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