Classic Car Paint Colors

by Chris Newton

Classic cars are artifacts from another era. While a car's age requirements to be considered "classic" vary, the Classic Car Club of America states that classic cars are those built between 1925 and 1948. Cars built prior to 1925 are antique cars. If you have been restoring a classic car and are looking for a new paint color to finish it, you have several options.


Black is a common classic car color. Henry Ford famously wrote in his biography about the original Model T car, "Any customer can have a car painted any color that he wants so long as it is black." Black was said to dry faster than any other color, so Ford could produce more cars faster if they were all black. The first Model Ts were not black, but once black was introduced into the factory, the company produced only black cars until 1925. However, black remained a popular color throughout the classic car era.

Brown and Tan

Like black, many classic cars sported brown and tan shades. The colors were cheaper than flashier colors and did not show as much dirt. Tan and other lighter shades of brown were common, as the lighter shades gave people an alternative to the darker black and brown colors. Restored classic cars are often repainted with a brown or tan look, as that color gives a more vintage appearance compared with the bright paint colors of the 2000s.

Brewster Green

Brewster Green is a darker forest green color that was popular during the classic era. Some of the first Model T cars were Brewster Green until Ford began making the cars only in black. Once Ford reintroduced more color options, he included Brewster Green as an option. It was a desirable alternative to black, as some people did not want a vehicle that looked just like everyone else's car. At night, the color looks almost black, but it is clearly a green shade in the daylight. Brewster Green was used later on roadster cars like Jaguars and Alfa Romeros.

About the Author

Chris Newton has worked as a professional writer since 2001. He spent two years writing software specifications then spent three years as a technical writer for Microsoft before turning to copywriting for software and e-commerce companies. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and creative writing from the University of Colorado.

Photo Credits

  • photo_camera classic car headlights image by MAXFX from