state capitals, books of the Bible, cereal brands and stuff like that. I don’t know how they do it.

    Tell you what. I’m gonna give you little quiz here to see if you’re as smart as the normal kid. I’ll tell you the car model and you tell me the make of the car. Now, stop it! It’ll be fun. Here goes -- Journey? How about Avenger? Caliber? All of those are Dodges.

    Try out the C-Max, Edge and Flex. Right, these are Fords. I had to look ‘em up, but I see several of you didn’t. Happier for you, I could not be.

    The Cube, Juke, Quest and Rogue? I recognized only one of the names – The Cube. But I thought it was a Kia. These are all Nissan’s. – Isn’t this a blast?

    Sonic, Equinox and Traverse? Okay, then, how about Morning, Pride, Cerato, Lotz and Mohave? I tried to trick you. The first three are Chevy’s and the last ones are Kia’s. By the way a “Cerato” is Korean for “Silly Putty.” They thought we’d like the sound of it. I jest.

    The award for the weirdest names goes to the company that came up with Amarok, Equus, Grandeur, Tiburon and Trajet. That’d be the same company that gave us The Beetle. That’s, uh, Volkswagen… just in case you were having a Mark moment.

The name “Beetle” we can sink our teeth into. “Amarok” sounds like a Biblical place where a lot of Philistines were slain. It’s actually German for “Buttercup.” The Germans manage to make even the sweetest of things sound brash. (I joke with my German friends.)

So, how did you do on the “Guess the Make from the Model” quiz? Not to worry. They’ll scarp a lot of the models in a year or two. And, they can’t reuse the names. That’s why you don’t see any new models named “Pinto” or “Chevette” or “Stall Daddy.” We used to have one of those last ones.

Unfortunately, it the bland color scheme will not soon change. Maybe people want dull colors so the police won’t notice ‘em. – “Whoa, that car must’ve been doing 90.” – “Really? All I saw was morning mist.” 

Makes sense. You get a car the same color as the highway, and there’s a good chance the police won’t spot you. Nor will the driver of the car backing into you in the parking lot. I think Hyundai has come out with a “gray” it calls “Bondo.”  

The 2023 Volkswagen Beetle
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1 comment:

  1. I loved my Sunny... it was a good car,except when driven through water. Sure wish I still looked like that, of course at the time, I thought I was big as an elephant.