In living color |

In living color

Have you ever wondered why there are so many white pickup trucks on the road today?

For awhile I thought it might be illegal to drive a blue truck or we were back in Henry Ford’s days when he said you could buy any color car you wanted from him as long as it was black.

Every major manufacturer today either consults with, or has “colorists” on staff, to advise them on the best color to package their product in. For trucks the best selling color is white and has been for years. There are several logical reasons why. White is the only color that doesn’t fade; the color white reflects heat so the pickup cab stays cooler than say a black truck; white trucks actually get better performance in hot weather because air conditioning is used less making the truck more fuel efficient; white trucks last longer and have a higher trade in value (red, orange and yellow have the worst); companies like white trucks because they can buy them year after year and know they’ll still be available and they don’t have to paint them to have a uniform colored fleet; white trucks appear bigger than they are; names and advertising stick out better on white trucks; and white trucks are safer, having 12% fewer accidents than black trucks because they are more easily seen, except in blizzards, of course.

I think one of the biggest reasons white trucks are so popular is they don’t show water spots, dings or dirt. Years ago we had a white Ford Econoline truck that we called Ewe Haul because we hauled sheep in it. We bought it from my Grandpa for $500 and to my knowledge it had never been washed in its lifetime and it still didn’t look as dirty as a clean black vehicle after 2 minutes on a dirt road. The “colorists” also say that the color white projects a sense of honesty, purity, freedom, good taste and elegance. Although I must say I didn’t feel all that elegant driving that old Econoline full of sheep that looked like a bulldog with its flattened nose, engine inside the cab and one thin layer of sheet metal between you and a concrete bridge abutment. You can say all the nice things you want about white trucks but to me they are still B-O-R-I-N-G!

The colorists have discovered some fascinating things. For instance, silver, white and black trucks have the highest resale value and red trucks are the most often over priced. On more domestic matters, did you know that men prefer white bedrooms while women prefer blue? Did you also know that the Yellow Taxi Cab Company painted its cabs yellow because they were easier to see?

The colorists don’t have all the answers though and they still don’t know why men like yellow based red, while women prefer blue based red. Or why bronze induces a very negative response. They don’t know why old time cowboys hardly ever wore red shirts while they practically became the official uniform for miners. Colorists also don’t know why weightlifters can lift more weight if they wear blue shorts, why more people buy blue toothbrushes than they do red and why yellow and red stimulate hunger. (Which explains the color of McDonald’s signs.)

I’m so glad they’re making a few trucks that aren’t white but you have to be careful in buying a colorful truck because the color you pick says a lot about you. Yellow means you’re frivolous, weak and are stressed out; beige and tan conveys a sense of power and blue green means you’ve arrived financially. When men reach their obligatory mid-life crises they are most often drawn to black and red trucks. Red especially communicates a sense of freedom and excitement. Dark brown means you’re a depressing person while silver means you’re highly complex. Dark blue conveys a sense of respect and responsibility while orange and grey means you’re cheap. The color orchid makes people nauseous.

Even though green is the color of money and makes people feel wealthy, green trucks are hardly ever stolen. But that’s still not incentive enough for me to go out and buy a truck the color of split pea soup with orchid trim.

Lee Pitts

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