Luscious Racing Liveries – Part III
It’s nearly five years since I first revealed a selection of my favourite race and rallycar liveries, those colour schemes and identities that really got – and still get – the juices flowing.
And I followed it up two years ago with another batch of stunners that fully deserved inclusion first time round.
Deciding what to leave out is always hard – clearly, there’s potential to have ‘Luscious Liveries – part 50’.
In the meantime, here’s another 10 that stand the test of time, every time:
The red-and-white stripes of the Belgian tobacco brand looked ace on a variety of rally machines in the 1980s, including BMW’s M1 and E30 M3, the Lancia 037 and Porsche 911, but, for me, the Tom Walkinshaw Racing Rover Vitesses that starred in the European Touring Car Championship in 1985 and ’86 perfectly epitomised its motorsport association. Bastos was bold and bullish, a bit like those Rovers.
That simple, blue-and-white colour scheme, with that efficient, Teutonic logo looked perfect on Joest Racing’s Porsche Group C racers. And with ‘Brilliant Bob’ Wollek on the driving strength – helping Porsche to its final World Sportscar Championship win at Dijon in 1989 – the German car hi-fi firm became a cult brand among boy racers.
Adolphus Busch’s all-American beer, often abbreviated to ‘Bud’, was the perfect fit for the US NASCAR stockcar series, particularly when it adorned Bill Elliott’s Junior Johnson-run #11 Ford Thunderbird in the early 1990s. And not forgetting Budweiser’s long-time association with Top Fuel drag legend King Kenny Bernstein.
Chesterfield County in Virginia gave its name to a tobacco brand and their red/white/yellow corporate identity made me want to take on the Dakar Rally on a Yamaha Ténéré as a lad. Still does. The Chesterfield name also appeared in Formula 1, adorning US marine-turned-racer Brett Lunger ‘s McLaren in 1977, and even made the hopeless Scuderia Italia Dallara of 1993 look good.
If you wanted a leg-up the Formula Ford 1600 single-seater ladder in the 1980s and ’90s, you needed a works Van Diemen. And for many years, they came emblazoned in the blue-and-yellow colours of the BP-owned Duckhams oil company. One of the longest-standing national-racing sponsorship deals is recalled fondly by fans.
The Irish stout brand’s colours looked mega on the British March F1 team’s car in 1981 and the tie-up was complemented perfectly by Irishman Derek Daly on the driving strength for eight grands prix. The car’s best result was only a seventh – in the British GP from 17th on the grid – but it was a livery that really ought to have stuck around longer.
Think bikini-clad girls, think Le Mans. That just about sums up Hawaiian Tropic’s motorsport credentials, for which we’re all grateful, but when it comes to the suntan cream brand, founded by Ron Rice in 1969, looking good on a car, the Paul Newman/Dick Barbour/Rolf Stommelen Porsche 935 that finished second at Le Mans in 1979 makes a pretty good case.
The Yves Saint Laurent aftershave brand made Sauber’s 1986 C8 Group C car look superb and when it became a winner, at the Nurburgring that year with Henri Pescarolo and Mike Thackwell, teenaged male racefans – me included – soon got in on the act by discarding their tired bottles of Old Spice and buying up Kouros .
NASCAR star Ricky Rudd’s #26 Quaker State Buick racer brought the oil brand plenty of attention in 1988 and ’89, but its logos also looked the part on Teo Fabi’s white-and-green Porsche-engined March IndyCar at the same time. The Italian won at Mid-Ohio in ’89 to get one over the otherwise-dominant Penske Chevrolets, which seemed to add to the oddly-named firm’s visual appeal.
What was it about the image of a cowboy in a Stetson with a handkerchief over his mouth that looked so good on a RAM F1 car, a Porsche Group C car or a NASCAR stocker? The American chewing tobacco brand’s logo was quite unlike anything else and for its distinctive image it finds itself firmly deposited in the 1980s memory banks.