Looking for a car that really stands out? These are some of the most unique car colors from manufacturers ever made.
Henry Ford was famously quoted as saying “Any customer can have a car painted any color that he wants so long as it is black.” in reference to the production of the Model T. This one and only color option was put in place by Ford in order to speed up mass production on his assembly line and cut cost since black paint was the cheapest paint of the time. However, that comment didn’t hold true for the entirety of the Model T’s lifetime. The Model T came in a multitude of different colors, from basic blue, red, and green to more unique car colors like Phoenix Brown, Royal Maroon, or Highland Green.
Car shoppers like to have a choice in color that can match their preferred style. Sometimes that means having a car that’s been painted to stick out like a sore thumb in a parking lot. We took a look at some of the craziest, weirdest, and most unique car colors ever made available by auto manufacturers. Some of these paint options have been lost to time, while others are available options right now on modern day cars. Which of these unique car colors do you want to paint your ride in?
To start off the list we’ll look at a celebratory paint from Chevrolet. To celebrate the company’s 50th anniversary, General Motors introduced a limited gold paint on their Chevrolet Impala as code 927 Anniversary Gold Poly. The unique color was only used for a short time for some ’62 and ‘63 models, making these old Impalas with original paint exceedingly rare. GM has since painted other vehicles in gold for company milestones, but not the code 927 paint.
Two Mopar brands from the muscle car era featured some vibrant colors under the High-Impact name. Dodge and Plymouth both offered the bright High-Impact color ways with interesting names on their vehicles. The names differed between the corporate cousins, but the colors were the same. Plymouth cars like the Roadrunner and Barracuda were painted in TorRed, In-Violet, Moulin Rouge, Green Go, Limelight, Vitamin C, Bahama Yellow, Rallye Green, Lemon Twist, or Curious Yellow. Meanwhile, Dodge had their cars like the Challenger and Charger be painted in Hemi Orange, Plum Crazy, Panther Pink, Sassy Grass, Sublime, Go Mango, Butterscotch, Bright Green, Top Banana, or Citron Yella. Some of these High-Impact paint colors made a short comeback on modern Dodges, but they were otherwise ended in 1973.
Ford Grabber paint colors originated on the 1969 Ford Shelby Mustang GT350 and GT500. Grabber Orange, Grabber Green, Grabber Yellow, Grabber Lime, and the lauded Grabber Blue have been a part of the Mustang mythos ever since. While most of the Grabber paints were phased in and out of production over the years, Grabber Blue has continually had a presence in Ford’s catalog. The blue paint made appearances under other names like Blue Lightning, Competition Blue, and Pinto Blue on a number of other Ford models.
In similar fashion to Ford’s Grabber Blue, GM provided a unique car color that’s praised by enthusiasts. Code 72 is commonly referred to as Hugger Orange for Chevrolet or Carousel Red for Pontiac, but either name is the same bright orange paint. This eye-catching orange graced GM muscle cars like the Chevrolet Camaro, Pontiac GTO Judge, and even some Oldsmobile 442s. The story has it that this code 72 paint was the same orange that Chevrolet used to paint their engine blocks with back in the day.
Volkswagen takes unique car colors to a whole other level with the Harlequin editions they put out. The Harlequin paint job features four colors – Chagall Blue, Tornado Red, Ginster Yellow, and Pistachio Green – on various different body panels around a Volkswagen model. It started as a marketing stunt featuring a multi-colored Beetle, but then was put onto a production model of the Volkswagen Polo in 1995. Only about 3,100 of these Volkswagen Harlequins were made for Europe. The following year, Volkswagen introduced the Harlequin paint job on the Golf in the US with only 246 being made, making this uniquely painted VW exceedingly rare.
BMW offers some cool looking paint in the form of their Frozen paint selection. BMW Frozen paint is a matte option typically only available for their M line of sports cars like the M3, M4, and M5. While it gives these cars a truly unique look, some buyers are put off by the strenuous maintenance that this paint needs. Buyers must not polish, wax, or use a mechanical tool like a buffer on the surface of the car. You must hand wash the car with specific products so as not to hurt the paint and it can’t be left to air dry. BMW also requires customers to sign a paint waiver at delivery of their Frozen painted car that acts as an acknowledgement of how much extra care and how hard it is to fix this specific paint job.
Mercedes-Benz has a storied history in automotive racing. One of its most famous racecars was W25, otherwise famously known as the Silver Arrow. This single-seater racecar famously cut weight by removing its lead-based paint and instead kept itself unpainted featuring the aluminum bodywork that was underneath. Mercedes-Benz has since made a paint to replicate the look of the Silver Arrow’s polished aluminum finish called Alubeam Silver. The Alubeam Silver paint first made its debut on just 40 versions of the 40th Anniversary edition of the CL65 AMG. Mercedes-Benz then brought the color over as an option on the SLS AMG and also showcases it on their Vision series of concept cars. The Alubeam Silver isn’t only special in looks, the paint also has to be carefully hand painted at the Mercedes Singelfingen factory which means the company could only produce two to three cars a week in this unique car color.
Do you like the beautifully colored wings of butterflies? Lexus does too. They specifically enjoyed the Morpho butterfly’s shimmering blue wings. Lexus spent 15 years working to create a high luminance, lustrous, deep blue color known as Structural Blue. This blue color was achieved with 40 different paint layers, but eventually was pared down to just seven for production while maintaining the same brilliance. The paint doesn’t contain any actual blue in it. Structural Blue instead is creating light interference through microscopic structures in one of the thin layers of paint to give off the perception of blue. This is similar in fashion to the way Morpho butterfly’s wings get their color in nature. Only the Lexus LC500 received this brilliant Structural Blue paint.
Chromaflair isn’t exclusive to just Porsche, TVR famously used it on their Tuscan and other notable manufacturers have used the special paint in some capacity. However, Porsche is one of the few manufacturers that are avidly producing cars with the chameleon paint job still today. The color shifting paint option uses a multilayer approach featuring microscopic reflective flakes. Porsche has offered Chromaflair colorways like Urban Bamboo, Explosive Gold, and Python Green on the Porsche 911 for around $100,000 extra. If this color shifting isn’t your thing though, Porsche’s Paint to Sample program opens up color choices to more than 160 different paints.
The McLaren Speedtail is already ludicrous in design. A twin-turbocharged V8 paired to a hybrid motor making 1,070 horsepower launches this thing to 60 mph in 2.5 seconds and allows it to reach a top speed of 250 mph. The $2,000,000 hypercar also comes with an insane paint option. For another $130,000, McLaren will paint the Speedtail with pulverized diamonds. Story has it that one of the 106 buyers asked them to create a paint that resembles their favorite sunset. I’m not sure how infusing actual diamonds came about to achieve this sunset idea, but it goes nicely with the available gold-plated toolset and platinum badge options.
Bugatti is a very high-end brand with a ridiculously fast ride in their Chiron. The Bugatti Chiron is capable of 0-60 mph in 2.4 seconds and a top speed of 261 mph thanks in part to its insane quad-turbocharged W16 engine. Super Sport models boast even more performance, being one of the first production cars to break 300 mph. The carbon fiber crafted body of the Chiron lends a hand in making this hypercar lightweight, so what better way to showcase this unique body material than to paint the car with only a clear coat? For $500,000 extra to the already substantial Chiron price tag, Bugatti will carefully paint your carbon fiber hypercar in layers of see-through clear coating.
We have to end this list with possibly the greatest and most secretive paint of all time. Back in the early 1990s, Ford introduced a limited run of special paint for their 1996 Mustang SVT Cobra. These Mystic Cobras wore special color-shifting paint dubbed Mystichrome. Only 2,000 of these cars were made with this special paint that shown blue, green, and purple depending on the lighting. At one time, if your car needed to be resprayed in Mystichrome, a Ford representative would have to bring the paint from their facility and be present during the process. Ford made sure that their special paint wasn’t being used for any other car or purpose besides working on approved Ford models. Ford later brought Mystichrome back for a short run of 1,010 2004 Ford Mustang SVT Cobras. There was even a single Ford GT painted in the rare paint for an additional cost of $100,000 extra. That one of one Mystichrome Ford GT has since been guaranteed by Ford to be the only one that will ever receive this rare color.