For decades, muscle cars have been a tough sell outside of the American market. After years of foreign markets criticizing the cars as too unrefined, too big, or too thirsty, Ford has seemingly hit a sweet spot, and the all-new 2015 Mustang is shaping up to be a global hit for the company. Stateside, the new ponycar is the best-selling sports car of 2015, with Ford moving 17,148 cars in the first two months alone. China has also taken a shine to the new car, flooding Ford dealerships with 18,000 requests for test drives since the car went on sale earlier this year. And while the Mustang has developed a small cult following throughout Europe over the past 50 years, this new car is the first Mustang ever offered in the U.K. and other European markets.
As the car hits the Chinese and European showrooms, the “Build Your Own Mustang” configurator on the Ford site has been working overtime, and the Blue Oval has taken the time to compile the data for 1.1 million of these digital dream cars to come up with the most popular Mustang colors in the U.S., China and European markets. Surprisingly, the results are a little more buttoned down than you might expect. Of the 10 colors offered for the car, the three most popular colors chosen by U.S. users (in order) were black, a dark silver, and red. Europeans opted for red, black and blue models, and potential Chinese customers went for red, white, and black cars.
Despite these relatively conservative color choices, Ford still offers plenty of muscle car-appropriate hues like Competition Orange, Triple Yellow, Ruby Red, and Guard Green (similar to the metallic green seen on the 1968 Mustang in the film Bullitt). The rest of the colors, two silver tones, black, a deep blue, and a prerequesite dark red wouldn’t look out of place on a more pedestrian Taurus of Escape. Still, it makes sense that red would be so popular overseas; few cars are more iconic than the original 1965 Mustang in Ford’s Rangoon Red hue, and for first-time international buyers, why not option the quintessential American car in its most iconic color?
With maybe the exception of Deep Impact Blue, a bold blue that was the third most popular choice in Europe, the Mustangs were clad in colors that would benefit far less exciting cars. It’s a far cry from the first muscle car era of the 1960s, when Americans were far more adventurous when it came to car colors. From small coupes to station wagons, it wasn’t unusual to have a list of bright blues, greens, reds, golds, and whites to choose from. When the original Mustang was released in spring 1964, buyers could choose from 12 different colors – and silver and black weren’t among them. By the end of the decade, muscle car colors like Grabber Blue, Orange Julep, Plum Crazy, and Big Bad Green were certainly considered loud, but they weren’t too far from ordinary. Five decades later, Americans have grown increasingly conservative when it comes to car colors, with dark metallic and earth-toned cars dominating the roads.
By today’s standards, the loudly-colored vintage muscle cars look as dated as the pastel tail-finned behemoths of the 1950s. In 2014, the most popular car colors in America were white, black, gray, and silver. Sure, a red Mustang is certain to draw attention, but think about how a new Mustang clad in Pagoda Green, Guardsman Blue, or Phoenician Yellow would stand out against today’s traffic. If anything, this new information is less an indication of global trends, and more an indictment of how boring the automotive color palette has become.
Luckily, the new Mustang would be exciting even if it were wrapped in a paper bag. Whether powered by the 2.3 liter turbocharged EcoBoost inline-four or the fire-breathing 5.2 liter V8 for the upcoming Shelby GT350R, the new ponycar is a strong performer across the board, and it’s a genuine worldwide success for Ford. Despite being designed for a global market under the company’s One Ford program, the Mustang retains its uniquely-American feel, and is leading the entire muscle car segment into the future while tastefully alluding to its past. With the new Mustang as truly special as it is, maybe it would be that much better if it wasn’t confined to a world that saw it in black, red and gray.
Check out Autos Cheat Sheet on Facebook