Is Yellow The New Burgundy?

1937 Special Racer

Starting a couple years ago, it seems like Yellow as a color was reintroduced to us all on a cool Rocket. Now as time has marched on,  we see a trend of yellow. now color is a fashion thing. There are colors of the year, even colors of the season. lets not even get to into personal colors which is also a thing. For this story, lets just focus on the this seasons colors. Yellow, Green and red.

LemonHead was a bold jump into Yellow World! Great move mark

Yellow Blonde Katzs Marina – They love yellow there

Yellow Sunset! Mark Setterholm went for it with LemonHead


Plaidtastic has a stock yellow Bottom and yellow lined plaid interior from the factory – Katzs marina

Yellow and green – Katzs marina

Sex Panther Yellow from the 70’s

Several years ago it was the combination of Turqiose and blond wood, and before that Aquamarine and other pre war colors, Burgundy/wine, dark green and dark blue.

1957 Lone Star Meteor

now what is interesting about yellow is that its a love hate color, and there are so many variations of yellow, you can tell the decade they were popular in just by the shade. And that makes picking the right Yellow even that more important.

1958 Cavalier Yellow

For example, painting Buttercup requirs research into what a late 1950’s yellow would have been. Soft and pastel. Vs a 1960’s more vibrant joyful Yellow, or a 1970’s yellow which is like a sayglow yellow. !930’s and 1940’s yellows are more orange. or cream.

Buttercup will be a Lemondrop yellow

Color is a funny thing, its honest and the exact right shade tells the truth. Even though its subjective by nature, when it comes to history and preservation, it has to be exact.

Yellow bottoms on Aristo-Crafts with green windshield

David Konick Biggest balls winner and his trusty soft yellow Sea Skiff

One of our faves at the show – Mellow Yellow, Owned by Mike LeCompte Carona Ca! 1958 Thompson 17 Sealancer!

Yellow plaid Interior – Eric Frazier Photo

Yellow Valentine Card

The Sting – Yellow Donzi fun

Yellow on yellow at katzs marina -The king of rockets

LOVE LOVE LOVE this Rocket. This is the boat that started my love of Yellow. Also amazing type on the back’

Are you feeling the yellow Today? Post away in the comment section so when someone does a search on Yellow Classic Boats they can see them all in one place!


26 replies
  1. Capt. Cranky
    Capt. Cranky says:

    Where we are the rental pontoon boats are painted bright yellow so you can readily identify them as well as their generally witless skipper – and steer well clear so I hope yellow doesn’t become too popular…it would be too confusing!

  2. Greg Wallace
    Greg Wallace says:

    Pretty sure yellow pre-war race boat was marketing “whimsy”. I don’t believe they ever made one. Good example of why should never trust colorized (B&W) photography in restoration decisions without some collaboration.

    • Matt
      Matt says:

      I would love to find one. its cool and unusual. I wonder if there is a way to find out if one or several were ever made. Chances are it was repainted over.

      • Greg Wallace
        Greg Wallace says:

        Photos originally black and white then colorized could be purple and pink if they wanted. Hull cards tell the tale.

        • KW
          KW says:

          Having restored one and built copies we did a some research and most were painted school colors; the one pictured is U of M Michigan colors.

  3. Sean
    Sean says:

    Up here at ACBS Toronto we were ahead of the fashion curve and rocked the yellow a couple years back at out Greavette themed show !

  4. Lee Wangstad
    Lee Wangstad says:

    If you really want to get farther into it, you might want to try a study on Howard Ketcham, Color Engineer. He was hired as a color consultant by numerous boat manufacturers in the late 50’s and throughout the sixties. He had been consulting in almost every industry to make products appeal to consumers, from telephones (once they got off the black thing and consumers were demanding more), to automobiles, and of course, boats, and everything in between. Colors were also reviewed by industrial designers, like Raymond Loewy Associates doing the color selections for Dorsett Marine. It was kind of a fifties thing, when colors became more vivid, gave more selection, and appealed to a broader range of consumers. Anyway, it goes a lot deeper than most people think. An interesting tangent on the marine market at mid-century.

    • Matt
      Matt says:

      HOLY CRAP, I LOVE THIS. Now I am reading up on Howard Ketcham. This stuff is what life is about for me! The right color can define so much like a correct note on an instrument

  5. Doug in Maine
    Doug in Maine says:

    I have an early 50’s plywood Doodlebug I’m fixing up. It was painted like a red Donzi 16 and it was known on our lake as “The little Donzi”. I wanted to do something differant and Matt, you just helped me make the decision! Bright yellow with back accents and a battleship gray cockpit. Hopefully it will be ready for next season.

  6. Rabbit
    Rabbit says:

    Besides owning Lemonhead, Mark Setterholm has a very impressive head of hair. Coukd I borrow some!

  7. Johnny V.
    Johnny V. says:

    The Century Ski Dart came stock in yellow also. I have memories of one at our show quite a few years ago.

  8. Ollon
    Ollon says:

    I cant believe I got to the end of the comments without a Yellow Bikini shot from Troy. Hope he’s OK.

  9. ScottK
    ScottK says:

    Late to the party…as usual.
    I’m a little biased, I like the yellow on my truck……not so crazy about the new camouflage clear paint job on the boat though 🙂

  10. ShannonK
    ShannonK says:

    The Knights are late to the party but yellow is near and dear to our hearts. This is my Dad’s first car. 1970 Beetle. Stock in every way. He still owns and drives it. I learned to drive stick on this car. It is parked in front of Scott’s 1956 Ford F-100 which was built by his uncle. You are making us think our XK might need to go yellow…

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