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With apologies to 1960’s folkie Donovan… As we would probably all agree, beauty is in the eye of the beholder when it comes to classic cars as much as with anything else, and that’s a good thing – if we all liked the same cars we wouldn’t have anything to discuss over a few beers, glasses of wine, coffees, whiskies or the internet. Yes, there are some cars that the vast majority of enthusiasts probably do agree on, but even in the case of cars as widely admired as the Ferrari Dino or Mercedes-Benz SL Pagoda, there will be those who beg to differ. That there are people who love the Austin Allegro frankly baffles me, but it’s good that there are, and this is exactly as it should be.

The same applies to colour. As will have been apparent to anyone who has read some of the recent articles in ViaRETRO, we are not all aligned on colour – some of our number think brown is a fine colour on a car, when it so clearly is not. I, on the other hand, prefer blues, reds, orange but most of all, yellow! My own 1975 BMW 2002tiiLux is yellow – Golf Yellow, to be precise – and I just love it.

Yellow has started to find its way onto a number of modern cars in recent years – a nice change from the predominantly white, black, grey or silver that have dominated for years now. Indeed, 59% of new cars sold in the UK in 2017 were either black, grey or white – a monochrome borefest. I’m pleased to say that brown has dropped out of the UK Top 10 colour choices, and that sneaking into 10th place – yes, yellow.

The yellow revival has tended to feature on smaller models, such as the Audi A1, which looks cool in yellow, as does the current Citroen DS. At the other end of the scale, Aston Martin, McLaren and Lamborghini have made a thing out of offering vivid paint schemes, and a yellow McLaren P1 frankly looks awesome. Between these extremes, yellow isn’t seen so much, although Porsche is one manufacturer that seems to sell a good number of yellow cars, especially Boxsters and Caymans.

On classics, however, yellow works beautifully across a huge range of cars, as I hope the accompanying photo-gallery shows. Red Ferrari’s are ten-a-penny, but a Ferrari – literally any Ferrari – in Giallo Fly not only stands out but looks absolutely fabulous – and I don’t mean in a Bollinger kind of way.

A yellow Lotus Elan or 911 looks simply wonderful, as does any Ginetta, a Triumph Dolomite Sprint, a Chevy Camaro, an Alfa Romeo GT, Escort Mk 1, Hillman Avenger, Ford Mustang, etc etc etc… Big, small, sporty, family, two-door, four-door, coupé, hatchback, doesn’t matter. On a smaller car, it’s bright and cheerful. On a sportier car, it’s fun and frivolous. It makes people smile, and it’s clearly significantly safer from a visibility perspective than black or grey.

Even on a Rolls-Royce, Bentley, or luxurious vintage car, paler shades of yellow look great.

Of course, it doesn’t work on every car – a yellow Mercedes-Benz 600 would look, well, wrong, but this is one of only a few exceptions.

Yellow’s biggest disadvantage? It seems to attract bugs during the summer… and that’s it, so let this plethora of yellow brighten your December day!


11 Responses

  1. Anders Bilidt

    How thoroughly uplifting on such a grey December day – thx Tony! :-)

    And you’re right, there really are remarkably few cars which do not look great in yellow – either pale of bright. Yet, I’ve never owned one!! A yellow Lotus of some sort or a VW 914 would be nice. Or perhaps my next Imp simply needs to be yellow?

  2. Søren Navntoft

    Great idea for a post Tony and you have been busy with the camera. I agree, most cars look good in yellow. My favorite; The 2CV. It’s almost obvious in that color.

  3. GTeglman

    @tony-wawryk Thanks for bringing color on a grey and cold December day.

    The “bug-attraction” is my main reason for not going yellow, but I really really like pale yellow for classic cars, as it has a sort of build in patina.

  4. Tony Wawryk

    @yrhmblhst that yellow Grifo….god it’s gorgeous…not seen a Grifo in any colour for some time, but a yellow one would make my day, week and probably month.

    @gteglman while driving my ’02 through the hottest summer in the UK in years, as well as through Germany and France in July, there would usually be a few bugs waiting for me on the car, but a quick blast down the street and they, er, buggered off…

  5. GTeglman

    @tony-wawryk that’s only because your 02 is a “zitrone”, and bugs don’t like sauer zitronen ;-))

    Should I ever come in a situation where my (dark blue metallic) GT was up for a re-spray, I would probably go for the original light blue metallic or original orange, but as stated earlier I really like the pale yellow.

  6. Tony Wawryk

    @gteglman you may have a point! :)
    As for respraying your GT (should you decide to that), I have to say that they look fabulous in orange, but there is a very cool-looking pale yellow one in the gallery above (it was at the NEC) that I’m sure you spotted!

  7. GTeglman

    @tony-wawryk Yes I spotted the GT immediately, and it looks very original.

    Since my GT is pretty must rust free and the paintwork OK, the argument for throwing £2500 – £3000 for a re-paint is really not there.

    To be honest, the very minor dings & dents, the tiny bobbles here and there in the chrome, and hairline scratches in the paintwork is IMHO part my GT’s heritage.

    I like the fact that you can see it’s a old car, and I have never been a fan of “Trailer Queens” (Yes. still talking about cars ;-))

  8. Claus Ebberfeld

    It’s all true!

    The colour was actually one of the reasons I just KNEW I had to own my Scimitar – my fourth and only one in yellow. Or yellowISH – it’s certainly darker than most of the yellows shown above, but I feel I still enjoy all the benefits.


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