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Actual BRM Colours


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#1 R.W. Mackenzie

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Posted 06 March 2003 - 01:05

The BRM cars that raced in F1 from 1963 through 1969 had what I consider to be the one of the most appealing paint schemes of any Grand Prix cars, simple thought it was. I never saw one in the flesh because by the time I got to my first Grand Prix they were in Yardley white.

I've always assumed that the green was a very dark metallic green and the tip of the nose was orange. I've seen alot of pictures that would support that but I've also seen a number in which the nose seems to be more of a red. So I've got several questions about it:

1. When did the orange (or red) nose first appear? (I believe it was at some point in 1963.)

2. Was it orange or some shade of red?

3. Was there a reason behind the addition of this detail to the previously all green cars? (A chart of racing colours that I have from back in the sixties says that green with a "horizontal orange band" are the colours of Ireland.)

4. When and why did they discontinue using the nose colour? (They started with it in 1969 but by the North American races it was gone?)

This may have already been discussed at some point but I don't recall seeing anything.

Bob Mackenzie

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#2 David Shaw

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Posted 06 March 2003 - 02:53

I believe that the horizontal band for Ireland was actually around the body, not a nose band. I believe the Parnell Team's cars were dark blue with a red nose band, this may explain the orange/red question.

#3 dretceterini

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Posted 06 March 2003 - 04:18

As far as I'm aware, the factory cars were dark green with a dark orange nose band.

#4 Gary Davies

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Posted 06 March 2003 - 04:46

Originally posted by R.W. Mackenzie
When did the orange (or red) nose first appear? (I believe it was at some point in 1963.)

Shouldn't be doing this ... at work - all my books at home, but ... I recall first seeing the dayglo orange nose stripe at the Race of Champions in 1965, or was it Silverstione a few weeks later :confused:

The red stripe ... yup, I'd settle for 1963 ... certainly wasn't on the 1962 iteration of the P578s.

#5 Ray Bell

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Posted 06 March 2003 - 08:11

Not a metallic colour at all... just a very dark green...

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These were taken in March, 1966.

#6 Rob29

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Posted 06 March 2003 - 08:37

The orange nose band first appeared on the works BRMs in 1963 and remained until end of 1969.The Yeoman Credit/Bowmaker/Reg Parnell team used a dark blueish green with a maroon noseband on its Coopers,Lolas & Lotuses. Around 1968 it acquired ex works BRMs which stayed in their original green,but replacing the orange nose with a maroon one.

#7 David Shaw

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Posted 06 March 2003 - 09:13

Nice pictures of the Viaduct and Long Bridge, Ray.

#8 Doug Nye

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Posted 06 March 2003 - 09:13

The colour upon which BRM settled for the majority of its 'green' period WAS a metallic shade known as 'dark lust. green'.

The presumption is that 'lust.' was an abbreviation of lustrous, but 'lust.' is what appeared on the label. The orange - NB NOT dayglo red, but instead a dayglo orange shade no longer commercially available - came from the company colours of the Rubery Owen Group of Companies of which BRM at Bourne was essentially the 'Engine Development Division'.

While Rubery Owen was headed by Sir Alfred Owen, his younger brother, Ernest Owen, was quite influential in what went on with BRM. 'Mr Ernest' had been pressing increasingly for the BRMs to be painted overall in company colours - i.e. ORANGE.

Tony Rudd explained to him the niceties of national racing colour requirements as then applied by the FIA.

At the start of 1963 BRM mechanics began wearing orange overalls, and ultimately it was agreed that orange would be applied to the noses of the cars. This first application was made in the French GP at Reims 1963. I'm pretty sure that Colin Chapman saw how distinctive the Hill P61 semi-monocoque BRM and Ginther P578 looked there with the new orange noses, and at the following British GP the broad yellow centreline stripe appeared on the works Lotuses.

The BRM cars which one sees racing today in Historic events with 'dayglo' noses are without exception using the wrong colour. The dayglo used today is too red (or pink) in tone but it's the nearest thing commercially available, I am assured. I think the original 1960s-type paint is now banned 'cos of its toxicity.

Incidentally, while the genuine BRM green is a metallic shade, Irvine Laidlaw's ex-Ginther P578 car used in Historic events today is sprayed instead a plain, non-metallic, dark British Racing Green, simply because Irvine can't stand the original works colour.

I think it's very subtle, it's extremely rare to see it captured adequately by colour film since it so readily picks up reflection of sky (going to blue) or trackside grass (going to green) but at its best a deep, deep shade. It was chosen originally by Peter Berthon's wife Lorna, and the aim was to prevent mechanics' greasy finger marks showing up so plainly as on the preceding plain pale green, or metallic silvery-green.

Oh yes, and while colours of these cars are discussed, two lovely model subjects would be the V16s which raced at Silverstone and Boreham in 1952, Gonzalez's with yellow nose-top bulge for identification, and Wharton's with red.

The most colour-changeable of all BRMs in pre-commercial sponsorship livery days was probably 'Old Faithful', Graham Hill's 1962 P578.

The old lady ran in works dark lust. green in 1962 - was then resprayed overall rosso corsa (red) for Scuderia Centro Sud and Bandini's use at May Silverstone 1963 - then back to works dark lust. green, with two narrow red stripes then added, running from the cockpit sides down onto the nose top lip for Bandini in the 1963 French GP - then back to overall red for Bandini in the British, Solitude, German and Mediterranean GPs (and for Trintignant at Monza) - then back to works dark lust. green again (but this time with orange nose band) for Dickie Attwood to make his F1 debut at Goodwood on Easter Monday, 1964 - then French blue when sold (for £4,000) to Maurice Trintignant for the rest of 1964 - then to red when it went back to Centro Sud for 1965. BRM finally bought the old car back from 'Mimmo' Dei of Centro Sud for £850... and resprayed it...

DCN

#9 Ray Bell

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Posted 06 March 2003 - 09:32

My apologies, Doug, for not recalling any metallic appearance in the paint...

It must have been subtle. Or was hidden by lots of fingermarks?

I wondered at the time about the colour of the overalls, I would never have guessed that ROH connection. Weren't there also car covers of the same colour, or were they an exclusive khaki?

#10 dbltop

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Posted 06 March 2003 - 09:35

Eight coatsof paint? Imagine how much weight that would mean. Unless of course, it was stripped of its old colour every time.

#11 VDP

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Posted 06 March 2003 - 11:25

In the first race in 1970 at Kyalami, the rear and front wing was also painted in orange


Robert

#12 David McKinney

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Posted 06 March 2003 - 12:33

Originally posted by Doug Nye
The BRM cars which one sees racing today in Historic events with 'dayglo' noses are without exception using the wrong colour. The dayglo used today is too red (or pink) in tone but it's the nearest thing commercially available, I am assured. I think the original 1960s-type paint is now banned 'cos of its toxicity.

Thanks for that, Doug. I thought my memory (from '60s Tasman appearances) must have been faulty. I certainly remember the colour as being dayglo orange, not the redder hue seen today

#13 Barry Boor

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Posted 06 March 2003 - 23:10

Doug's description has made me very happy. Through the years I have made assumptions about certain facts pertaining to the adding of extra colours on British F1 cars during the 1960's and what Doug has said fits with what I have always believed. And if anyone should know, Doug should!

As a modeller, I think a fair approximation to the dayglo orange BRM nose band is available in Humbrol model enamel.

For my BRMs I use Renault Brooklands Green, which is not a bad approximation to the Lust colour!

#14 Graham2

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Posted 06 March 2003 - 23:57

From the book "Motor Racing Team Colours & Markings" by John Baxter it quotes the colours as Dark Green (ICI paint reference P030-3503) with a Dayglo Orange Nose.

From 1964 they ran the dayglo orange noses, though Ginther ran with a white nose in some races.

Never been able to track down the ICI old codes though :(

#15 oldtimer

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Posted 07 March 2003 - 04:23

Originally posted by Barry Boor

For my BRMs I use Renault Brooklands Green, which is not a bad approximation to the Lust colour!


For my Merit kit of the 1956 BRM, I mixed a Humbrol green with black to what I judged to be that very dark green.

#16 oldtimer

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Posted 07 March 2003 - 04:29

Originally posted by Barry Boor

For my BRMs I use Renault Brooklands Green, which is not a bad approximation to the Lust colour!


For my Merit kit of the 1956 BRM, I mixed a Humbrol green with black to what I judged to be that very dark green.

#17 Ray Bell

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Posted 07 March 2003 - 07:24

You did it twice and had to go back and try again?

We always knew you were fastidious!

#18 oldtimer

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Posted 07 March 2003 - 18:51

How did you guess, Ray? :)

Actually I think I was wrestling with my server, which seemed to have pulled one of those Bill Gates' 'Guess what I've done' tricks.

#19 Simpson RX1

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Posted 08 March 2003 - 00:48

With regard to that Dayglo Orange paint, the esteemed Mr Nye's theory is correct.

Dayglo colours were originally formulated using the same ingredient found in the phosphorescent paint used in luminous watch dials until the sixties.

Unfortunately, this ingredient is highly radioactive, and was outlawed to protect the health of those workers who mixed or applied the paint.

Today's Dayglo's use a different method to achieve their "glow in the dark" properties, but the consequence is that they are a slightly different shade.

As an aside, I had some Dayglo model paints during the seventies that were left over from my Brother's model making exploits during the previous decade. During the course of my science lessons, I had the opportunity to run the paints past a Geiger Counter, and the Orange and Yellow almost took the thing off the scale - imagine working for Timex and having to spend eight hours a day painting that stuff on to watches!

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#20 Ray Bell

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Posted 08 March 2003 - 00:57

So are you giving up beer? Standing on street corners where granite is used in nearby buildings?

Most things contain some radioactivity...

#21 Doug Nye

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Posted 08 March 2003 - 13:54

Aren't 'luminous' and 'fluorescent' (as in 'dayglo') two distinctly different properties???

DCN

#22 Simpson RX1

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Posted 08 March 2003 - 22:37

Not quite Doug.

The definition of Fluorescence, is a substance that emits light via a photo-luminescent process, i.e. after absorbtion of an invisible light source, in this case UV.

It was first discovered in the middle of the 16th century, following the discovery of a naturally occuring mineral called Fluospar or Fluorite.

So, in effect, luminous and fluorescent are the same, it's just that luminous paint stores it's light more efficiently, so you can only see it in the dark.

You'll find that proper dayglo colours behave in the same way as luminous paints under UV light - next time you're at one of those rockin' motorsport bashes, try writing on your hand with a yellow highlighter; under normal conditions, you'll barely be able to see it after it's dried, but then put your hand under a UV tube.......et voila!

#23 Pedro 917

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Posted 09 March 2003 - 14:37

I thought some of you would like to see a couple of BRM pics from recent historic races:

BRM P57 as seen at the 2002 Spa 6 hours Race event, driven to a 5th place by Irvine Laidlaw. What a sound, pure nostalgia !! I believe Damon Hill drove it at Silverstone (Coys).

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BRM-P126 (ex-McLaren, Attwood, Courage and Rodriguez) as seen at the 2002 Nurburgring Old Timer GP and driven by David Brown.

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BRM P133 at the same event, driven by Irishman Ean Pugh.

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#24 Roger Clark

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Posted 09 March 2003 - 15:02

The P57 is an unusual mixture, having the vertical exhaust pipes which disappeared after Monaco and bolt-on front wheels which didn't appear until South Africa. At least the driver is sitting sufficiently low in the car, unlike the 126 and the 133. Why do so many cars in historic racing have the diver sitting so high? Is it because the drivers are too big? And why do so many cars have such ugly and inappropriate advertising stickers on them? I can just about accept some commercial advertising if it's helping with the running costs, but not large stickers advertising the race meeting. Prancing horses on a BRM :mad:

#25 Doug Nye

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Posted 09 March 2003 - 15:44

You are quite right Roger - the ex-Ginther P578 owned by Irvine Laidlaw is actually the car which introduced the definitive low-level (one tailpipe per bank) exhaust system during practice-only for the 1962 Monaco GP. This car never ran in period with a stackpipe engine installed. The bolt-on front hubs were a 1963 modification made to the car and carried over into its Scuderia Centro Sud career, 1964-65. Only one P578 retained knock-off front hubs - 'Old Faithful', '5781'. There's a book out shortly on all this. Incidentally Ean Pugh is Welsh not Irish as far as I know, and yes, those 3-litre V12 shots make the car look horrible.

DCN

#26 Vitesse2

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Posted 09 March 2003 - 15:50

Originally posted by Doug Nye
There's a book out shortly on all this.
DCN


Oh really? Who's that by then? Anyone I've ever heard of? :p

#27 Doug Nye

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Posted 09 March 2003 - 16:29

Chris Nixon or Anthony Prichard perhaps???? ;)

#28 Pedro 917

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Posted 09 March 2003 - 17:27

I can just about accept some commercial advertising if it's helping with the running costs, but not large stickers advertising the race meeting.....



The stickers are a "pest", I couldn't agree more..........

Here are 2 pictures of Rodriguez from the Race of Champions, Brands Hatch 1968.

Practice:

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Race: introducing Good Year, Ferodo, Shell and Champion....

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Doug, about Ean Pugh, I've chequed the Programs of the Nurburgring Old Timer GP for the last couple of years and it says nationality : Ireland.
And yes Roger, Ean is a tall guy (with a long beard) and a truly nice person.

#29 David McKinney

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Posted 09 March 2003 - 17:29

Originally posted by Roger Clark
Why do so many cars in historic racing have the diver sitting so high? Is it because the drivers are too big?

Ean Pugh is a big man. The other guy looks as if he might have hoisted himself up a bit to get out of a steamy cockpit - maybe he assumed a more natural pose once things started happening

And why do so many cars have such ugly and inappropriate advertising stickers on them? I can just about accept some commercial advertising if it's helping with the running costs, but not large stickers advertising the race meeting. Prancing horses on a BRM :mad:

An argument that hs been going on ever since historic races were invented. You want to race at my meeting? Fine, just slap on this sticker. Otherwise you can't race
And you want to enjoy the hospitality provided by your race sponsor, and to take advantage of our offer to contribute towards your travelling expenses? OK, add these ones as well

Now you might think that most of these owners are wealthy enough not to need a couple of hundred pounds here and free lunches there. That's true enought. But everyone likes something for nothing. Just see the difference in entry (ie, in quality of grid) between announcing a race and hoping people will turn up, and offering entrants hospitality and something towards expenses. Both have been tried, and the difference is having three good cars and a lot of makeweights on the one hand, and a full grid of exotica on the other.
A fact of 21st century life

#30 Peter Morley

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Posted 09 March 2003 - 18:25

Originally posted by Roger Clark
Why do so many cars in historic racing have the diver sitting so high? Is it because the drivers are too big?



Then as now racing drivers tended to be small.
A lot of the people who race the cars in historic races are considerably taller than the cars orignal jockeys.
So you could say the drivers are too big for the cars - Justin Wilson's Minardi might be rather popular when it becomes an historic race car!

#31 Doug Nye

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Posted 09 March 2003 - 18:29

Originally posted by Pedro 917
Doug, about Ean Pugh, I've chequed the Programs of the Nurburgring Old Timer GP for the last couple of years and it says nationality : Ireland.


Oh well, that must be right then.

DCN

#32 Barry Boor

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Posted 09 March 2003 - 18:32

I suspect that the physical size of the modern crash helmet makes the drivers appear larger.

Regarding Mr. Pugh - he is, as stated, very tall, and his beard is nearly as long as he. I thought I heard an Irish accent in the Silverstone paddock, too.

#33 David McKinney

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Posted 09 March 2003 - 20:54

Ean Pugh lives in Wales, but enters as Irish, where I believe he began racing
I would have thought his accent was more Welsh than Irish...
All that aside, he is in fact of Manx stock (hence the funny way of spelling his first name)
And, before anyone says so, it wasn't me who started calling him Great Uncle Bulgaria

#34 David Beard

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Posted 09 March 2003 - 21:06

Ean with his Connaught at Donington last year.

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#35 Wolf

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Posted 09 March 2003 - 21:38

OK, maybe I'm having weird ideas again (as is my wont :lol: ), but recent trend with threads on cars' colours, leads me to think we could make a thread dedicated to the subject. We have pretty large number of people in here with first hand expirience and expertise to do the job (since period photos can hardly be considered reliable source, due to both aging and technological disadvantages). Maybe some sort of 'standard' method for describing paints and shades could be used, like using the 'composition' of colour, the way it's used for mixing car paints (how much of each 'standard' colour is used to mix the paint, the paint shops that are doing the mixing have charts with manuufacturers' specifications*, but am sure they'll be willing to make custom mixes when customers with right type of spec drop by). :D We'd (OK, OK, you'd) post for example Lotus BRG, British Grazing Green, Rosso Corse, &c so both modelmakers and people who want to use those shades info they need- this way we'd get reference centre for paints and racing colours. What say ye- yea or nay?

* say, VW dragon green, dark green used on VW cars, each car manufacturer has their own set of colours and shades

P.S. Re. DayGlo vs. luminiscent debate, my take is that luminiscent colours 'emit' the light (that was absorbed when exposed to the light) in dark, whereas DayGlo 'glows' when in light

#36 Simpson RX1

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Posted 09 March 2003 - 23:24

One or two things to think about here Wolf.

Firstly, it seems to me that teams during the fifties and sixties appeared to have colours specially mixed, or at least chose uncommon colours, from uncommon sources. Certainly race car restorers seem to have a hard time replicating some colours, and in the case of BRG, everyone seems to have a different idea of precisely what shade this is!

There are computerised paint "readers" that can determine the exact make-up of a particular colour, but you need a substantial original chip of colour for these to work; bare in mind that there are many elements to paint colours, and sometimes all is not what it appears. Did you know, for instance, that the Metallic Black used on Nissan Micras is in fact Blue, Red or Green?

Secondly, when it comes to model makers you have to be aware of scale. Just as models are made using scaled down measurements of the real thing, in theory you should do the same thing with paint.

Colours are mixed using different elements measured by weight (fluid ounces in my day, but I'm sure there's a metric equivalent), and it may be necessary to scale these measurements down to suit the model.

I may be overcomplicating things, but I know when I recently painted a 1/32 scale Capri using a genuine Ford aerosol in Cobalt Blue Metallic, it looked completely wrong - there wasn't enough mass of colour to correctly reflect the light and it looked too dark. Obviously this is more critical with Metallic colours, as they need light to work properly, but it seems that a number of race teams used these paints, so it should be a consideration.

Also bear in mind the sheer number of elements used in mixing paint colours; even straight forward Black can contain upwards of twenty different colours, so we could be getting into a minefield here!

#37 Wolf

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Posted 10 March 2003 - 00:15

I know, Simpson... I had to get a can of 'talcum white' paint for my (Polish) FIAT once- turned out they didn't even have FIAT colour named that, and each manufacturer had his own spec of the colour. I had to pick one by memory- but it wasn't that important to get the perfect match (it was to be used for painting over the rusty bits for technical inspection, they have some stupid rules on what constitutes too rusty a car :p)...

#38 Don Capps

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Posted 10 March 2003 - 13:52

I meant to mention this earlier, but the orange used by BRM looks very similar to what was known as "International Orange" and used in aviation during the 50's & 60's and into the early 70's. The aircraft we flew in Alaska around this period had markings on the wings and tail surfaces in what was called "International Orange." I am unsure as to how the term came into being, but that is what it was called. This popped into my mind when I was looking at some pictures of C-130's and realized how similar the noseband on the BRM and the markings on the aircraft were.

#39 RaymondMays

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Posted 10 March 2003 - 14:45

How does the orange used on the Rover BRM 200 compare to the original?

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#40 Seppi_0_917PA

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Posted 10 March 2003 - 15:43

Originally posted by Simpson RX1
Certainly race car restorers seem to have a hard time replicating some colours, and in the case of BRG, everyone seems to have a different idea of precisely what shade this is!

This also goes for McLaren orange!