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Are Gold Cars Dead?

I realized something the other day: you used to see gold cars a lot more than you do now. Have you noticed this, too? Back in the 1980s and 1990s, it used to be fairly commonplace to get a luxury car in gold — it was almost as natural and well-accepted as silver. Not anymore. There’s a gold Porsche Macan I see here and there, and it sticks out like a sore, gold-plated thumb in our modern world.

I’m not quite sure when it happened, but it certainly happened. In the 1980s and 1990s, gold was a fairly popular color on luxury cars, and many luxury brands offered multiple shades of it. But now, gold seems to have been replaced — and the "colors du jour" are silver, gray and black. The fall of gold also seems to correspond with the rise of white, which wasn’t popular at all in the 1980s and 1990s, but has stormed on to the scene in the last decade as a dominant color in the luxury and exotic car world.

Automakers have certainly noticed the fall of gold. If you log on to the Mercedes-Benz configurator and pick a model, you are truly greeted by a dozen shades of gray, silver, white and black, all of which have clever names designed to make you think they’re dramatically different, even though they clearly aren’t. You’d be lucky to find one gold, and often, it’s described as beige or tan to hide what it really is, since nobody wants to be seen in a gold vehicle anymore.

I find this especially interesting for Mercedes-Benz, as they’re among the most common "gold" brands I see when I spot a 1980s or 1990s model — but now, it’s all gone, replaced by other colors, far more rare than it once was. It seems that "gold is old," as in associated with older people and older cars — and most drivers have moved on to other colors, with gold left in decades past.

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6 COMMENTS

  1. This is a shame. I’ve owned a gold car before, and it was great- it didn’t show dust, easy to keep clean, no water spots, no color oxidation, and helped keep the car cool inside on a hot day. This goes along with the trend Doug mentioned in earlier post about tan seats also disappearing from popularity. 
    Cadillac offers a limited edition bronze color (Bronze Sand Metallic) for the CTS-V and ATS-V. There is a rumor there will be a “Zeus Bronze” for the new C8 Corvette. 

  2. I’ve noticed this too.  “Smoked silver” used to be the IN color on a Benz, and while I do still think it looks good on older cars, it does oddly look out of place on newer cars.  As someone mentioned before, it seems to be an older person car color now.  Weird how that happened.

  3. I would describe that as “taco gold”. Brown and gold are both holding on in the pickup world.  In fact I specifically looked for those colors when I bought my truck this year and while there weren’t many, it wasn’t impossible to find either.

  4. Hey Doug, hope all is well. Lexus was still going strong with a gold color. We called it OGG old guy gold. The color is called Satin Cashmere. 

    • Yup, my 2005 LS430 is Mystic Gold.. Not a bad color, but got it mostly because my wife liked it. My 2001 LS was Millennium SIlver… The other color….

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Doug Demuro
Doug DeMuro writes articles and makes videos, mainly about cars. Doug was born in Denver, Colorado, and received an economics degree from Emory University in Atlanta. After graduation, Doug spent three years working for Porsche Cars North America. Eventually, he quit his job to become a writer, largely because it meant that he no longer had to wear pants. Doug’s work has been featured in a... Read More about Doug Demuro

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