Green And Gold


Gillam Drive 2014 110

For our North American readers, this is a blog about racing car colours – or at least would-be racing cars and would-be colours.

The business of car racing used to be an intensely nationalistic business – in the days when the Kings and Kaisers ruled. Every nation competing in car races in Europe had a set colour scheme that was supposed to identify their cars. I often wondered about this  – was it to allow the peasants standing along the roads to recognise the cars of enemy nations and pelt them with horse dung as they passed? Was chauvinistic pride aided by a certain colour? At a time when the nations prudently decided to clothe their troops in mud-coloured uniforms did they want to blaze out in the car wars?

Whatever, the British got green, the French got blue, The Germans and Austrians got white, and the Italians got red. The Americans eventually got white with a blue stripe and the Australians got green with a yellow stripe. For reasons of pride this was referred to as a gold stripe.

We saw it on cars all through the 50’s and 60’s before the advertisers got the upper hand and covered the car bodies with ever bigger brand names and slogans. The locals concocted a legend that it was to commemorate the green of the land ( a land that is largely brown…) and the gold of the wattle. And any number of things were painted green and gold, including cricket players, food mixers, and the Holden Monaro pictured here.

Gillam Drive 2014 109

This may not be an exact factory paint job but is in the main reflective of the colours of the period. The panel sculpturing and lines lens themselves very well to the trim stripes as they are applied. I take it the owner of the car is a keen collector of insects as he has mounted a scoop to gather them on top of the car bonnet. I think those two instruments that are mounted outside the windscreen on the driver’s side are to count the numbers of moths and grasshoppers that go into the scoop.

Gillam Drive 2014 111

Car enthusiasts will applaud the choice of the yellow number plates as well. Here in Western Australia we can pay extra for our choice of size, colour, and lettering on our plates – over and above the ones that may be issued when we buy the cars. I have seen some good combinations – like this one – and some shockers. Case in point was a bright yellow Dodge today with pink plates proclaiming the driver as Lil Mafia. The car colour was fine, the Dodge was fine, even the lettering was fine…but not pink and yellow…



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