After lockdown, I promptly re-discovered that all of the UK’s cars are white, black or silver

After lockdown, I promptly re-discovered that all of the UK’s cars are white, black or silver

by Danielle Thompson (June 2020)

HURRAH! After what feels like an eternity of being stuck at home, I’ve finally been allowed to get behind the wheel for a longer drive – and promptly re-discovered that every car is white, black or silver.

Obviously I was reading straight from my freshly delivered issue of Hypocrites Monthly – I was behind the wheel of a borrowed Skoda Superb, daubed in a shade of grey straight out of a wet Monday morning in Manchester. However, after ten weeks of working from home and looking at pictures of Avenger Tigers and Escort Mexicos in eye-popping colours, it was a grim reminder that virtually all new cars are now sold in me-too monochrome.

So I entirely understand why car nuts have ended up so excited about the new Range Rover Fifty, a new special edition to mark the plush mud-plugger’s half-century. Nobody seemed to notice that Land Rover’s capping numbers at a neat 1,970 (geddit?) or that it has an individually numbered commemorative plaque, neatly integrated into the centre console – nope, none of that matters because you can order it in Tuscan Blue!

It’s a retina-scorching Seventies shade straight out of the car’s original brochure and a colour I’m very familiar with, as my dad owns a 39-year-old Rangie painted in it. You can also order it in oh-so-Seventies beige – sorry, Bahama Gold – or in Davos White, a rather subtler option from this 4x4’s early days, but I’m surprised the chaps at Solihull didn’t go even further. It’s probably a good thing I’m a journalist rather than a captain of industry, because I’d be ordering mine in Lincoln Green, given enough spare cash.

But it begs the question – if Land Rover can do it, why can’t everyone else? Vauxhall’s Insignia isn’t a bad-looking mid-range saloon, but imagine how much memorable it’d be if it was offered in Sunglow – the exact look-at-me yellow that some early adopters of the original Cavalier went for. MG is missing a trick too. Why isn’t the GS offered in Bracken (brownish orange, which looks better than it sounds), Vermillion (reddish-orange) or Limeflower (greenish-yellow)? I know that on paper these sound as tragic as avacado bathrooms, but in a world where fifty shades of grey isn’t just a terrible film, but the sobering reality of most car brochures, they’re refreshingly different.

I suppose it isn’t just exteriors that could do with some Seventies-inspired makeovers, either. Did you know that the original Lotus Esprit came with tartan-trimmed seats, presumably thought up by someone binge-listening to the Bay City Rollers, as standard?
Still, baby steps and all that…


David Simister is the editor of Classic Car Weekly

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