List: Top Ten Cars that Look Great in Bizarre Colors

By Seyth Miersma

July 23, 2008


10. Lancia Stratos Electric blue, neon green, or any kind of yellow aren’t a problem for the rally legend. The Stratos being a fine example of how durable the wedge shape is when it comes to painting the rainbow. We do think it would struggle in pink though, so the Lancia finds itself on the bottom looking up.


9. Fiat 500 Italy’s original “people’s car”, the Fiat 500 has the tiny size and rounded corners that will soak up even the worst chromatic decisions. The cinquecento is too cute though, with not enough weight behind its malleable good looks.


8. Ford Crown Victoria Not a natural looker we’ll grant you, but Ford’s Crown Vic has blazed such a wide trail in the commercial realm that we can imagine it in nearly any livery. Certainly yellow, a tough match for lesser vehicles, is a perfect fit for the Vic’s hardworking body.


7. Toyota FJ Cruiser Toyota gave its FJ remake a leg up in the color department early; selling the cute-ute in a few shades that would make Camry blush. There’s a toy-like quality to the FJ Cruiser that lets it wear color that other SUVs wouldn’t leave the house in, but the Toyota design is still too “one note” to make it any higher.


6. Smart ForTwo Any tiny city car has got a better chance of pulling off lurid shades from the outset anyway, but when a vehicle is co-created by bubble-gum watchmaker Swatch, it’s bound to be in a different league. Smart is so confident that its two-seater will look good in any color that it makes adding and removing body panels something an owner can do in his driveway. We like – but don’t love – the ForTwo in pink, middle of the pack then.


5. Plymouth Road Runner Superbird/Dodge Charger Daytona There are a whole host of American muscle cars that would sort of work for this list, but none with the outright gall of the Superbird. We don’t know why that stupid-big NASCAR wing looks so good in purple and orange, but it does. Mopar had no artistic fear when the Road Runner roamed the earth, resulting in one of the sickest factory color pallets ever.


4. Lotus Elise Offered up in silver or black, Lotus’s lightweight Elise is a brutally attractive sports car. Change the shade to an unholy mix of yellow and green, and the car becomes even more intriguing. While we think that Elise passes even the pink test with high marks, the competition gets fairly rough here.


3. Volkswagen Type II (Bus) There’s probably no color that the free-wheeling Volkswagen Bus hasn’t seen coating its slabby form at some point in time. Using anything from spray paint to house paint, VW owners have seen fit to customize the Type II at will, and with fine results. While we firmly believe that the Bus would look good covered in your grandmother’s kitchen wallpaper, it’s ultimately more charming than beautiful.


2. Citroen 2CV One of the most unique and minimalist automotive shapes of all time; the deux chevaux won a rabid following in its four decades-plus of production. The Citroen’s timeless shape seems to overpower even the most head-scratching colors, earning it the penultimate spot on our good car/bad color list.


1. Lamborghini Countach The ultimate expression of the supercar wedge (sorry, Stratos), our dream Countach could arrive in the parking lot painted flesh tone and we wouldn’t mind. Yellow and purple are natural wins for this extrovert, as are any of the more sickly shades of green and howling oranges. How does the Lambo tackle the ruthless pink test then? Let’s just say that we think that Barbie would feel right at home. Honorable Mentions: Nissan Micra, BMW 2002, Daihatsu Copen, Mini Cooper, Bugatti Veyron, and pretty much any Hot Wheels car.

10. 9. 8. 7. 6. 5. 4. 3. 2. 1.

It’s no easy job to design a car that most people will agree is attractive. Start to throw wild shades of paint into the mix and the job becomes exponentially harder. While it’s safe to say that Jaguar’s XKE is a stunningly beautiful car, we’d imagine that Atomic Orange might be a tough sell to Jag owners when it comes time for new paint.

But there are cars that seem to look exceptional no matter what hue they’re cast in. They tend to be vehicles that are rather brash to begin with; being quite large or quite small seems to help as well. For the purposes of creating our list of ten cars that can look great in horrible colors, we made pink our “acid test.” If it couldn’t make out well in Barbie’s signature color, it didn’t make the list. Enjoy.