What is it about a black car that people find so fascinating? First, black is a very traditional automotive color (hello, Henry Ford!). It makes cars look bigger, adds visual weight, makes them blocky and massive. The contours are blurred, and the outline disappears. But black also has an amazing shine to it that reflects the light in a mysterious way, like the coat of Black Beauty: spirited, yet classy – a successful, timeless combination in automotive history!
Other reasons seem terribly banal by comparison: black paint is cheaper (so there’s more money left over for a killer stereo system), automotive black is surprisingly unemotional (you don’t really see much of the design), black cars are supposedly a snap to resell (fleet and aftermarket) – especially when the dealer specifically recommends it. And cars for official use are almost always black.
On the other hand, black is generally unmatched as a tip-off for luxury: black is endlessly sophisticated, elegant, and expensive. Black diamonds are rare, deep black silk is the archetype of ultimate luxury – and black, polished urushi lacquer represents the earliest painting techniques from thousands of years ago. Black is also the ultimate companion: any bright color can be combined with black – which only highlights it and makes it look even more refined!
But the fact that this color has been so popular for so long means that it is undergoing constant change. State cars are becoming a thing of the past: today’s parliamentary representatives would rather bike to work. In other countries, under other systems, almost no one wants to openly admit a connection to the state apparatus. And a lot of mass almost always means terrible gas mileage.
No other automotive color is subjected to this level of tension and back-and-forth – so black must constantly reinvent and transform itself, opening up a whole new field of deign and development. Will new surfaces completely absorb the light? Can we play with light to create effects that make the car look light and dainty? How will new black production colors look from maker to maker and model to model? There’s a lot of change afoot – and black is a great color!