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Warning on Race Red color

Mountain Goat

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Hello, I wanted to share a personal ownership story of a Race Red vehicle by Ford, admittedly nothing like a Bronco. This was my 2014 Ford Focus, which I bought off the dealer's lot 6 years ago. It is no longer in my possession, by virtue of family vehicle needs changing, but let me give the caveat that under almost all circumstances, I love red cars. However with the Bronco at least, I have not yet been able to convince myself to even consider Race Red as an option. All of this will depend upon your actual usage of the Bronco, but my guess is that most of us, despite being adventurous types, will try to keep our new $40k-$60k trucks in fairly pristine condition for at least the first few years.

When I bought the Focus, I had three requirements: hatchback (for the dog), manual transmission, and bright red. At least two of those three same factors play into my selection of the Bronco based on current needs, but probably not the red.

What I loved about the race red on the Focus: quite possibly the most intense red I've seen. It was so bright that in direct sunlight on a bright day it was almost almost orange-red, like looking at the flames of a campfire. It was so red that digital camera sensors would often trip out and render the car in a way that didn't really reflect what you see in person, unless I was very careful in taking the photos (FYI, the photos here are pretty accurate, but I had a few that turned out really funky over the years).

One thing I disliked with Race Red was that the paint layer was very thin and prone to chipping. This was a commuter vehicle seeing 15,000 highway miles per year, but being a car nut I like to keep even my commuters in pristine condition. This meant that at least twice a year, I had to go over a dozen plus random rock chips all over the whole front end of the car with touchup paint, build up a few layers, and then cut down the the little paint bumps with a DA buffer/polisher. Thankfully at the time, one of my nearby body shops affiliated with the Ford dealer offered this buffing/polishing service for free to people who had bought their vehicles new from that dealer, so I rarely had to do that part myself, but it was still a maintenance chore that has not really proved to be the case on other newer vehicles I've owned (BMW, VW, Nissan). This will be a small thing for many of you, but one reason these paint chips were so obnoxious to me is that Ford used a light gray primer, so they were very visible against the red. I'm sorry, I don't have photos of the rock chips, but it still bears mentioning here as a consideration. Hopefully Ford will provide a thicker application of paint on the Bronco than they did on the Focus, but if not, then for me at least that is one strike against the Race Red.

The other thing I disliked, is when I was once rear ended in traffic, the color proved IMPOSSIBLE to match. I had the car fixed at a very reputable shop, and they had to remix and repaint the bumper three times to get it even close to the color the eye sees on the original. It wasn't just a question of spraying on metal vs plastic, because the front bumper (which Ford painted) was a perfect match to the steel on the rest of the car. The photos included here are after the 3rd attempt, when I finally gave up on an actual color match, but for the rest of my ownership of the vehicle, the rear bumper always looked a little pink compared to the rest of the vehicle. Note, part of this is biology - the eyes are extraordinarily sensitive to variations of red, whereas other colors are not as easy to discern.

I know I'm not going to convince anyone who likes red cars not to like them, and that really isn't my point. I just want to put this information out there so if you are considering that option, you weigh the experience I've had with the exact same color (at least nominally) on another vehicle. I would also be very curious to know if anyone who has owned a Race Red F150 or any of the other vehicles Ford has offered in that color in recent years has had a similar or different experience. If the Focus was an anomaly and people have had better luck with other vehicles, then maybe I should add red back to the shopping list. I certainly hope Ford

Currently I am leaning more toward the more muted colors (Cactus/Area 51) as I think rock chips will not really show up much in that paint assuming Ford still uses the same baked-on light gray primer that I could see whenever the Focus got a rock chip.

I think the single stage paint made the touch-up work on rock chips easier, but the red made the color match almost impossible.

Thanks for listening to my ted talk.


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Mopar2Bronco2021

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Yea I noticed Ford paint for the most part is terrible. Black, white and that red specifically. I’ll be going either carbonized gray or Area 51 for that reason
 

WildTrak

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Thanks for sharing your experience. I would like to believe that in 7 model years, they have lessons learned they are applying.

That being said. I am buying a Bronco to use it like it was intended. Rock chips, etc. are part of the deal.

Overlanding lifestyle here I come.
 
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Squatch

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I had a 2011 Mustang GT convertible in Race Red and the only problem I had was the cops. I had a minivan swerve violently cutting me off at 90+ mph or whatever he wrote my ticket for, but he barely looked up to see me brake (due to crazy minivan) and said I hit the brakes because I saw him. I had the cruise set at 10 over.

I had some idiot with limo tent back up into me as I was honking after she backed up towards me once (trying an insurance scam). The paint was done perfectly by a shop that does high end cars.
 
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Mountain Goat

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Thanks for sharing your experience. I would like to believe that in 7 model years, they have lessons learned they are applying.

That being said. I am buying a Bronco to use it like it was intended. Rock chips, etc. are part of the deal.

Outlander lifestyle here I come.
I hope you are right, would be great if someone with a newer Race Red vehicle vs. my 2014 could chime in.

I don't see myself going over my Bronco with detail paint and a DA polisher any time soon. Probably an annual wax to keep the paint fresh and an occasional front-yard hose bath is all the TLC the exterior will get. That said, I'm leaning toward selecting a color that will hide rock chips and scratches a little better though, so I can use it as intended without having to cringe quite as much.

I had a used Land Rover Discovery many years ago and I got over the squeamishness over trail damage with that vehicle too, but that's much easier to do with a used vehicle! So it just may be a few years before I can bring myself to actually push the limits of how the Bronco is intended to be used, considering it will be my most expensive vehicle purchase to date by a fair margin.
 
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Mountain Goat

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Mountain Goat

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Yea I noticed Ford paint for the most part is terrible. Black, white and that red specifically. I’ll be going either carbonized gray or Area 51 for that reason
Now that you mention it, the white paint on my 1997 F250 was challenged, relative to other Ford truck of the same vintage. You may be onto something! Shame, a white ford bronco would be a nice throwback. (not in my top 3 currently)
 

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I will be getting the rapid red due to orange not being available on the base trim. Race red is not a consideration. My 14 fusion has a similar Ruby red & I still get compliments on my 6 year old car!
 
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Mountain Goat

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I had a 2011 Mustang GT convertible in Race Red and the only problem I had was the cops. I had a minivan swerve violently cutting me off at 90+ mph or whatever he wrote my ticket for, but he barely looked up to see me brake (due to crazy minivan) and said I hit the brakes because I saw him. I had the cruise set at 10 over.

I had some idiot with limo tent back up into me as I was honking after she backed up towards me once (trying an insurance scam). The paint was done perfectly by a shop that does high end cars.
Never hit the brakes. Always hit the minivan.
 
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Mountain Goat

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Funkdoobiest

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Imo silver hides dirt and defects the best. Needs the least amount of TLC to look good. I also think that metallic colors seem to be the best finish. That being said, metallics are also the hardest to repair. I'm personally leaning toward rapid red or velocity blue until I see the cactus and area 51 in person.
 

FeistyMint

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Red pigments fade much faster than other colors and require a lot more attention to maintain the true color (i.e. wax, polish, UV protection, etc.)
 

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