For years theories have spread as to why Chrysler launched their optional “high impact” colors in 1969. Could it have been a booming economy allowing the production of frivolous extras? Society’s newfound desire for individuality? Or maybe it’s just as simple as too much ditch weed and brown acid? Whatever the case, it’s unique features like these that have always made Chrysler stand out and generations of Mopar-nuts are thankful. In the wake of Chrysler’s fresh new look, competitors like Ford and GM tried keeping up by introducing their own bold colors like Grabber Green or Hugger Orange, but their superficial attempts weren’t comparable to Chrysler’s distinctive new shades.
These side by side color charts from the year 1970 prove that Chrysler led the charge in the high profile paint options that distinguished the muscle car generation.
Aside from offering a much more colorful palette than GM (on the left) or Ford (on the right), Chrysler’s colors could also be placed on ANY model, unlike their competition who limited their exciting colors to performance models only. Ordering a new Mopar in one of these showy new shades not only kept buyers happy, but kept their wallets happy too as it only set them back an extra $15 bucks! Chrysler’s High Impact colors were available from 1969 to 1973 and included ten lively new pigments. Let’s take a look at each individual color and what makes them essential to Chrysler’s heritage.
FC7 Plum Crazy
Regal, royal and totally indiscreet! Dodge’s new ‘Plum Crazy’ (or “In-Violet” for Plymouth and Chrysler) is the only real shade of purple you’ll see on a factory car, and quickly provoked a cult-like following that intensifies with every passing year. The color was available from 1970-1971 and even made a return to Dodge’s lineup as part of their “heritage collection”.
EV2 HEMI Orange
HEMI Orange, or Tor Red for Plymouth, is the center of a spirited debate. Is it orange? Is it red? The answer is both, the illusive color gives off orange hues in bright lighting and a reddish tone in darker lightning resulting in the confusing difference in names. In 2009 the names “HEMI Orange” and “Tor-Red” returned in Chrysler’s line-up but as two separate colors further fueling the orange versus red debacle. It’s unknown whether the separation of Tor-Red and Hemi Orange was a conscious decision or simply an oversight on Chrysler’s part. Originally available from 1969 to 1972, both names have made on and off comebacks in the Chrysler lineup.
FJ6 Sassy Grass￼
Making it’s debut in 1970 and sticking around until ’71, Sassy Grass green (or Green Go) was almost as flashy as it’s controversial name. One of Mopar’s many childish (but hilarious) double entendres that defined the brand as the counter-culture choice.
Glowing like a toxic goo, this one year only (1970) color FJ5 Sublime green (or “limelight”) is often mistaken with the deeper FJ6 Sassy Grass but side by side view shows Sublime’s unmistakable luminous gleam. A popular choice for performance models, Sublime has made a successful return to the Modern Mopar and was even offered on Ram pickup trucks.
EK2 Go ManGo
Available in 1969 and 1970, Go Mango (or Vitamin C) challenged the competition and dared other manufacturers to release their own bold blends of orange (your welcome Grabber and Hugger Orange). Go Mango returned in 2006 on a limited production run of Charger RT Daytonas and Challenger RTs, and is still currently available on performance models.
The semi obscure EL5 Butterscotch (also known as Bahama Yellow) presented a tamer side of Chrysler’s new color lineup while still catching the eye of consumers. Appearing docile next to the wilder side of the color chart, Butterscotch offered the perfect amount of pizzazz for economical cars and performance models alike.
FM3 Panther Pink
￼By far the most audacious color to ever be sprayed on a car right from factory, only the boldest and baddest Mopars could dare rock Panther Pink/Moulin Rouge (also nicknamed “Penta-Magenta” by a misprint in a touch-up paint brochure). That goes
for the drivers as well, it takes a lot of guts for a dude to be seen driving around in such an effeminate color. As a result many real FM3 cars shamefully received haphazard rattle-canned paint jobs by their second hand owners to cover their blushing beauty.
Boys aside, what little girl didn’t grow up fantasizing over a hot pink ‘Cuda? (or was that just me?) Chrysler’s newest flushed addition had Dodge girls tickled pink, and blew the doors of those Pepto Bismol Mary Kay Caddy’s.
EF6 Bright Green
Arguably the rarest of all high impact colors, Bright Green (or Spring Green) was only available for a limited run in the spring of 1969.
Even at the most prestigious of auto events you’ll be hard pressed to find an original, real deal Spring Green car.
FY1 Top Banana/Lemon Twist
￼The longest enduring of the High Impact colors, Dodge’s new “Top Banana” (or “Lemon Twist”) made it’s stunning introduction in 1970 and endured all the way until 1973 at the final phase out of the muscle car era. The color was massively produced (by Chrysler’s standards) and quickly became popular choice for high end performance models, utility vehicles, economy cars, and everything in between! Though Chrysler recently introduced a similar shade of yellow on their modern model’s the name Top Banana, (unfortunately) did not make the cut and was replaced by the name “Yellow Jacket”.
GY3 Citron Yella/Curious Yellow
No, it’s not Lemon Twist! No, it’s not Sublime! No, you are not tripping! (I hope) This thrilling one year only (1971) flip-flop color plays mind games even worse than HEMI Orange/Tor-Red. In bright light GY3 is looks to be a bright bold yellow, while in darker lights it is more comparable to a lime green. Typical of Chrysler colors, “Curious Yellow” was the center of controversy upon it’s debut after it was theorized the color was named after a taboo, sexually charged Swedish film: “I Am Curious (Yellow)” that had been recently banned from theaters across the nation.
As quick and mysteriously as they came, Chrysler’s high impact colors were phased out over a short period of time and finally came to a complete halt in 1973. While it’s fun to reminisce over the glory days it’s also important to remember that Dodge is reigniting the horsepower wars, and with the return of these muscle car models we also see the return of many of the original High Impact colors. Returning colors include Sublime, Plum Crazy, HEMI Orange, and Go Mango. What color do you want to see Chrysler bring back next?
Though Mopar’s designers hide many jokes and innuendos in their paint names they just couldn’t get away with them all. Here is some of the suggestions Chrysler rejected.
– Catch Me Copper
– Unforeseeable Fuchia
– Statutory Grape
– Gang Green
– Hi-Ho Silver
– Well Red
– Cost of Living Rose
– Fisher Body Rust
– Frank Lloyd White