It occurred to me a couple of days ago as I sat in a local grocery store parking lot that almost all of the vehicles around me were painted pretty neutral colours. The lot was full of silver-grey, white and black pickups and cars. None were wearing paint that really screamed “Look at me”. No bright colours anywhere.
Maybe that isn’t by coincidence. It seems as though most people would prefer to just blend in with the crowd. And that goes as far as the colour choice on their vehicles. Even if they’ve spent a boat load of money to buy the nicest one around, keeping it low key is the apparent strategy. After all, as the old adage goes: the nail that stands proud gets hammered down.
And if you can consider unsolicited negative comments as getting hammered, then I’ve been whacked a few times for the color of paint I’ve chosen to spray on my projects.
If you’re a Grainews reader, you may remember our multi-part series Project F-250. We took a rusty blue and grey Ford pickup, welded in some replacement sheet metal to cure the cancer and gave it a completely new look with a yellow and black paint scheme. We did it all on a budget to show what could be done with a beat-up old farm truck on the cheap.
But the Chrome Yellow paint we chose sparked a few comments almost immediately. “Yellow. (snort) It’s OK, I guess” said one person. “I liked it with the original blue and grey,” opined another.
Perhaps it was just because Project F-250 was the second consecutive vehicle to roll out the door of my shop in a few months wearing yellow paint. It followed a late ’80s Bronco that was shot with a tamer shade of that colour, and it didn’t get much respect either. “You can certainly see it coming,” said one fellow, trying hard not to show complete disgust.
Several years ago I chose a bland white to respray a ’76 Chevy pickup, only because it was one of the few good colour choices I had with the paint I chose to use. The white didn’t seem to offend anyone, but the big red Chevy “bow-tie” decals I pasted on the rear of the box to give the otherwise tame look some oomph met with ample head shaking, as did the fact it was the mid ’90s and I was the only one driving a vehicle to the office with a working eight-track tape player. It certainly stood out in the parking lot amid the late-model, high-end Toyotas and the like.
A couple of weeks ago I had a phone call from someone who found out about Project CJ3A, the ground up restoration of a ’52 Jeep, and he said he just had to own it even though it wasn’t for sale. I agreed to let him come out and look at it, and he kept throwing out offers until I couldn’t say no.
As he was test driving it around the yard, his wife, who was standing beside me watching, asked disapprovingly, “Why did you paint it blue”. The buyer told me it was going to get an immediate color change to military olive drab—the color any Jeep should be.
But the “color any Jeep should be” seems to be a matter of debate. Even Grainews editor Leeann Minogue expressed surprise and dismay at the Deep Blue Metallic paint when she saw the pictures come in on the final article instalment. But she wasn’t thinking green. “Jeeps should be red,” she emailed back.
The current project in my shop rolled in as an all-white ’08 Super Duty that needs a little sprucing up. I have a great color scheme in mind for it. Trouble is, I can feel the hammer already.