Two-tone cars date back to the very early days when coachbuilders hand-crafted a beautiful horseless carriage on a chassis fitted with the new internal combustion engine. Fine lacquer panels were contrasted with polished wood or treated leather to create art on wheels, a finely woven contrast of colour and texture that reflected the opulence and conspicuous cost of these mobile works of art. Cars were built like royal coaches and cost about the same. They were for the rich.
Then Henry Ford created mass production and the car became affordable to the masses. Cheap meant it had to be built fast, but early paints took hours or days to dry. Of these paints, black dried the fastest, hence “any colour as long as it is black”. Ja-well-no-fine, black worked until the roaring twenties when new dances, cocktails and shorter dresses hit America and suddenly everybody had money and wanted some bling to go with all that. New faster-drying paints allowed mass production of two-tone cars to go with the new white-wall tyres.
Two-tone came and went with fashion, but it remained a feature in some of the more desirable cars, the Rolls, Cadillacs and Corvettes. Normal everyday cars were monotone with some chrome to help set the tone.
Then Nissan did the cat and pigeons thing in 2010 with their off-the-wall JUKE, a sub-compact crossover with goggle eyes and some serious attitude. People loved or hated it, but there was enough love to make the JUKE a best-seller year after year. In 2019 the second generation JUKE joined us. It was still wild at heart, but more refined, speaking softer until you heard what it said. You did not buy a JUKE because you wanted to blend in. A JUKE was a statement, but it needed one more element to make the statement meaningful.
So Nissan created the custom two-tone option, around 11 body colours and three roof options, depending on the country you buy-in. You can paint any car in two colours, or go full Nissan on it. The colours on the JUKE are engineered on it. There is a combination of hand-painting and millimetric computer-guided precision application to each car. Each custom JUKE is painted in one of four new paint bays in Nissan’s €111-million JUKE factory in Sunderland in Britain.
Although two-tone is not really a black and white thing, unsurprisingly a pearl white body with a black roof is the favourite among the JUKEing masses. However, there is a Fuji Sunset Red with a white roof that may fit very well in my carport.
The first generation JUKE is no longer sold in South Africa, while we wait for (hopefully) the new JUKE to arrive here. When it gets here, if it gets here, perhaps in its full two-tone glory, you will find it in the full range of Nissan vehicles available to you.