It’s Important to Earn Your Stripes
I prefer my vehicles on the modest side of subdued, and picked the grey metallic—grigio—paint for my 2013 Fiat 500 Abarth. At the time, the only one available with the options I wanted also had black side stripes—which I had the dealer remove before taking delivery.
Why? I don’t deserve stripes, and you may not, either.
Long the easiest thing you could do to a car to give it a more racy look, stripes have adored just about every type of sporty car for decades. Some combinations, of course, are more iconic than others: white stripes on a blue Shelby Cobra, or the orange stripe that runs down traditional Gulf-liveried cars.
I have nothing against racing cars having stripes, of course, but once a car rolls onto the street it’s another thing entirely. Were they put there by the factory? Were they period-correct? Are they ugly? Most of the time, I just can’t understand the appeal of having stripes on a road car. What’s the point in drawing more attention to yourself?
Interestingly, when going back through my vacation photos last year, I noticed something strange. In the images I took at Tsukuba Circuit in Japan during a classic car meet, there were very few road cars that had racing stripes—certainly fewer than you’d see at your local car meets, that’s for sure. (The other photos here were taken at the Porsche Museum in Stuttgart, Germany.)
Even the striped examples—including the orange and white Isuzu Bellett 1600 GTs—were subdued to the point of near-invisibility. And then I take one look outside…yup, there goes a yellow Chevrolet Camaro V6 Convertible wearing black stripes. Ugh.