Life In Technicolour - Top 5 Manufacturer Colours Of All Time

Colours come and go, pastels, neutrals and everything in-between - sometimes though, designers capture the consumer's eye in an extraordinary way.

39w ago

For as long as we've had cars, we've had car colours. Whatever your personal preference, be it a cold silver or hair raising yellow, there's no denying that different shades offer up an unmatched level of diversity in the automotive world. For many the colour in which they order a car is an expression of themselves and so designers ensuring a strong choice is available can be vital to a vehicle's success. This list celebrates the odd occasion when something really special has been offered up and in turn captured the eyes of the automotive industry.

British Racing Green

The exact origins of the BRG colour are somewhat murky. Allegedly first seen on the racers of the early 1900's, the shade was championed foremost by the likes of Jaguar, Bentley and Aston Martin's early race teams. It stayed proudly on the skin of a plethora of British racers for the remainder of the 20th century, but was revived in full for a production car in 2000 by Jaguar. The early noughties XK was available in the specific shade of emerald along with the X-type and XJ. More recently, the BMW owned MINI marque revived it for recent model years and there's no denying it still looks fabulous.

First Used: 1900(ish)

Best Modern Application: MINI Clubman JCW ALL4

Image credit - BMW BLOG

Image credit - BMW BLOG

Nardo Grey

Grey has long been a popular colour choice among almost all production vehicles. Be it a super dark space grey to a more flashy deep silver - the spectrum has always remained a solid favourite among consumers. The daddy of the lot though has to be Nardo. Originally applied across the Volkswagen group, including the likes of Skoda, VW, Porsche and Seat - it has more recently developed a deep standing in the Audi RS and Porsche brochures. It's namesake comes from the Nardo high speed oval in Italy, the site of many epic high speed runs throughout the last 50 years. Fitting then that this specific shade is now associated with high performance vehicles from across the globe.

First Used: 1990's by VAG Group

Best Modern Application: BMW Individual M3 Competition

Rosso Corsa

It would be impossible to do this list without the mention of THAT red. Rosso Corsa (Racing Red) or to you and me - Ferrari Red is arguably the most famous colour ever slapped onto a car. There was a time when if you were to order a Ferrari in anything other than Rosso, people would come and throw eggs at both you and your new car. That in itself speaks volumes. Originally though, the colour was adopted by Italy as its international motor racing colour and as a result saw service first by Maserati, Alfa Romeo and Lancia long before any prancing horse. The reason for the deep association this colour has to the brand is all down to Formula One. In 1968 national racing colours were largely replaced by sponsored liveries - however unlike most teams, Scuderia Ferrari kept with the red - also applying it to their road cars. Even today, both their F1 and road cars still proudly sport the red that represented Italy all those years ago. So please, if you want a Ferrari - do the right thing.

First Used: 1907 Peking to Paris

Best Modern Application: LaFerrari

Liquid Yellow

First seen on Renault's Clio 182 and V6, Liquid Yellow has quickly established itself to be synonymous with all hot machines from the Renault brand. Though the F1 team has received yellow on and off over the years, there is no direct link between the racing liveries they have used and the distinctive colour seen on their roadgoing counterparts. It is simply the culture that has fostered this one, with every new Renaultsport model released, the yellow sold in spades and is now the flagship colour when new RS models are launched at shows around the globe. More recently, Lotus have jumped in on the action with a few limited run models featuring this specific shade and, similarly to the Renaults, buyers are lapping it up.

First Used: 2001 Clio 182 and Clio V6

Best Modern Application: Lotus Exige V6/Megane RS

Estoril Blue

Don't worry BMW fanboys - there is a place for you here too. Named for the Formula 1 circuit where Senna won his first Grand Prix , this shade of mid blue has proved a hit from it's launch back in the early 90's all the way up to present day. Arguably most associated with the E36 M3 and M Coupe models, the lighter colour exaggerates the flared design and sporting presence you expect from a BMW vehicle. The colour never completely went away, but has more recently seen mainstream success again in recent BMW's - most notably the 1 and 3 series'. You can be certain this one won't be going anywhere anytime soon as it has always been a fan favourite amongst petrolheads as well as our lesser educated brethren.

First Use: Early 1990's

Best Modern Application: F10 M5


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Comments (30)

  • What about Subaru WRC blue and Nissan R34 midnight purple lll?

      8 months ago
  • Maybe not the most famous colors, but I really like the Rosso Competizione and Bianco Nuvola from Alfa Romeo.

      8 months ago
  • miami blue from porsche

      8 months ago
  • You forgot 2 best colours:BLACK & WHITE


      8 months ago
  • Ruby Stone Red (Porsche), Viola (Lamborghini) a couple of honourable mentions.

      8 months ago