Say you want to buy a car, a really nice desirable car that you want to show off to other people - what is the main decision you have to make, apart from which model to buy?

To me, it has to be which colour to choose from the multitude of metallic and pearlescent hues on offer in the manufacturer’s brochure.

This colour should not only say something about you as the owner, it should also show off the curves and lines of the car’s design to their best effect.  The colour is also important for the future as it could have a beneficial or detremental effect on the future value of the car when it comes time to hand it in and purchase a new one.

So what is the best colour to pick?  Well, there are so many choices it’s not possible to pick one which is most sensible for all cars.  At the moment silver is a popular choice and most cars look good in silver, but then red and blues are also very popular.  Sometimes it’s good to have a popular colour as it’s less likely to have gone out of fashion by the time it comes to sell the car, but at other times if someone has a choice of ten second hand silver cars or one in a more fashionable colour they may be willing to pay a bit more for the one that looks a little different.

On the other hand, buying something in lime green with the hope it will be in vogue when you come to sell in three years is a bit of a gamble.

Some manufacturers have a set palette of colours which they merrily spray onto all the cars they sell, which can make it harder or easier to choose one you like depending on your viewpoint.  Personally, I prefer it when a company brings out a colour unique to the model I’m interested in - firstly this will make the car a little more unique and hopefully stop the colour from becoming so common that it loses the “wow factor” when you see it, and secondly because a paint designed specifically for that model is more likely to compliment it’s curves.

If, for example, Audi release a new car and add a particular shade of blue exclusively to that model I would give it serious consideration - they have been working on developing the car for a couple of years prior to launch so if anyone knows what colours suit it best then it will be them after all.

Another good indication of what colour to choose it to look at the brochure for the car.  This is the manufacturer’s main “shop window” to get you hooked on the car and ultimately purchase one so they are bound to want to show it off to it’s maximum potential in the photographs.  Therefore I think it’s obvious that if there is one colour featuring predominately in the pictures then that’s the one the car’s designers think suits it best - and again it should be given serious consideration.

The downside to this is that obviously you won’t be alone in thinking this, so you could end up driving a car in a colour which looks good initially, but loses it’s spark as every second car you meet looks exactly the same as your’s.  This happened a lot with the Audi TT, it looks best in silver and all the advertising featured a silver car, so ultimately everyone wanted one in silver.  They still look good, but after seeing the first few the wow factor had gone.

Online car configurators are a great help in allowing you to see what a car in a particular colour and specification will look like.  In the past you were only allowed a small sample of the colour you thought you liked, and while it may have looked good on a two inch square by the time the paint was all over a car it perhaps wasn’t so nice.

Most manufacturers now let you build a virtual car on their websites.  The first new car I bought was a new MINI and I spent ages on the configurator trying to get things just right.  I was stretching the budget already by plumping for a MINI so I couldn’t afford many options, so all my effort was going into getting the interior and exterior just how I liked them.  The MINI is renowned for being the most customisable new car on the road today and they boast how unlikely it is to see another car exactly the same as your’s on the road - so imagine how peeved I was when I collected my car only to find out that someone else from my town had also collected one that day in the same Chilli Red with black roof and black interior.  I was gutted!

It didn’t make my car any the worse, but it did take the shine off the whole experience at first.  Now I’ve moved on from the MINI, I still smile when I see one in that colour combination as it’s my favourite colour mix so far.

The MINI was a £12,000 car and to see another one the same was a bit of a downer but imagine if it had been £50,000 I’d spent only to see another the same?  Well, the instigator for this post was actually a trip to Glasgow on Saturday - during that day I saw three brand new BMW M3s and all of them were in Alpine White.

Normally I would think this an unusual and rare colour, but then it is the colour that BMW have used to advertise the model…