Cult Classic Colours That We Love

by Rob Sass
9 September 2014 3 min read
Cult Classic Colours That We Love
Inka Orange BMW 2002

There’s nothing difficult to grasp about colours like Tartan Red, Old English White or British Racing Green and consequently, few people dislike them. But there are some colours that just don’t inspire the herd mentality. Those iconoclasts who understand and fancy them are a rather passionate lot, (to the point of being willing to pay a good-sized premium for their favourite off-beat colour). Mostly, they tend to be rather scarce, often bright and almost always period colours. Here are some of our favourites:

  1. BMW Inka Orange: Inka is hands down the best colour in our humble opinion for the BMW 1600 and 2002. A 2002 with accessory fog lamps and factory alloy wheels in Inka is probably worth a cool 20 percent more than a comparable car in the far more common Malaga maroon. Golf Yellow or the more pumpkin-like Colorado Orange are also stellar cult colours for the 2002.
  2. British Leyland Magenta: This choice is bound to draw some disagreement, but we happen to think that nearly any early 1970s Triumph looks brilliant in this shade. Don’t judge unless you’ve seen a Stag, TR6, GT6 or a Dolomite Sprint in Magenta. One word though, it’s not for shrinking violets. (Sorry, we had to use that).
  3. Porsche Viper/Conda Green: A bit brighter and bluer than the similar BL shade of Java Green, 911s look amazing in this colour, particularly the 2.7-litre Carrera RS with its distinctive duck tail spoiler and black Carrera side graphics.
  4. British Leyland Black Tulip: As its name implies, this is a very dark/deep purple sort of aubergine colour that suits the elegant lines of the MGB GT quite nicely. With nice brightwork and shiny silver Rostyle wheels, there are few colours that the car actually looks better in.
  5. Porsche Gulf Blue: If you don’t get this one, it’s just a pastel blue not unlike Iris or Wedgewood Blue. But for those who understand the heritage of the Gulf/Wyer racing Ford GT40s and Porsche 917s, it’s a must-have 911/914 colour, particularly with orange accents. The 2004-05 Ford GT reprised this classic livery calling it “The Heritage Edition.” Strangely, this colour was nearly sale-proof in the new supercar market. Today, among the cognoscenti, it’s the colour to have and pay dearly for.
  6. British Leyland Blaze: Porsche and BMW and — across the pond — Chrysler (Vitamin C Orange) and Chevrolet (Hugger Orange) did some brilliant shades of orange. We like BL’s Blaze, particularly on the MGB roadster and the Midget, which benefits immensely from its high visibility. 
  7. BMC Florida Green: This rather bright turquoise is a colour that we can thank the Americans for. The 1950s were a bit of a drab time in post-war Britain with shortages and even rationing continuing. It was nothing like the 1950s in the U.S., where consumerism was rampant and bright pinks and turquoises were found on everything from appliances to ’57 Chevies and Thunderbirds. In addition to being named after the U.S.’s Sunshine State, Florida Green injected a little bit of that optimism into the UK. Big Healeys and MGAs look rather unusual and not at all bad in Florida Green. 
  8. Standard Triumph Apple Green: Of all the colours on this list, the name of this one might be the most literally descriptive. The TR2 was introduced with a rather bizarre palette of colours inspired, as the legend goes, by the wife of Sir John Black. Geranium, Ice Blue and several other almost-never-seen colours went away pretty quickly in favour of the more conventional whites, reds and blues. But Apple Green survived for a time and was even adopted by the Standard Triumph works rallye team for a bit. We must say, the TR3 looked quite sharp with a works hard top and single roof-mounted Lucas driving lamp.
  9. Aston Martin California Sage (Aston Martin Racing Green): For a colour that is so iconic and identified with the marque, we find it surprising how seldom it has actually been selected by Aston Martin buyers over the years. Odd, considering the fact that everything from a DB2/R to a DB7 or a Vanquish looks brilliant in it.
  10. Jensen Pistachio: Here’s another crazy period colour, this time courtesy of West Bromwich’s own Jensen. As if your two tonne Interceptor MKI or FF needed any help standing out in a crowd, this bright yellowish green shade probably shows up from space. Anything but subtle, we have to confess that we think that it makes the big GT look like even more of a rock star. 
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