Published by Oi Polloi of Cottonopolis


British Racing



Words by Mark Smith

British Racing Green, what's all that about? It's one of those phrases people like Oi Polloi use and you think "Ooh that sounds good," without ever questioning where it came from. Like 'placket' and 'corozo nut buttons'. You're not bothered enough to Google it, you just know it sounds good and that's enough for you, isn't it?


Well, it's not quite enough for us. You see we're a bit obsessed about things like this. First and foremost it's the best, most grown up shade of green you'll find. It's proper green. Grown up green. The army probably toyed with the idea of painting their tanks in this shade of green but soon realised that far from camouflaging or even intimidating their enemies, it would inevitably end up making them stand back, fold their arms, nod approvingly and go "You know what, we should have used that shade of green on our tanks, it's well nice."

Aston Martin DB4GT Le Mans 1959

Aston Martin
DB4GT Le Mans 1959

But unlike most shades of green, its origins aren't military. There's a clue in the name — Racing Green. In 1899, a millionaire New Yorker called Gordon Bennett (seriously) donated a trophy to the Automobile Club de France which the racing teams of various countries would compete for on an annual basis. By 1903 the need to identify each team individually became evident and so naturally colours were chosen. The problem was, the British team didn't have first pick so their more obvious red, white and blue were nicked by the Italians, French and Germans respectively. The swines. 

Selwyn Edge had won the race for England in the previous year and so it fell to him to ask himself which "Hue do we think we are?" With choice and inspiration thin on the ground, much head scratching ensued before old Selwyn decided he'd just paint his car the same colour as he'd used sparingly the previous year — green. This tied in very well with the fact the 1903 race was to be held in Ireland. Shamrock green was therefore an early incarnation of British Racing Green, though the luck of the Irish didn't rub off, Edge was disqualified. Presumably for looking too cool or something.

As the years rolled by a darker version of green was adopted and by the 1920s, what we now accept as British Racing Green had become entrenched in the culture of fast cars and general coolness. It's natural therefore to choose this iconic tone for our Baracuta G9. A classic sports jacket in a classic sporting colour.

Film by Ivan Ogilvie
Produced by The Rig Out
Music: U-Ka - "Farewell" (Frisvold & Lindbaek)

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