Is This 1950s Trend Making a Surprising Comeback on New Cars?

Today’s cars are wildly different than they were 15 — let alone 50 — years ago. Sure, there are plenty of new cars out there that call back to the good old days. But by and large, the average consumer from 50 years ago would be blown away by the power and technology found in something like a new Honda Civic.

Still, nostalgia is a powerful thing. There are plenty of people out there that miss some of the details in old cars that have been lost to history. But every now and then, something from the past makes a surprising comeback. For 2018, the old-school trend that’s set to come roaring back is two-tone paint. It may not be the wild pastels of the ’50s or even the contrasting metallic colors of the ’80s, but automakers around the world, from supercar builders to mass market titans, are getting on board with this look. Don’t believe us? Here’s a look at 10 2018 models that just might make two-tone paint the next big thing on the roads. 

1. Range Rover Velar

2018 Range Rover Velar | Land Rover

Range Rover’s all-new Velar slots in between the Evoke and Range Rover Sport. Even if it’s entering a crowded lineup, its design (inside and out) is undeniably sexy, making it a stand out from the rest of the Land Rover stable. One of our favorite features is the available color contrasting roof, which is a throwback to old-school British luxury cruisers. It also helps make the midsize SUV appear smaller and sportier.

2. Toyota Camry

2018 Toyota Camry | Toyota

Toyota is on the offensive trying to rebrand the Camry as a fun-to-drive car. Will it succeed? Well, it’s still a Camry. But its aggressive new styling and available color contrast roof (available on upper trims) certainly make it look memorable. America’s favorite midsize car will never be a sport sedan, but this is probably the most a new Camry has stood out since the days when Japanese cars were still a novelty in America.

3. Kia Soul EV

2017 Kia Soul EV | Kia

The Kia Soul EV may only available in a handful of states, but you won’t mistake it for its gas-powered cousin anytime soon. To differentiate these two models, Kia offers a handsome two-tone paint scheme that’s only available on electric models. We like it better than any trim line offered on gas-powered Souls.

4. Volvo XC40

2018 Volvo XC40 | Volvo

For 2018, Volvo is taking its scalable platform and handsome styling language and entering the luxury compact crossover segment with the all-new XC40. Despite having relatively compact dimensions, a thick C-Pillar means there’s a lot of mass above the belt line. To break this up, Volvo’s stylists gave the XC40 an available contrast-colored roof. Available in black or white, we think it looks great either way.

5. Hyundai Kona

2018 Hyundai Kona | Hyundai

Moving into the compact crossover segment, Hyundai’s Kona is an all-new model for 2018. And while there wasn’t much daylight between the concept and street model (it was unveiled and entered production in 2017) it looks like the contrasting paint job seen on the show car will carry over to the showroom. We think it makes this already striking people mover stand out that much more.

6. Bugatti Chiron

Bugatti Chiron

Bugatti Chiron | Bugatti

Bugatti has been offering its hypercars in two-tone color combos since it reappeared with the Veyron in 2005. In 2016, it was replaced with the new and even wilder Chiron. The two-tone paint remains, but it looks better than ever on the new car. Two-tone Bugattis are so popular with customers, in fact, that it makes us wonder if it isn’t at least a little responsible for the resurgence of this new trend.

7. Citröen Cactus

2017 Citröen C4 Cactus | Citröen

This is a model we don’t get stateside, but Citröen’s weird little crossover is still one of our favorites. From 2014 to 2017, the French compact had distinctive “Air Bumps” on its doors to prevent dings and dents. Our favorite part? They came standard in colors that contrasted with the body paint. Unfortunately, the Cactus is getting a refresh for 2018 and the Air Bumps are history.

8. Ford Flex

2018 Ford Flex | Ford

Launched back in 2009, the Ford Flex is becoming a cult classic in its own right. But the iconoclastic people mover takes some overt styling cues from classic American wagons of the ’60s and ’70s. While that doesn’t include an option for fake woodgrain trim (unfortunately), it does have a two-tone option. For an additional $1,500, you can option your Flex with a contrasting black roof. And in case you’re wondering, yes, it looks good with every color.

9. 2018 Jeep Wrangler

2018 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon | Jeep

Other than a little black plastic trim, this all-new Jeep Wrangler Rubicon is very, very red. But for 2018, Jeep suggests that its newest 4×4 could get in on the two-tone action too. With a removable hardtop, doors, and windshield, the truck maker promises that “dozens of combinations” will be available. We’d be shocked if that didn’t include a contrasting black hardtop on several models.

10. Mini Cooper

2016 Mini Cooper 2-Door

2017 Mini Cooper | Mini

Mini is something of a pioneer when it comes to modern-day two-tone paint jobs. The iconic British company has been offering the look on its cars since it was reborn back in 2001. A throwback to the late-’50s styling of the original Mini, we doubt this option is going to go anywhere anytime soon.

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