What color is your car? Personally, my vehicles tend to fall somewhere on the spectrum from black to silver, but I am always—at least in theory—down for brighter colors. According to CarMax, the largest used car retailer in the U.S., black was the best-selling car color last year, accounting for 22.25 percent of sales, followed closely by white at 19.34 percent of sales, gray (17.63 percent), and silver (14.64 percent).
A quick look around most cities from L.A. to NYC will reveal no shortage of cars in those basic hues. The retailer also reports the top color choice for Californians is gray, which is surprising to me for the Golden State, but gray car paint does help hide dirt extremely well. The first hint of any real color on the CarMax list is blue, which snags the number-five spot nationally with 9.62 percent of sales—where it is nearly tied with red at 9.56 percent.
However, a recent weekend stroll through my neighborhood gave me a different, if anecdotal, result: I found enough different colors of cars to fill up a giant bag of Skittles.
Many of my neighbors’ cars sported vintage shades of blue and red paint. A good number of the late-model cars and trucks featured bright factory colors, too, with orange, yellow, and purple, all represented. There was even an old Hulk-green Chevy Astro van.
Like any good ornithologist—err, car spotter—I took notes.
For example, check out this Subaru Crosstrek in Sunshine Orange. It’s a factory paint job and a color you would normally see on a Lamborghini.
If you prefer red instead, nothing can beat this classic first-generation Firebird that looks fantastic repainted in an almost-original Carousel Red.
At first, I thought this Sea Foam Green Ford Fiesta was a custom paint job, but it is actually a factory shade called Bohai Bay Mint. Go Ford!
This fifth-generation Ford Thunderbird with a custom two-tone purple and black paint combination is a rare four-door model with suicide doors.
The tiny Chevrolet Spark in flashy Lime Green is a compact car that is slightly bigger than a hummingbird and can fit in the tightest of parking spaces.
Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow II
I spotted this late 1970s Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow II in Mediterranean Blue at my neighborhood supermarket parking lot. Its driver may have been dispatched for a fresh jar of Grey Poupon.
The Hummer H2 SUV ceased production along with the rest of the brand in 2009, but I spotted this monstrous specimen in Bright Yellow as it sat perched on a hill across from Cal State Los Angeles.
Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat
This Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat in Torred Clearcoat with yellow-painted brake calipers is typically seen on dragstrips where it emits a loud screeching sound when it is about to take off.
The Nissan Sentra sports a Fun Yellow paint job and is one of the most common species of small, restless sedans. This example is obviously seeking a mate.
Chevrolet 3100 Pickup
A Teal Blue painted 1957 Chevrolet 3100 Pickup truck with an open grille, sidestep, and a large curved rear glass window was my weekend’s best find.
Check out a few more shades and species of vehicles in the gallery below.
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