256 shades of grey

For as long as I can remember, the back page of the Oklahoma Gazette, the local sort-of-alt-weekly, has been purchased by the local BMW dealer to showcase the current lease deals. After a while, they start to blur: all those Bimmers look pretty much the same. Jack Baruth is happy to explain one of the reasons why:

Let’s put aside for a minute the staggering historical ignorance in thinking that German cars have always been limited to non-colors. After all, the Porsches of the Sixties and the Audis of the Seventies came in colors from lime green to light tan and at no time was the integrity of the German people harmed in any way as a result. Trabants were always wacky colors and that was despite East Germany being pretty much a collection of unheated concrete buildings. The monochromization of the Fatherland’s automobiles didn’t start in earnest until it became possible to lease them cheaply and all the newbies wanted a silver BMW with the lowest possible payment. What can you do about that? It sucks and that’s why when you drive by your local Bimmer dealer the colorful Bavarias and 320is of yesteryear have been replaced by a line of grey blobs with BMW Financial’s preferred package of auction-friendly equipment.

Well, this week they have an X1 sDrive28i in actual red for $359 for 36 months, and while this is the Bimmer toward which I am most favorably disposed, I refuse to pay actual money for anything with an asinine label like “sDrive28i.” (MSRP, if you’re asking, is $36,650.) And apparently this ad is updated piecemeal, when it’s updated at all, because some of these deals expired on the first of August, the rest on the first of September. Cover date is the third of September. (The bottom-feeder 320i, offered for $309, is indeed in silver, or a very shiny grey.)


  1. fillyjonk »

    5 September 2014 · 10:04 am

    I believe Earl Scheib is still in operation. (Wouldn’t work if you were leasing, though.)

    Though now, the thought of a Hello Kitty Pink or brilliant pea green BMW is making me chuckle. (I wonder: what is the tackiest possible color for a car?)

  2. fillyjonk »

    5 September 2014 · 10:06 am

    Crap, apparently No, it isn’t.

    Another piece of my early life gone. (I remember the “any car, any color” ads. And my dad once took a car to them to have it painted a yellow just slightly brighter than a school bus yellow, after the third time someone got in a minor collision with him and said, “I just didn’t see your (dark green) car!”)

  3. CGHill »

    5 September 2014 · 10:09 am

    You should have seen Baruth’s lime-green Audi.

  4. McGehee »

    5 September 2014 · 5:12 pm


    I had one of those a few years back. It only held 250 megabytes though.

  5. McGehee »

    5 September 2014 · 5:13 pm

    Fillyjonk, I think Maaco is still around.

  6. canadienne »

    5 September 2014 · 8:02 pm

    This is only tangential to your post, although it does indicate another and possibly more personal way to tell your cars apart: http://edmonton.ctvnews.ca/you-are-what-you-drive-study-shows-people-tend-to-drive-cars-that-resemble-their-own-faces-1.1993200

    What do BMW’s look like?

  7. CGHill »

    5 September 2014 · 8:07 pm

    Well, the headlight lenses on my car are slightly cloudy — the left worse than the right — and curiously, the optometrist says I’m headed for the Cataract Ranch.

    (X1 page on Wikipedia.)

  8. canadienne »

    6 September 2014 · 12:15 pm

    Hm, I can see no resemblance between me and the aging import we drive except sadly the same cataracts/cloudy headlights correlation. Am I the same age in car years? Are car years equivalent to dog years?

    I was standing on a corner waiting for a ride and counted the cars going by according to colour:
    17 gray, from light to dark grey
    10 black
    9 white (I may have counted one warm-white pearlescent car as white, so in the interest of accuracy I should say white or almost-white)
    7 red (various shades from dark red to kind of a medium red, bright red cars seem to be extinct)
    3 beige-ish
    2 dark blue

    There were at least two pickup trucks in this total, both white. They did not look like working trucks, so I counted them as cars. I did not count working vehicles, painted in company colours.

    No colourful cars any more, or at least not many.

  9. CGHill »

    6 September 2014 · 3:24 pm

    My second Mazda 626 bore the curious color name of “Mojave Beige Mica.” Now I’ve been to the Mojave, and it doesn’t look all that beige. Mazda was offering a whole two interior colors back then: cheese-mold grey and butterscotch pudding. (I had the latter.)

    Current ride is Aspen Pearl White, which is to say “whiter than cake frosting.” So far as I’ve been able to tell, there were two interior colors offered: black and, well, non-black, which is a taupe with very low brown content.

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