Best pink cars ever: our top 8 Barbie mobiles of all time
Pink looks good on Barbie, but it doesn’t always work on cars. Which models come up rosy – and which don’t?
2023 was the year when pink took over the world, thanks to the incredible success of the Barbie movie. Warner Bros’ highest-grossing film ever struck a chord with billions of people as a joyous celebration of female empowerment. But in the motor industry, polarising pink is often treated with suspicion – with good reason. Here are eight cars that went pink with decidedly mixed results.
Imagine, for a moment, that ITV’s legendary game show Family Fortunes had asked 100 people to name a pink production car. It’s a fair bet the Fiat 500 would feature highly in the answers, given how fastidiously the Italian brand has launched a string of special editions and personalisation options since the model’s 2007 launch.
In many respects the 500 has transcended motoring to become a fashion accessory, aided by models such as the 2010 500 Pink and 500C Pink, which Fiat hailed as “must-have” purchases. The company clearly knew it was on to a good thing, having produced a 500 Barbie show car to mark the doll’s 50th anniversary back in 2009.
Mansory Vitesse Rosé
For the uninitiated, Mansory is a German company that apparently specialises in the modification of luxury cars, “resisting convention” while delivering “master craftsmanship”. Hmmm… In 2009 it turned a Bentley Continental GT Speed into the Mansory Vitesse Rosé in conjunction with a brand of cosmetic surgery that even Michael Jackson may have considered too extreme.
The exterior is divisive enough, but the interior is an assault on the senses, with Bentley’s usual understated opulence eschewed for a vivid blend of leather and carbon fibre in various shades of pink – sorry, rosé – and purple. Only three Vitesse Rosé models were ever made…
The enthusiasm that greeted the rebirth of the Beetle in 1997 had dipped by the time the second generation of the new Bug appeared in 2011, and interest in the car continued to wane throughout its lifespan. This prompted VW to embrace what, in hindsight, might be considered increasingly desperate measures, including the launch of a Fresh Fuchsia Metallic model in North America in 2017.
Billed as the first vehicle ever to be “named as its own hashtag”, the limited edition was officially labelled by VW as the #PinkBeetle. However, no amount of marketing spin could alter the fact that the Beetle had #outstayeditswelcome, and the axe fell for good in 2019.
It would be easy to question where this model fits into Rolls-Royce’s commitment to delivering an “everlasting expression of the exceptional”. But let’s rise above any sneering, and acknowledge that the 2013 extended-wheelbase Ghost, inspired by FAB1, Lady Penelope’s car from TV’s Thunderbirds, was created for an undeniably worthy purpose, to raise money for Breast Cancer Care.
Highlights included pink-accented umbrellas and hand-embroidered headrests featuring the charity’s pink-ribbon logo. While you can be forgiven if you’re sceptical of its aesthetic appeal, rapper Nicki Minaj for one was suitably inspired; she showcased a pink Cullinan of her own on social media last year.
Nissan Micra C+C
At the other end of the price spectrum from the Ghost, but similarly motivated to raise funds to battle breast cancer, was this extrovert version of Nissan’s diminutive convertible. After a one-off model had toured the UK in 2005, the Japanese company launched a limited-edition version in March 2006, with the media of the time noting that it was designed for “fun-loving motorists wanting to add a bit of colour to their lives”.
As in Barbie, Nissan embraced the gender stereotyping that comes with pink, claiming that the car would be “rarer than a Chloé Paddington handbag”. Girl power!
Porsche 718 Cayman
Bet you’ve dreamed of owning a Porsche at some point. But would it be this one? The 718 Cayman Style Edition was driven by Auto Express earlier this year, with our chief reviewer Alex Ingram describing – in commendably restrained fashion – the colour palette as “lively”.
Porsche seems to have gone out of its way to avoid using the ‘P’ word by calling the shade Ruby Star Neo – which sounds more ‘adult entertainer’ than ‘paintjob’ to us – but let’s call a spade a spade. It is a deep, dark pink that, as Alex noted, turns heads everywhere. Mercifully, we can report that the exhilarating drive we have come to associate with the Cayman remains unaffected.
Last year’s extraordinary version of the Grecale was an official Barbie tie-up, no less – and it now looks like a hugely impressive piece of strategic marketing, given how Barbiecore has exploded in 2023. Created by Maserati’s Fuoriserie customisation programme, the one-off was offered in US luxury retailer Neiman Marcus’ Fantasy Gifts Christmas catalogue for $330,000 (£268,000).
To be fair, part of that sum did go to charity, plus the Grecale had the muscle to back up its unrepentant looks, because it was essentially a Trofeo version featuring the 523bhp twin-turbo V6 Nettuno engine. With wild acid-yellow detailing complementing the ultra-pink finish, this was a Mazza that was safest to view with shades on.
And here’s one that we think really works. Introduced in the US in 2021 on the Wrangler, Jeep’s indestructible go-anywhere icon, this bold Tuscadero Pink shade was designed to make the 4x4 stand out both on and off road. The original intention was to offer the dazzling hue for a limited time only, but overwhelming demand led to more than 30,000 orders in a matter of months, making it the brand’s most popular feature colour ever. As such, availability was extended into 2022 to allow even more owners to light up America’s most remote outposts.
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