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What car has every panel a different color?

Cars with every body panel a different color are rare and unusual. While most cars stick to a uniform color scheme, some creative owners and manufacturers have experimented with multicolored designs. Vehicles with each panel painted a different hue are known as “Rainbow Cars.” This article will explore the history of rainbow cars, some famous examples, and the practical and legal considerations of driving one.

History of Rainbow Cars

Painting cars in multicolored schemes emerged in the 1920s as automobiles became more prevalent and owners looked for ways to personalize their vehicles. Early rainbow cars were often hand-painted by their owners using brushes and basic paint. This resulted in haphazard, amateurish paint jobs, but allowed creative drivers to make their cars stand out.

As automotive paint technology improved in the 1950s and 60s, more professional multi-hued designs emerged. Customizers and hot rod builders applied custom paint jobs using advanced techniques like candy coats and metal flakes. Pinstriping and airbrushing further allowed color experimentation. The hippie movement and counterculture of the 1960s also spurred psychedelic rainbow car designs.

Famous Examples

Some of the most famous rainbow cars include:

1929 Ford Model A Known as the “Rainbow Roadster,” this early rainbow car by artist Clem Jensen had each panel hand-painted a different bright color.
1950s Custom Cars Custom painters like Dean Jeffries applied rainbow paint jobs to hot rods and custom cars using pearlescent, metalflake, and fade paint techniques.
VW Beetles The iconic hippie car of choice often sported DIY rainbow paint work, especially during the 1960s and 70s.
Toyota Echo To promote the launch of the Toyota Echo in 2000, Toyota painted the car’s panels in a rainbow gradient from red to violet.
Nissan Juke In 2011, Nissan sold a limited “Color Studio” edition of the Juke SUV with rainbow paint work coordinated by designer Simon Taylor.
BMW Art Cars BMW has painted a series of “Art Cars” with colorful designs by famous artists like Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein since the 1970s.

These iconic rainbow cars demonstrate the enduring popularity of multicolored paint jobs for making a bold automotive style statement.

Legal and Practical Considerations

While creatively painted rainbow cars are eye-catching, there are some legal and practical factors to consider:

Legal Status

– Laws regarding custom paint jobs vary by state. Some places restrict colors, while others require specialized registration.

– In some states, a rainbow paint job could be considered an illegal “distraction” for other drivers.

– Local regulations may prohibit certain colors or paint types on roads.

Maintenance and Upkeep

– Multicolored paint jobs require extensive masking and special techniques, making repairs and touch-ups more complex.

– Since panels age differently, the colors may fade at uneven rates over time.

– Rainbow paint schemes can make it harder to spot scrapes/damage leading to rust or other issues.

– Driving conditions like mud and debris show more obviously, requiring frequent cleaning.

Resale Value

– Vivid rainbow paint often limits resale value of the vehicle. Most buyers want more subdued colors.

– Custom paint work can actually detract value for non-enthusiast new owners.

– Significant effort may be needed to repaint the car into a conventional color scheme.

Modern Rainbow Cars

While rainbow cars are less common today than during their 1960s/1970s heyday, vibrant multicolored paint jobs still turn heads when done well. Here are some modern examples:

Custom Show Cars At shows like SEMA, many customs feature eye-popping rainbow paint, like Booger cyclones rat rod.
Itasha Cars “Itasha” cars colorful anime graphics popular in Japan sometimes use rainbow schemes.
Wrapped Cars Digitally printed vinyl wraps allow rainbow colors without paint, like @JustRolledintotheShop’s Mustang wrap.
DIY Projects Some creative drivers attempt custom rainbow paint jobs at home, documenting on YouTube and forums.

Thanks to better technology and access, rainbow car projects remain an outlet for individual expression.

Notable Rainbow Car Techniques

Several specialized paint techniques help create visually striking rainbow cars:

Fade Painting

– Seamlessly transition colors from panel to panel.

– Requires expert masking skills and very gradual color shifts.

– Gives a dynamic, flowing rainbow look.

Candy Paints

– Translucent, polychromatic paints that shift color depending on lighting and angle.

– Created by layering colored paints over a reflective basecoat.

– Allows different panels to look wildly different in changing conditions.

Pearlescent Paint

– Contains iridescent particles that create a multi-hued shimmer.

– Traditionally uses a grey basecoat to let colors pop.

– Gives a deep, dimensional rainbow effect.

Metalflake Paint

– Tiny aluminum flakes reflect light in sparkling manner.

– Can be combined with candy and pearlescent techniques.

– Provides a glittery, kaleidoscopic rainbow finish.

These approaches require skill and practice but can result in visually stunning rainbow paint jobs.


While not common on everyday cars, rainbow paint schemes make a bold stylistic statement and allow drivers to express their creativity and individuality. Since their emergence nearly a century ago, rainbow cars have demonstrated peoples’ desire to make their vehicles as colorful and vibrant as possible. With modern paint technology and WRAPPING techniques, we’re likely to see even more rainbow-hued autos hit the roads in the future. Though impractical at times, they provide an outlet for imagination that breaks from convention – something always needed in the automotive world.