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Grey-t Expectations: An Obsession With Grey Cars

Updated: Nov 7, 2023



Grey is November.

Fact.

Grey is also the fundamental palette of battleships, elephants, concrete, ghosts, shale, rain and the largely unseen, matter.


So why oh why oh why would you want a relentlessly grey car.




OK.


Before we embark on a biblical rant, credit where it’s due.


As it’s Audi we have to glad hand for the invention of LY7C. Or RAL 7004. Perhaps better known as Nardo Grey to those of you without exacting paint colour knowledge.


And therefore ‘street cred’.


So of course, we’re forever indebted to Ingolstadt for that.


However, couldn't Audi have just stopped at Nardo Grey.




We mean, just how many shades of grey do we really need? Like the books and film, grey promises so much yet ultimately delivers very little to arouse our interests.


A casual glance tells us that Audi proffers Daytona Grey Pearl, Kemora Grey Metallic, Monsoon Grey Metallic, Quantum Grey, Suzuka Grey Metallic, Terra Grey Metallic, Typhoon Grey Metallic, Vesuvius Grey Metallic, Manhattan Grey, Chronos Grey and Arrow Grey to ensnare those looking to purchase a four-ringed automobile any time soon.







Grey Yarmouth


Now, if Audi had been a little more imaginative with its grey monikers, then we might give more of a shiz. Although stopping short of Farrow and Ball levels of pretentiousness, suffice to say.


We believe Audi has missed a trick by not adopting the following colours.


Farah Kecks Grey

(Morph’s Brother), Chad Grey

Tarzan Grey (have a little think about that….)

Anatomy Grey

Grey Yarmouth

Grey Dane

.....and/or our personal favourite; Grey British Bake Off.






On an altogether more high brow note though, what is Audi’s obsession with the colour grey?


Apparently legend/Wikipedia/the pub sage has it that grey is indeed the colour most closely associated with intellect, knowledge and wisdom. Personified by your typical Audi driver one might observe.


Classic, refined, dignified and conservative, allegedly. According to other sources; composed, reliable, middle of the road and (ahem) not for the attention-seeking.


And neutral, like Switzerland.



Elsewhere, slightly less favourable connotations are conveyed by psychologists. Who tell us that grey more typically projects stability, boredom, uniformity, loss, depression and a distinct lack of imagination.


What none of these considered descriptions shout is ‘cutting’ or ‘thrusting’. Go-getting, or ambitious. Or flamboyant and carefree.


Nor expressing a joie de vivre approach or attitude. Or to borrow from the Italian vocab; dolce vita.


Which leads us nicely to this.






FIAT’s House Party


Yup, after a tenuous and lengthy introduction where we’ve simply slated grey, we arrive at the bare bones of this latest blog.


And news that Italian car maker, Fiat has decided to drop ALL grey paintjobs from its model line-up with immediate effect.


Which is arguably the most Italian thing we’ve ever heard.




That being said, the reason behind this most sweeping of sweeping gestures we can’t argue with. As Fiat wants to brighten up the lives of car owners and inject some much-needed colour into our monochrome existences.


Hurrah to that.


Providing they don’t ask us to borrow from Chris Martin’s garish wardrobe at any juncture.






Indeedy.


Risk averse grey is to be dropped by Fiat in a bid to brighten up our lives.


Their larger-than-life head of PR spin and Insta friend of the celebrities, Olivier Francois announced this whilst confidently sat in a Fiat 600 hovering above a giant vat of lurid orange paint a few weeks back.


A vat of lurid orange paint he was subsequently lowered into in scenes not dissimilar to when Noel Edmonds used to gunge household names at his Crinkly Bottom residence.


The backdrop for this elaborate marketing stunt was a picture postcard-pretty Italian town, chosen to illustrate just how colourful Italians are. You can tell by the colour of the shutters on their houses and their chinos.






What’s All This Mean To VAG?


Where this fearless move leaves the VW Audi Group is anyone’s guess, as anyone who’s anyone has opted for Nardo Grey for as long as we can recall. And probably stretching as far back in history as the Magna Carta.


For what feels like the past millennia the motoring press has reliably informed us that grey is the most popular colour choice for new cars, with more vibrant palettes languishing way further down the research charts.


The underlying rationale relating to ‘risk aversion’.


With experts in this field insisting that a vehicle’s future worth (and therein forecast depreciation) is uppermost in new car buyers’ minds when overlooking the 70’s browns, Premier League footballers’ wives oranges and liquidised Kermit greens.


With everyone inevitably box ticking the safe bet of grey in its various forms of mundanity.


To simplify this populist theory still further, sellers of an eye-poppingly yellow Audi A1 S-line would have to set their re-sale sights significantly lower. Recognising that potential buyers would more often than not opt for the grey equivalent when push came to shove.


Largely because a Kardashian ONLY drives a grey car.


Or worse still. Everyone else in their gated community wouldn't be seen red or dead in any other hue or saturation of jalopy.


Period.







But Didn’t Volkswagen Once Throw Caution To The Wind?



Sssshh.


We think they put that memory to bed a long time back.


Once upon a long time back Audi's VAG stablemate, VW seemingly took complete leave of its senses and launched the Colour Concept range of mid-90s Golf.


Ostensibly stock Mk3 GTi's done out in zany blues, yellows, greens, reds and er, blacks.


That’s correct. A resolutely black Golf GTi with a contrasting black interior that would obviously give architects another option away from a Saab 900 Turbo at the same long time back.


Or possibly not.




The other examples all had resplendently contrasting interiors which we wouldn’t be surprised to learn that Lawrence Llewelyn Bowend had a helping hand in conceptualising.






The actual colours were Salsa Green, Flash Red, Jazz Blue, Diamond Black and Yellow.


Clearly they couldn’t conjure up anything that reminded themselves of a yellow this brazen.


This strictly limited edition run of both 3 and 5-door Golf GTi will forever be etched into auto history as the Colour Concept. Nearly thirty years on and its presence on the carscape still not fully explained by those responsible for its birthing.





Around the same long time back Volkswagen gave the world the Harlequin Polo.


A car that sported every colour available within the Volkswagen brochure, all under the one roof. Or in the event; painted onto every panel of exterior bodywork.


An overall effect that was as bewildering as it was stomach-churning.





Colour Us Good


The one thing neither the Colour Concept or Harlequin were though was ‘safe’.


Do you think that VW was thinking of the re-sale values of these models when they sat down with their designers in the direct aftermath of a substantial liquid lunch and tasked with brainstorming something a little different.


So, we salute you Fiat. For daring to go against the grain and bringing colour back onto the car-making agenda.



That’s not to say we don’t still love you, Audi. And of course, working on your cars.


Whatever one of the 50 shades of grey they arrive at WCC in.










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