If we're honest, the first item of importance on many a car buyer's list is the colour. Snigger all you want, but when you've just got a new set of wheels, usually the first question is “what colour is it?”
So it makes sense that manufacturers would take a risk with paint palates to make their new cars stand out from the crowd. Problem is, sometimes an over-enthusiastic approach to colour can yield some horrendous results. Sorry to force you to look at them again, but here are some of the worst.
Colour: Harlequin Car: Volkswagen Polo Year applied: 1995
Not so much a colour as a collection of them, although they're not exactly complementary. It could easily have been an April Fools' Day prank in the Volkswagen paint factory, yet its inexplicable popularity saw Volkswagen produce almost four times as many as the 1,000 it had originally intended to make. The 1996 Golf version wasn't as popular, with less than 300 made, and each sent to America. Phew.
Colour: Marrakesh Brown Car: BMW X1 Year applied: 2010
The weird thing about brown is that it looks beautiful when it's manifested as a bar of chocolate or a big leather corner sofa, but horrendous as a car decoration. And no amount of jazzing it up with an exotic-sounding geographical prefix, as BMW has done here, will change that. What baffles us about Marrakesh Brown is that BMW used it for all its pre-launch press pictures of the X1. Fair enough making it a hidden option for fans of the Seventies, but why introduce people to a whole new model with it?
Colour: Numeric Blue Car: Smart Fortwo Year applied: 1999
Yes, the Smart Fortwo has two seats. We get it. Anyone that looks at the thing could get it. So who at Smart/Mercedes decided it would be a good idea to introduce a paint scheme that plastered the number (and the word)' two' all over the car? Mercifully, it was quickly dropped. Colour: Barbie Pink Car: Fiat 500 Year applied: 2009
The press release accompanying this tasteless Fiat 500 said that 'the gleaming paintwork resembles varnish.' Presumably it meant nail varnish, not Ronseal. The Barbie edition 500 was made in 2009 to mark the eponymous plastic doll's 50th birthday. Menopausal ladies need not rush to a Fiat dealer, however, because thankfully only one was made.
Colour: Sandglow Car: MG MGB Year applied: 1962
The Sandglow finish applied to MGBs from the late Seventies has the distinction of being the only paintjob here that looked aged the day it left the factory, like an orange car left to bake on a California driveway for 15 years. 'Celebrity Sunbed Catastrophy' might have been a better name for it. Or 'David Dickinson'. Quite apt, that one, because these days an MGB is quite a bargain antique.
Colour: Fortune Rose Pearl Car: Suzuki Alto Year applied: 2009
Another case of a car being launched with an inexplicably offensive colour used in all the publicity photos. The launch of the 2009 Alto, the seventh generation, coincided with the car's 30th birthday. Maybe the colour was part of a mass quarter-life crisis at Suzuki. 'I'm 30 now, I'm comfortable with who I am, so why can't I wear pink?' Because it's horrible, that's why.