Fifty Shades Of Beige—The Most Exceptionally Unexceptional Colours Ever

by Rob Sass
13 May 2014 2 min read

The Unexceptional Era of roughly 1973-85 was notable for its earth tone heavy palette with a record number of beiges and browns (sometimes used in tandem for the ultimate unexceptional combination). Here are some classics: 

1. Maple Brown (BLVC 83) Maple Brown

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Maple is a bit of a Marmite colour, not just because it shares the same general tone as the yeasty spread, but because it’s also quite polarizing. Some think it looks rather smart on a TR6 with a tan interior and some think that the most pleasant comparison one can make to the shade is that of wet mud.

2. Russet Brown (BLVC 205) 

As browns go, Russet wasn’t really a bad one, being quite a bit more reddish than Maple; it seems like half of the early TR7s built were Russet and MGBs were also quite common in Russet from 1978-80.  An interesting fact: We believe it to be the only shade in automotive history named for a potato.

3. Bedouin Beige (BLVC 4) 

The folks in Abingdon evidently had an odd thing for beige long before the dawn of The Unexceptional Era. MGAs were available in a colour called “Alamo Beige” back in the fifties and the MGB GT could be had in a shade called “Sandy Beige” from 1966-69, but it was Bedouin that Earth tone MGBs would be wearing for 1971. Original Bedouin MGBs are quite scarce today with most having acquired a respray in red or BRG at some point.

4. Antelope Beige (BLVC 7)  Antelope Beige

Antelope was widely used throughout the BMC/BL range but it was a 1970 GT only colour for MGBs.  It’s fairly similar to the far scarcer colour Armadillo Beige (which is perhaps our favourite beige colour name). Armadillo was of course named for an odd New World mammal that resembles a large rat wearing a suit of armour. When frightened, they roll up into a ball, a defense that proves woefully inadequate when confronted with a lorry speeding down a deserted Texas motorway.

5. Harvest Gold (BLVC 19) 

Harvest Gold was perhaps the most emblematic shade of the Unexceptional Era. Nearly every manufacturer had a variation of it. Commonly referred to as “mustard,” painting an Allegro or a Marina any other shade would be as wrong as doing a Ferrari in British Racing Green. So influential was Harvest Gold that it found its way onto everything from bedroom walls to kitchen appliances during the Unexceptional Era. 

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