1983 No. 3 Piedmont Chevy Monte Carlo - Ricky Rudd
Most NASCAR fans would probably be quicker to recognize the No. 44 Piedmont car that Terry Labonte drove to a Winston Cup Championship in 1984, which was an awesome looking car in its own right. But the 1983 edition that Ricky Rudd drove to victory at Riverside and Martinsville looks even better. In fact, it is one of the coolest paint schemes to ever make its way on to a race track. So cool, that it was brought back to life for the 2016 Bojangles 500 at Darlington.
1988 No. 12 Miller High Life Buick Regal - Bobby Allison
Even if you weren’t a fan of “The Champagne of Beers” in the late 1980s, there is a good chance that you still loved this paint scheme. It is widely considered to be the best of that decade, and certainly one of the coolest to ever hit the track. The only bad thing about this paint scheme is that it appeared on the car that almost took the life of legendary racer Bobby Allison at Pocono, ending his racing career.
1969 No. 22 Golden Products Dodge Daytona - Dick Brooks
Not only is this one of coolest paint schemes in NASCAR history, it is also one of the coolest cars to ever make its way into NASCAR. The 1969/’70 Dodge Daytona and its twin counterpart, the Plymouth Superbird, were developed to beat the Ford Torino which had become NASCAR’s top manufacturer prior to the 1969 season. The Daytona and the Superbird sported an aerodynamic sloped front and an oversized wing which created extreme downforce, making them lightning fast. So fast, in fact, that NASCAR had to ban them from use in 1971 due to their dominance over the rest of the competition.
2004 No. 32 Tide Chevy Monte Carlo - Ricky Craven
I’m not one to give in to advertisements very often, but the iconic “Tide Ride” is a big reason why I refuse to use any other washing detergent to this day. It was never difficult to spot on the track, and in my opinion, its prominent day glow orange was always pleasing to the eye. Several legendary drivers have proudly worn the Tide badging on their race cars over the years, but to me, the 2004 version is still the most eye fetching. Sorry DW.
1997 Texaco-Havoline Ford Thunderbird - Ernie Irvan
Just to be clear, this amazing paint scheme was actually made famous by the late great Davey Allison. This particular photo depicts the 10th Anniversary edition of the Havoline Ford that was driven by Ernie Irvan in 1997. Both versions were awesome, as were both drivers, but this scheme looks slightly better on the later body style Thunderbird. Either way, you can’t go wrong.
2015 NO. 43 STP Ford Fusion - Aric Almirola
You can’t have a list of the greatest NASCAR paint schemes without including some version of the legendary No.43 car. Earnhardt’s black No. 3 aside, there isn’t a more recognizable race car in the history of the sport than one featuring STP and Petty blue. This paint scheme looked phenomenal gracing “The King’s” 1972 Dodge Charger, and it looks even better on the 2015 Ford Fusion owned by Richard Petty and driven by Aric Almirola.
1995 NO. 3 Goodwrench "Silver Select" Chevy Monte Carlo - Dale Earnhardt
The legendary black No. 3 Goodwrench car piloted by the late great Dale Earnhardt will always represent “The Intimidator's” most iconic paint scheme, but this silver variation introduced at the 1995 Winston Select All-Star Race was his coolest in my opinion. Earnhardt didn’t win that race, but no one has ever looked better rolling across the finish line in 6th place. This paint scheme is also credited with pioneering the “special editon paint scheme craze” that soon followed and still exists in NASCAR today.
1992 No. 6 Valvoline Ford Thunderbird - Mark Martin
Many drivers and race cars have adorned the famous Valvoline logo and colorways over the years, but Mark Martin’s 1992 Thunderbird easily looked the best doing it. The car performed almost as well as it looked, scoring two Winston Cup victories during the ‘92 season. Martin would go on to win many races thereafter sporting the Valvoline colors.
2007 No. 24 Dupont Chevy Monte Carlo SS - Jeff Gordon
The legendary “Rainbow Warrior” paint scheme that Gordon made famous prior to unveiling this version of the No.24 was ground breaking in terms of pushing the limits of a paint scheme and catching the eye. That being said, Gordon’s 2007 “flame job” Monte Carlo pushed the envelope even further. The green Nicorette version was pretty sweet as well.
1990's No. 17 Western Auto Chevrolets - Darrell Waltrip
Darrell Waltrip drove some of the coolest paint schemes to ever make their way on to a race track during his storied career, but none passed the eye test better than these two. While D.W. never had much success flying the Western Auto colorways, he definitely looked great in his efforts.