Button up your clearcoat

Once again, white is the most popular car color in America, though I’ve never seen an explanation for this quite so eloquent, or quite so pretentious, as this Infiniti ad (for the G coupe) in a late-2005 InStyle:

Colorless? Or is it the most essential color? Maximizing minimal. Screaming quietly. Reveling in less. Pure. Stripped bare. Proud. Fresh. Fashionably optimistic. Elegant with a vengeance. Untainted. Unflawed. The most colorful color in any palette is … White.

And I look at my white Infiniti, and I think “Christ, this thing gets dirty fast.”


  1. fillyjonk »

    12 January 2009 · 8:29 am

    The reason I bought a white car? As my dad said: “You’re going to be moving to Oklahoma. In the summer.” (Also the justification for accepting the factory-tint on the rear windows)

    Actually, it would be an interesting job for the Mythbusters to determine if white cars really do stay cooler than, say, red. (My gut feeling is “probably not, but the window tinting will help.”)

  2. Tatyana »

    12 January 2009 · 8:58 am

    Materials finished with reflective surface will be cooler in summer. White reflects, black absorbs; the intensity of hue (chroma) being the important factor in color reflectivity. But polished/mirrored surface finish factors even more. Considering the dirt, dust and reflective qualities altogether, the optimal combination is a light cool grey with pearlescent finish.

  3. Flack »

    12 January 2009 · 9:04 am

    Never owned a white car, and never plan to. They look too much like “Fleet” vehicles to me.

  4. MikeH »

    12 January 2009 · 10:40 am

    >I look at my white Infiniti, and I think “Christ, this thing gets dirty fast.”

    Be glad it’s not black.

  5. McGehee »

    12 January 2009 · 1:38 pm

    I was just going to say, “White — it’s the new black.”

  6. Dan B »

    13 January 2009 · 8:13 pm

    I’ve had all colors of cars in Oklahoma summer heat. I can’t tell the difference in temperatures based on color of the car, it’s brutal regardless.

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