Did you know that The Autopian is considered by many in the United States government to be a crucial part of the Department of Homeland Security? While not “true” in the conventional sense, it’s nevertheless a responsibility I take quite seriously. Mostly what we do is keep careful tabs on the automotive world and detect potential threats early, before they can really cause harm.
We have such a threat detected, and it is serious enough that we felt it was important to bring it to your attention sooner rather than later when it could actually be destructive. We have detected an up-and-coming car color trend that, while a welcome break from the relentless slog of grayscale, nevertheless represents a genuine aesthetic threat to our collective automotive well-being. We call this color Discarded Band-Aid Beige or perhaps Creepy Abandoned Baby Doll Buff or even Prosthetic Peach. It was a color that was surprisingly common on consumer items and electronics in the 1970s and 1980s, and it must not be allowed to become trendy for cars.
We were alerted that this color trend should be escalated from an Issue of Concern to Potential Threat status when our own David Tracy showed us some pictures of a Lucid Air he spotted in Los Angeles bearing a variant of this particular color family:
As you can see, that color, while close to, say, butterscotch, isn’t quite there. It has a sort of duller quality, with a hint of innate dinginess. That’s because that Lucid Air is painted in this color, a color that somehow manages to evoke the feeling of countless oily hands gripping the clammy rubber of a CPR dummy. Something about this color makes one feel that whatever this color is, um, coloring, is the sort of public-use thing that has passed through thousands of unwashed hands.
This is the color of the baby doll you saw abandoned by the riverbank that’s been haunting your dreams for the past two weeks. This is the color of the cheapest possible prosthetic leg a mournfully inadequate insurance provider will spring for. It’s the subtly racist mocking color of a Band-Aid on the skin of anyone who dares to not be Caucasian and still gets a scrape. It’s the color of a battered mannequin in a Ross Dress for Less that has had two left hands since the Bush administration. It’s the color of off-brand clearance-rack vanilla ice milk, it’s the color of pus on a wound, the color of an inflatable sex doll bought as a novelty gift and used in earnest once during an excruciatingly low point in your life, and can never be looked at again without a wince of shame.
This is not a color for a car.
For unknowable reasons, probably having to do with the state of plastic molding and pigmenting tech of the 1970s and 1980s, this color was often used for the plastic housings of electronics that businesses would buy in bulk – never individual consumers, who would recoil at the idea. But you see lots of telecommunication equipment in this sad hue – telephones, fax machines, speakerphones, that kind of thing.
Bafflingly, this color is definitely trending in the automotive world, where it’s sometimes euphemistically called something evocative like Desert Sand or Desert Tan or something like that, something that’s supposed to conjure ideas of adventure and exoticism, but, really, it’s just the same color as a billion beige-ish plastic things nobody ever wanted or any number of bits of wearable medical equipment like a hearing aid or a urostomy bag. Look how many people are wrapping their Porsches and Lambos and BMWs and Challengers in this miserable hue:
This isn’t the first time this color or something close to it has attempted to move from the medical and sex-aid and undesirable electronics worlds into the automotive space: it’s shown up at various times since the 1950s, though often it was more skewed to the beige side of things, like the Wrigley’s gum beige VW was fond of in the late 1960s and early 1970s, or a more conventional sort of tan. Still, it wasn’t unknown, as you can see from the top left color in this 1970s Audi Fox color lineup:
This time, though, it’s different. The color isn’t just showing up here and there in the vast palettes of available colors of some cars, it’s actually becoming something of a trend, and people are choosing to get their cars wrapped in this color. Choices are being made! People are proud of showing off their cars that are the same color as the business end of a fleshlight:
— 24wheel_news (@24wheel_news) October 12, 2020
Look, we’re here to help. I know this is alarming, and I realize that we have to be extra careful not to stifle the proliferation of real car colors, because just having anything that isn’t black, white, or silver/gray is something that requires about as much care and nurturing as a rare orchid, but in this case, we simply cannot let this mannequin-prosthetic-fax-machine-creepy doll color stand. We just can’t. A line in the sand needs to be drawn, and we’ve drawn that line.
Knock it off with this sickly color, people. Reformulate your desert sand-evoking colors. You can do it. Just be, you know, aware this time. We’ll be watching.
[Ed note: I saw a Lambo in this color in LA this weekend and I kind of liked it. While it wouldn’t work on a Nissan Altima it’s kind of fun on an exotic. Hopefully, this opinion won’t result in me having to clean David’s floor again… – MH]