Less than 0.5% of new vehicles sold are orange, but that number jumps for sporty cars like the Ford Mustang. Especially when we’re talking about performance options like Shelby Mustangs. In 2018, 6% of the Shelby GT350s were ordered in Orange Fury, making it more popular than Ruby Red or Triple Yellow.
Orange is the perfect hue for muscle (or pony) car drivers who aren’t afraid of being seen, and its popularity is on the rise. Red and black have both seen a decline, but orange has seen a 73.3% increase in popularity. While that number is especially high for men, there are definitely more orange cars on the road.
In its lifetime, the Mustang has had 19 orange production shades (almost double that if we include special orders). But out of those, we think these are the top 10 orange Mustang shades. See if they can convince you that this is the perfect shade for a car as unique as the Mustang.
#1 Grabber Orange
The Grabber shades are all loved for their saturated color. And Grabber Orange is no exception. This bright yellow-orange is bold and energetic. Coupled with black stripes or on a convertible with a black top, it’s a head-turner.
Grabber Orange first appeared back in 1969 as a Shelby Mustang exclusive. By 1970, it was more available and appeared on the 1970 Boss 302 Mustang and 1970 Twister Special. The Boss and Twister both helped solidify the iconic status of Grabber Orange.
Grabber Orange returned in 2007 and stuck around for a few years. Interestingly, it was not the orange shade used on the 2012 Boss 302 (that would be Competition Orange).
#2 Twister Orange
Twister Orange is a shade lighter than Grabber Orange, but it still looks best when coupled with black accents on a performance build. The name is a reference to the Twister Special (a Mustang that came in Grabber Orange). The best thing about Twister Orange is how it responds to light. On a sunny day, it’s nearly yellow, but at night it looks much darker and more menacing.
The first time we saw Twister Orange was on a 2020 Shelby GT500. The black hood vent, front splitter, and grille design all help to create a total look that’s perfect for Twister Orange.
#3 Orange Fury
Orange Fury is a bright orange that’s hard to miss. We nicknamed ours Cheez Whiz, and that’s a pretty accurate description of the color. The right styling can make this shade look phenomenal. The metallic clearcoat helped to add a little depth to the yellow-orange.
It’s not surprising that a lot of tuners picked this color for their Mustang. Though it was available on any package and trim, there’s something about a car this bright that screams performance. We also love how fun this color can be, and it was great that it was also available for EcoBoost Mustangs.
#4 Competition Orange
Competition Orange is a medium/dark orange color. It’s the kind of color that you’d see in a bonfire, and it’s definitely hot.
Competition Orange was first introduced in 2004, the last year of the New Edge generation. But in 2012, it took our breath away. As a 2012 Boss 302 exclusive, Competition Orange was a perfect choice.
Apparently people ordering 2012 Boss 302s agreed. Competition Orange is the most popular shade for an S197 Boss Mustang by a landslide. 1,135 Competition Orange Boss 302s were made. The second most popular color was School Bus Yellow, with 856 produced.
Competition Orange returned in 2015 and 2016 to help launch the S550 generation. And right away, it was clear that this gen looked good in Orange. Though not many people ordered a GT350 in this color, it’s a great shade for the special edition Shelby.
#5 Autumn Orange
Autumn Orange is one of the most unique Mustang colors ever offered. This jewel-toned orange looked a little more at home in the SN95 lineup than the previous year’s Bright Tangerine.
Only available on the Mustang GT, Autumn Orange probably would have been more popular if it weren’t offered the same year as Aztec Gold. The two metallics definitely complemented each other, but they undoubtedly competed with each other as well.
#6 Bright Tangerine
In 1996, for one year only, Ford offered Bright Tangerine as a GT-only option. Out of 126,532 Mustangs sold that year, only 829 came in this color, making it the rarest that year. More than twice as rare as the Mystic Cobra, which came in at 1,999 total. Even Deep Violet, the purple offered that year, was a better seller.
That could be why it was a one-year only option. But the people who loved this color were right in seeing that it was really the only bright and bold shade offered in ‘96. In a sea of dark greens and blues, Bright Tangerine was a breath of fresh air.
Orange definitely attracts tuners looking to create a performance build, and several Boss Shinoda Mustangs have appeared in this shade.
Tangerine was an unusual color on Fox Bodies. When Tangerine was offered in 1979, only 3,820 of the 369,936 Mustangs sold that year came in the shade. On its own, the color is bright and bold. But it really shines when coupled with the Cobra package. The graphics tie the hood’s look together. Unfortunately, the Cobra in 1979 really was just a hood-graphic package. But that doesn’t change the fact that it looks amazing.
#8 Madagascar Orange
The Rainbow of Colors promotion created a lot of one-of-a-kind Mustangs (as evidenced by their Marti reports). But considering how few orange shades were available in the Mustang’s early years, Madagascar Orange is noteworthy. The bright shade looks a lot like the Grabber Orange that would be available on the Boss 302 in 1970.
#9 Special Orange
Special Orange is less of a name and more of a designation. This particular orange shade was only available for special order. It’s internal designation was WT5107.
Though this color could technically be added to any special order Mustang, it did have a tendency to end up on truly special Mustangs. In particular, the Shelby GT500KR looks amazing in Special Orange. That could be an unfair specification though, since everything looks good on a GT500KR.
Emberglo is actually one of our top Mustang colors of all time. I mean, how could it not be? This unique color was first offered in 1966, right at the height of the first-gen Mustang’s popularity. Emberglo was only offered for a single year, but in that year, 34,157 Mustangs were produced with that color. This made it the 9th most popular color out of 16.
Since then though, Emberglo’s appeal has only increased. This color looks incredible, and is representative of the era without looking dated.
Hidden Benefits to Going Orange?
Even though orange isn’t a very popular color, there are a lot of benefits associated with getting a car this bright. Kelley Blue Book points out that orange is an easy color to maintain, so you’ll appreciate that the next time you’re detailing your exterior.
And while people sometimes shy away from orange because they think it’ll affect resell value, that’s not true when it’s a specialty car. A Grabber Orange Boss 302 is going to command a better price than a black one. The same’s true of a Shelby GT500 in Twister Orange.
It’s also important to remember some of the less easy to quantify benefits. Being able to pick your car out in a parking lot, knowing other drivers will see you, and having a unique car are all major upsides.
If you love this shade, there’s no reason not to get an orange Mustang. With the right care, they can look amazing for years. And, next to purple Mustangs, you’ll be driving one of the most unusual Mustangs on the road.
If you’re setting your sights on a more modern orange Mustang, watch this comparison of the three available shades for the S550 generation.
This article was researched, written, edited, and reviewed following the steps outlined in our editorial process. Learn more about CJ's editorial standards and guidelines.