Talk:British racing green

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Napier Green[edit]

Napier Green

Green was evidently Britain's chosen or assigned racing color from early on without any particular shade identified. In 1902, Selwyn Francis Edge driving a green Napier automobile won Gordon Bennett Cup in the Paris-Innsbruk race. They evidently called that color Napier Green. The sample in the table is from the car's color at Napier 30 HP and is the closest hexidecimal I could come up with. It would be a nice addition to this page if someone could find out when and how green was assigned to British cars and the transitions to the official British Racing Green color. DialUp 21:24, 13 Feb 2005 (UTC)

  • See comment below. Pyrope 11:40, 11 August 2006 (UTC)

Deep Brunswick Green[edit]

Deep Brunswick Green

I found this sample of Deep Brunswick Green at British Standard 381c Colours. It was listed as 381c 227 and as hex #183828. DialUp 22:39, 13 Feb 2005 (UTC)

  • I removed the BS 381C reference from the main text as, as you have pointed out, this is a colour chart (hence the C appended) and so contains a large variety of different colours, most of which are not even greens. Pyrope 10:07, 13 October 2006 (UTC)

Link to vote for deletion page[edit]

Wikipedia:Votes_for_deletion/British_racing_green I put the link to the old VFD page for reference, since there is some useful info on it that someone may want to merge into article.

Votes for deletion results[edit]

This page was listed on votes for deletion. Please see Wikipedia:Votes for deletion/British racing green for the results of the debate. -- AllyUnion (talk) 09:55, 21 Feb 2005 (UTC)

Speed limit?[edit]

According to Top Gear, the Gordon Bennett Cup race was switched from England to Ireland because Parliament brought in a speed limit of 12mph. Not sure how true that is. violet/riga (t) 20:24, 20 November 2005 (UTC)

Standard colour[edit]

While the term "British Racing Green" comes from motor racing, there has never been a prescribed shade. British racing cars have been painted every shade of green. The standard shade has acquired currency outside motor sport. - Ian Dalziel 06:54, 14 May 2006 (UTC)

Indeed, in fact I would dispute the given reasoning for the adoption of green as Britain's racing colour. As far as I can recall, having been a Motor Sport reader for a while now, the first instance of green in use as a racing livery was by Aston Martin, who chose green to reflect their then recent sucesses in the various Ulster Trophy races. This was a lighter shade, closer to the Napier Green above. Green was then adopted by Bentley and later MG and so came into common use for British cars. Has anyone else heard this version of events? Pyrope 11:39, 11 August 2006 (UTC)

I think Napier's use of green, and the adoption of green as the British colour in Gordon Bennett and then Grand Prix racing pre-dates Aston Martin. I am not so happy about the cavalrymen of Braunschweig and the locomotives of GWR being in this article. I do not believe that either colour was ever described as British Racing Green and I do not believe that either influenced the choice of green as the British motor racing colour. I think I shall remove those paragraphs unless someone can come up with some justification for them. -- Ian Dalziel 09:21, 5 September 2006 (UTC)

Agreed. The Brunswick/Braunschweig connection seems like reverse reasoning to me. Pyrope 16:37, 6 September 2006 (UTC)

Eventually got round to removing the speculation. (though something had signed me off without my noticing) -- Ian Dalziel 11:54, 17 March 2007 (UTC)


The article tells the story that the 1903 Gordon Bennett Cup saw a change for the (already green) Napier cars to 'shamrock green' in honour of the Irish venue. There's a citation in the Leinster Leader to support this.

The 1903 Napier is depicted in this painting and this modern photograph. I'm not sure if that's 'shamrock green' or not, but it seems a relatively dark shade to me, and counter to the passage in the article: "In keeping with these Irish/Napier roots, many of the earliest greens used on British racing cars were of a lighter olive, moss or emerald green. Later, darker shades became more common."

Looking at news reports in advance of the race: the Boston Evening Transcript Apr 3 - "cars will probably be colored as follows... United Kingdom, emerald green", the NYT Jul 2 has - "the holder of the cup will start first with his green Napier racer".

The Napier & Son article meanwhile, accredits Racing Green to: the 1902 Gordon Bennett... Piloted by Edge and his cousin, Cecil, she (the car) wore what would become known as British racing green."

So I'm thinking, the green livery seems dependant on context for its various shades and different interpretations. Hakluyt bean (talk) 05:04, 13 December 2011 (UTC)

Yes, precisely. The whole point of the section is to counter the idea that there is one single shade of green that is "British racing green". British racing green is the colour of a British racing car painted green. The 1902 Napier was quite a bit lighter in colour than the 1903 car (as used to be shown before someone deleted an unsourced, but useful, colour swatch) and the 1903 car is much lighter than some of the Bentley entries and Willie Grover's Monaco Bugatti (which in some lights even appear black). Colour is subjective, unless you agree to only use Pantone terms, or similar, but these are in themselves subjective and frequently a little poetic in their interpretation. Even where you use a reference material such as emerald, a huge variety of natural hues exist. What is your interpretation of "emerald" green? Was the writer of the 1903 BET article thinking of the same thing? The painting you highlight was painted in 1987 and the artist never saw the cars in period, and the Napier in the Beulieu museum may very well have been repainted at some later, or not. Pyrope 14:09, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
You are right. The question of the actual shade of green is open to interpretation. All available colour images of the 1903 cars show a dark green but descriptions describe Napier green/green in honour of Ireland/Emerald green/Shamrock green. The predecessor cars from 1902 are described as 'olive green'. So it may be that the 1903 cars were repainted a different shade of green for 1903, but if so they were repainted a darker shade for display in museums today. 1903 doesn't seem to be a significant watershed. The article atm suggest it's the point of origin, which doesn't seem to be borne out. Green as a national racing livery appears to begin with Napier. The preferred actual colour (apparently Brunswick green) may have only been settled more recently.
Erm... Yet again, and as re-stated above by Pyrope, there is no "preferred actual colour". -- Ian Dalziel (talk) 10:52, 6 April 2012 (UTC)
1903 is the watershed point because that is the first known reference to a car specifically representing the UK being painted green as a national livery, and not just a manufacturer choosing green as its preferred colour. Pyrope 12:10, 6 April 2012 (UTC)
As to why green for Napier and one or two other early racing cars, no-one seems to know, but I read that early steam locomotives were often shades of green, variously described, but again no-one seems sure exactly what shades were used. One nice expression of this uncertainty I heard is that 'Great Western Railway green can be described as a shade of Brunswick Green, but not all Brunswick Greens are GWR green'. Anyhow, the best way to settle this is to go back to the source. Here is Edge's 1903 Napier photographed at the time. Unfortunately... it is in black and white. Hakluyt bean (talk) 08:22, 6 April 2012 (UTC)