France And Japan National Racing Heritage Shirts Are Now In The Shop
If you’ve been to the Petrolicious Shop lately or happened to see us at the ArtCenter Car Classic a few weeks ago, you probably saw our new collection of national racing heritage shirts. In addition to the United States, Italy, Great Britain, and Germany, we have just added France and Japan editions to the collection. They follow the same aesthetic as the others, pairing a clean, simple vintage racing stripe design with colors from each country’s national racing livery.
If interested, you can read some of the backstory on the colors of the previous shirts here, and the entire collection—including France and Japan below—can be found in the Shop. If you have a thing for coach-built Italians, German engineering, the variety of Japanese sports cars, anything that characterizes one of the major car manufacturing countries, consider these shirts a subtle and tasteful way of showing where you’d build your dream garage. If you were missing the two countries below when the first four arrived, thank you for being patient, we hope you like them!
Bleu de France has been a blue of many hues over the years, worn in various metallic and gloss shades on all manner of competition car, and in a way somewhat similar to the misconception that the country isn’t “good at winning wars,” the national racing color of France has a much deeper history of crossing finish lines in first place than most of the younger generation is likely aware. It’s a color that’s had the honor of being announced by the distinctive shriek of Matra V12s; it’s led and won on home turf in the greatest endurance race we know; it’s been coated with mud and hosed off again on the sides of Alpine A110s deep in Scandinavia; and it’s accentuated the elegance of early grand prix greats from the likes of Bugatti and Talbot-Lago, not to mention Delage and Delahaye.
Start a conversation with someone about French cars and you’re going to hear the words “avant-garde” and Citroën soon enough, and even though they eschewed the blue for a primary red when they were so busy racking up rallying championships, there are plenty of blue DSes and SMs to give them a pass for that. The stylish and often ingenious designs of French road cars like those extended into their racing endeavors as well; for instance, Peugeot pioneered the now-ubiquitous double overhead cam engine, which was used to win the country’s Grand Prix in 1912. If you’re a fan of that story as well as somebody who likes watching Peugeot T16 Group B cars get flung off jumps, this might be the perfect shirt to watch all those YouTube videos in.
Japan is known for building quick, accessible, tunable, and summarily fun cars when they feel like making something sportier than their commuter kings, and while companies like Honda and Toyota will always be known for engineering some of the most reliable and well-designed small motors on the planet, the country’s history with engines and racing goes well beyond anything like the Civic covered in VTEC stickers that farts past you on the highway every once in a while. For instance, Honda was right in the thick of some the greatest racing years of Grand Prix and Formula One, first with their striking RA271 (their first GP car, and one that they started building alongside the company’s very first cars of any type), and then as an engine supplier to the a host of teams like BAR, Williams, and of course, McLaren.
There’s so much more than Honda though, what with the massive (and finally maturing) selection of tuning icons from the likes of Toyota, Nissan, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Subaru, the list goes on. And though Toyota has seen heartbreak after heartbreak chasing Le Mans, there has been a Japanese flag on the top spot of the podium at Circuit de la Sarthe, and the “55” on our Japanese national racing heritage shirt is an homage to the ’91 winner, the Mazda 787B in its brilliantly brash orange and green Renown scheme. There’s a lot to be mined from the Japanese vintage scene, be sure to wear the proper attire while digging!