A story about car liveries
What exactly are car liveries?
This is a fairly easy question to answer. In the automotive world, a livery is a specific decoration for a car (wether it’s a race car or a production car). It can be either paint or stickers, as long as it respects a certain design / paint scheme. As far as I know, the story of the car liveries started with automotive racing and sponsoring: the livery was used throughout the racing season. Due to their success and performance in the racing season, and wether the public appreciated the design or not, a livery could achieve cult status. To my knowledge, only later did production cars start to adopt the « liveries » from the racing world, mainly because most of them are really cool, or to customize one’s car and to make it look truly unique while paying tribute to the past/history.
Most liveries are heavily linked to a few manufacturers / brands in the general opinion. However, in today’s world, you can pretty much do whatever you want and the customer is king. Though some people might not follow the « usual trend » that says « this livery goes with that brand », the result can sometimes work out (but it can also be a total disaster).
Basically, the art of car liveries is fairly common in the world of sports car. One could almost call it tradition, but as far as I’m concerned, the peak of a livery happens during the time of creation & first-use, only then does it enter posterity and « general knowledge », becoming a trend.
What are the most famous car liveries?
Some car liveries have a cult status among fans. Some, though they didn’t make the shift from racing to « normal world » remain heavily appreciated. In this part I will try to show you some of the most famous car liveries in the world (according to me, obviously). Do you have more liveries ideas you’d want me to add? Feel free to comment / tell me all about it!
The GULF OIL livery is probably the most well-known car livery of all time. The legendary light blue & orange cars first started in 1968, with a Ford GT40. And the tradition kept going with all sorts of cars (mainly Porsche, as far as I know).
Yet another very famous car livery. The most famous alcohol lines in automotive history if you ask me. The MARTINI livery is depicted by blue & red lines going from front to back, usually on a white car. And of course, a big « Martini » logo. Often seen in Porsche cars.
PSYCHEDELIC – 1970 Porsche
This is Porsche’s hippie car without a doubt, and also my favorite 917 livery, I believe (though they’re all pretty awesome in their own right). The purple/green psychedelic livery doesn’t really follow the lines of the car and is simply a wonderful colorful mess.
PINK PIG – 1971 Porsche 917
After experiencing with aerodynamics, Porsche created a stubby Porsche 917 with its wheels tucked inward. Thus the car was dubbed « The Pig » by the press, which led to the car peint painted like a butcher’s pig carcass diagram before the 24 Hours of Le Mans race. Rumor has it Martini (sponsor) refused to have its name on it. Well, they still have the MARTINI livery, so I guess it’s not that bad either.
The yellow & orange (or bright red) Marlboro livery is famous in racing, mainly with McLaren cars, which were the first to have it. Probably the most famous « cigarette livery » in the world.
JOHN PLAYER SPECIAL
The original black & gold John Player Special cigarette livery was as elegant and classy as you could get. It all started with the LOTUS F1 cars back in 1972. Also, another « cigarette livery ».
SCUDERIA FRANCORCHAMPS – « Historic Livery »
Ecurie Francorchamps, considered as the first belgian sports team for Scuderia Ferrari. Famed for their link with Ferrari and their yellow cars, they’re even more famous nowadays because of the livery. Some call it the « historic livery ». It’s a yellow line perpendicular to the bonnet, usually with a white circle on the door.
BMW ART CARS
Nowadays there have been many BMW ART CARS. But the original one was painted by Alexander CALDER on Hervé POULAIN’s BMW 3.0 CSL, which raced in the 1975 24 Hours Of Le Mans. There are quite a few nowadays (ex: the Jeff Koons one).