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You Don’t Actually Want That Brightly Colored Car

Today I’m going to tell you about my friend Peri, who was a groomsman at my wedding and is a generally good person, except for most of the time. Peri owns a silver car and a gray car. Before that, Peri owned a black car, and before that, another black car. But do you know what Peri is always doing? He’s always telling me how he’d "definitely own" some wild color of some car we’re discussing. "Oh, the 911? Green looks good. I’d definitely get one in green." Then he got a 911, and it’s gray.

Peri is not unique in this behavior. I have been told countless times by truly countless people that they will "definitely" get a car in orange, or they really think bright blue looks cool, or "Oh, man, isn’t yellow awesome? I’m surely gonna get yellow." And then, when it actually comes time to purchase whatever car they’re talking about, they get silver, or white, or black, just like everyone else.

There’s a reason for this: You don’t actually want that brightly colored car.

I know how you feel when you see one. You see a bright red metallic Porsche 911, and you think about how nice it would be to cruise down the street, top down, with that red paint gleaming in the sun. Or you see a green Mercedes SL and you think: More people should get that color. It actually compliments the lines nicely. Why is Jaguar limited to green? Or you see a yellow Jeep, and you tell yourself: That’s the color I’m gonna get.

But then, when you’re actually buying the car, something else happens: You don’t do any of that.

The reason for this, of course, is largely twofold. One is that you’re focused on resale value. You talk a big game about how "more people" should buy green cars and blue cars and red cars, but when push comes to shove, that "more people" doesn’t include you. You don’t want your car to be impossible to sell when the time comes to move on — which, of course, is the same reasoning everyone else uses. You’ll get a green car next time. You’ll spring for that yellow in a few years. Really. You will.

The other reason is also obvious: You can’t really find that "cool color." I’ve traveled all over the country to buy cars in bizarre colors — including to California (from Georgia) to get an orange Lotus Elise and to North Carolina (from Pennsylvania) to get a blue Dodge Viper. Most people aren’t that committed. Some people want that green 911, but a friend of a friend is selling a silver one, and isn’t that just as good? They get lazy, they back off, and they just get a "normal"-colored car because a weird color would require some extra work.

These two reasons explain 99 percent of car color choices — and they also explain why the vast majority of cars are silver, white, black, gray or some other dull color like "anthracite," which is really just some special manufacturer name for a combination of gray and silver that the car owner is desperately trying to use in order to convince themselves they have something special.

So here’s the deal: Whenever you’re in a group of friends and you see a cool car come up in some interesting color, don’t loudly announce that you’d "definitely" get that color if you owned that car — especially if your entire car history is gray, black, white or silver. Because the truth is you wouldn’t. We all know you wouldn’t. Find a car for sale

MORE FROM OVERSTEER:
Here’s Why the Ugly Pontiac Aztek Is Actually Kind of Cool
I Think an Off-Roady Minivan Would Be a Huge Success
Autotrader Find: 1990 Cadillac Brougham Limousine

 

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