Journal: What’s The Best Classic Racing Livery?

What’s The Best Classic Racing Livery?

By Michael Banovsky
April 17, 2015
32 comments

With more than a century of racing history to draw from, it’s natural to expect our competition vehicles to wear distinct warpaint. Originally for distinguishing between cars entered into the Gordon Bennett Cup, bright, sold hues eventually gave way to colorful, sponsor-covered designs—very few race cars are identical.

From NASCAR, FIA GT, Le Mans, and Formula 1 on down, racers have spent countless hours designing, applying, and repairing our racing liveries—with the crucible of competition deciding which designs would be remembered fondly. Some aren’t remembered at all.

While I personally feel as though the famous Martini “Hippie” livery for a Porsche 917 entered into the 1970 24 Hours of Le Mans is the most perfect livery—the car, era, and design match perfectly—we here at Petrolicious would love to know your favourite classic racing livery.

Image source: rmauctions.comtumblr.com

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Scottie Simpson
Scottie Simpson
4 years ago

Anything with JPS livery is just brilliant. But the Jim Richards BMW 6 series is my all time.

Theo Z
Theo Z
4 years ago

The classic Marlboro themed livery of the 80’s, such as the one on the Mclaren MP4/4. Simple but attractive and very iconic with the team in the sport.

PM Summer
PM Summer
4 years ago

Classic Team Lotus.

Martin McAllen
Martin McAllen
7 years ago

Martini colours on both F1 and Lancia sports cars and rally cars are truly iconic, they were the standout scheme of the Group B era. Since then Silk Cut Jaguar sports cars are stand outs, very few F1 liveries today, excluding Williams, have had a memorable livery. Early Lotus colours, Gold Leaf, JPS and perhaps Essex have stood the test of time. Gulf’s iconic colours have been diminished because they seem to crop up on everything from Mk1 Escorts onwards.

Teemu Wilander
Teemu Wilander
7 years ago

Castrol white, green and reds!

Harvey Briggs
Harvey Briggs
7 years ago

Iconic.

Damon S
Damon S
7 years ago

Gulf GT40

Christopher Burton
Christopher Burton
7 years ago
Reply to  Damon S

Amen!

Andy Efimovich
Andy Efimovich
7 years ago

Martini in all it’s incarnations…

Jeff Helmbolt
Jeff Helmbolt
7 years ago

I totally agree with the Lotus suggestions. That being said, it would be Mark Donahue’s Sunoco 917-30 Porsche Can Am car.

Michael Schlenger
Michael Schlenger
7 years ago

Another French cyclecar from the early 1920s wearing a tasteful “war” paint – a Salmson which I came across at the 2014 Classic Days at Schloss Dyck in Germany…

David Kantymir
David Kantymir
7 years ago

1978 John Player Special Lotus in black in gold. 1978 was the year I started following Formula 1 and this color scheme has left a lasting impression.

Clayton Merchant
Clayton Merchant
7 years ago

Hard to argue with the Gulf livery on a 917 or anything else. Kind of surprised that this has been mentioned but I have to add an icon that has been present from the ’60’s and is still around today.

Clayton Merchant
Clayton Merchant
7 years ago

“hasn’t been mentioned”. We really need an edit button…….

Guillermo DiClemente
Guillermo DiClemente
7 years ago

Lotus 79 JPS

Christopher Gay
Christopher Gay
7 years ago

My two favorite liveries, which happen to be from two of my favorite cars… ever.

Christopher Gay
Christopher Gay
7 years ago

And… how could I omit the Group 44, especially on the XJR-7.?! Duh.

Having seen these cars driven in anger in their day leaves me a little biased. 😉

Afshin Behnia
Afshin Behnia
7 years ago

The Lancia Stratos in Alitalia livery is the one for me.

Simon Potter
Simon Potter
7 years ago

If we were going to pick best 90’s livery I think it’d be the HKS.

Simon Potter
Simon Potter
7 years ago
Reply to  Simon Potter
Michael Schlenger
Michael Schlenger
7 years ago

Well, perhaps not exactly what you are asking for – but I like the elegance of this 1920s cyclecar simply wearing the name of the manufacturer on the fabric body… I shot this picture at the “Classic Days” at Schloss Dyck in Germany last year.

Riccardo
Riccardo
7 years ago

Some very good choices.

Another Porsche 917 vote, but this time the pink pig.

Mente Cato
Mente Cato
7 years ago

For me, Red & White McLaren and Benneton

Steve Perry
Steve Perry
7 years ago

Gulf Liveried Porsche 917K. What else?

Cédric Baeten
Cédric Baeten
7 years ago

this is mine all time favorite

David Mircea Bucur
David Mircea Bucur
7 years ago

Apple Computers livery on the 935. Hands down my favorite, even though I hate Apple. Brings some color to the racetrack.

Lucho Nota
Lucho Nota
7 years ago

Historic livery in Argentina. El “Policromático” de Yoyo Maldonado (Yoyo Maldonado´s “Polychromatic”)

Lucho Nota
Lucho Nota
7 years ago

Historic livery in Argentina. El “Policromático” de Yoyo Maldonado (Yoyo Maldonado´s “Polychromatic”)[url=”http://i1196.photobucket.com/albums/aa414/Mati_Montenegro/gal_img-234.jpg”]Your text to link…[/url].

Jock Rodgers
Jock Rodgers
7 years ago

Gotta love the history of Gulf
http://www.pbase.com/davidclanton/image/136932012

Emmanuel Noppe
Emmanuel Noppe
7 years ago

The BMW M3 GT2 from Jeff Koons!

christian mortinger
christian mortinger
7 years ago

nothing quite like the red & white MP4/4, preferably with that yellow helmet sticking out

Ahmad Zikri
Ahmad Zikri
7 years ago

My favourite rally car livery, the shape of the 037 and the Martini livery is just perfect.