13 Mar 2013

The Racing Stripe - Just say no, Mini owner

@Dogknob1 has a problem with the simple Racing Stripe, when used inappropriately.  He has a point

Although not synonymous with Shelby, the racing stripe is perhaps best known for its adornment on the Mustangs and Cobras of their day. In fact it was a popular option on many a muscle car of that period, with said cars certainly having the credentials to pull off to wearing them with pride.

The actual origin of the racing stripes appears to date from the start of automotive racing itself. Not having the vast audience of todays racing series the car weren’t covered top to toe in sponsors logos and colour schemes. Hence it was customary to race the cars in country colours, for example a British car (or driver) would race in British Racing Green (BRG) as several countries had similar base colours a different coloured stripe was added to make identification much easier. 

Thus Racing Stripes were born. First bought into being, or back depending on your viewpoint, by Briggs Cunningham on their 1951 C 2R prototypes powered by the rather fine Chrysler Hemi V8.

So this neatly takes us back to the top of this little piece where we find the popularity of the Stripe about to explode!

It’s here that my problem starts. As when something becomes popular it is of course desired, wanted and even needed by the great unwashed and enthusiast alike. This in itself in not a bad thing in that there is nothing wrong with (bar poor taste) a chap or chappess wanting to emulate the latest race winner, so if a bog standard car was adorned with sticky vinyl stripes at home in the driveway it was done with a bit of love and passion. OK we’ve all seen some pretty hideous homages and laughed at a rather crappy Mk1 Capri on Slotmags desperately trying to pass itself off as a Shelby Mustang but it’s not even these that get my blood boiling?

It’s things like this


Never mind the myriad of things I’ve spotted locally, like a Vauxhall Insignia in base trim silver with white stripes, yellow C1 Citroen, again with white Stripes. The list goes on and on and on. Surely someone in the brands marketing department (I’m saying marketing as I’m hoping to God it’s not the design dept) has got the gumption to realise he’s fooling no one with his desperate leap to connect the current tin box with some sort of racing prowess. Mini are particularly bad at bunging them absolutely everything, fair enough if it was just for the JCW car but, no, I can purchase a Mini One with optional £80 bonnet stripes! To let everyone know I’m rolling with 90 wild horses. Ford have at least got a history of stripes and as far as I can see on the option list keep said stripes for ST and the odd limited edition

A little side note just to show it can be done with a nod to a historic racing pedigree is Renault who offer Gordini Stripes, off-set to one side and relatively thin just like the originals.

So there you have my little diatribe on all things stripy, Just remember this when the excitement of ordering that new car is racing through your mind and you're busy ticking option boxes like there is no tomorrow.  Is it a modern day muscle car? Is it an actual race car? Is it a bog stock car? If so may I suggest the following: If it doesn’t come with them leave blank, if it does maybe deselecting might just be the better option

Thank you and happy de-striping

P.S. nobody mention the Citroen DS3 or Vauxhall Adam as just because you can have a car in twenty three billion different combinations don’t mean you should! Especially on the same car (white car, green roof and pink mirrors FFS)