Have you noticed brown cars lately?

teal40In the early to mid-1990s, teal was a popular color for cars. I can remember seeing teal cars all over Dayton, and I thought it was a pretty interesting color, one that last seemed to be popular in the 1950s, perhaps. Eventually teal became passe, as many colors do. Then I thought it was a horrible color.

For a while after that, silver/light gray seemed to be super popular as a paint choice for many car owners, and it still is. Red got really popular, too—not fire engine red, but a darker, wine-colored red. I see a ton of dark red-colored cars as I am out and about nowadays.coolgray10

This summer I’ve seen a lot of brown, though, on what I believe are 2016 or 2017 model year cars. Brown was a car color you might have seen in the late 1970s or early ’80s and hasn’t been around much since. Like teal, I suppose what’s old is new again. But brown—not light brown or tan, but brown brown—seems like a terrible color for a car. Or a football team.

red60Brown, to me, is the color of mud, poop and misery. Why misery? Brown makes me think of the Cleveland Browns in my native Ohio, and the Browns are maybe the most hopeless team in all of sports. The Browns, aka the “Factory of Sadness,” can’t seem to win—www.clevelandbrowns.com shows that out of a 16-game season, the Browns had a lone 3-point win over the San Diego Chargers last season and just four wins in 2015. Since 1999, when the franchise was revived in Cleveland (it’s a long story), the Browns have had an astonishing 26 starters at quarterback and have a record of 88 wins and 200 losses, according to my math—a winning percentage of 44 percent. Ouch. I feel bad for the team’s fans.gold80

I don’t think brown has many redeeming qualities as a car color, either, aside from the fact that you would be less likely to tell if a car is muddy if it had brown paint. Brown, like black, would likely be a color that would absorb a lot of heat in the summer, making one’s car even hotter in our mind-melting Texas heat. To me it looks dull, whether your car was just washed or never washed. Brown is about as sexy as the Browns’ odds of making the Super Bowl this year.

But if you’re driving a newer car that happens to be brown, life can’t be all that bad, even if you’re a Browns fan. At least you have a new car.


Ford is offering a brownish color called Bronze Fire in 2017 models.
BMW has a Chestnut Brown Metallic for 2017.
Mojave Sand—you know, brown—is a Hyundai 2017 model color.
Mercedes-Benz offers a Dakota Brown Metallic for 2017.
Volkswagen has Dark Bronze Metallic for 2017.
Buick has a River Rock Metallic this year.
2017 colors for Mitsubishi include Quartz Brown.
Subaru has a Brilliant Brown Pearl in 2017.


Colors via IBM Design color library


4 thoughts on “Have you noticed brown cars lately?”

  1. I drove my parents’ old brown Chevy Impala in the 1980s. Big car and was fun to drive. I hadn’t thought much about it, but I guess I haven’t seen many brown cars in the last 10 or 20 years. I will look for them now, this is another interesting post. Also, I was at the Browns’ lone win last season. It was awesome.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Yeah, the 49ers may be in for a tough season. I think the Browns should be a lot better than last year, but that’s not actually saying a lot.


  2. Great post, Andy! I remember the “era of earth-toned cars” back in the late 70s and early 80s. I thought it was the worst thing to happen to cars since the development of exploding gas tanks by Ford and GMC. Even now I will see a brown or beige car and literally wonder what went through the owner’s mind when he went to buy it. I can just picture him telling the salesman, “Give me the blandest, ugliest car you’ve got on the lot, my good man!” The other color I can’t figure out is cars that come from the factory actually painted Bondo gray. I mean … what? Who the hell would pay actual money for that?

    Anyway, great post! (Go Packers!)


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